The voting pattern of the minority community kept changing in the seven-phase election in Uttar Pradesh, giving rise to the speculation that BJP may manage to sail through and get the magical figure in the Assembly on its own.
Had the minority community stayed en bloc, as was widely witnessed in the first two phases, the story would possibly have been different. It however appears that the community yielded to the clarion call of Mayawati and a sizeable chunk of the vote swung in favour of the BSP, thereby dampening the prospects of the SP-Congress alliance.
This was apparent in the over dozen seats where Mukhtar Ansari, with his Robin Hood image, calls the shots. In Mau, the main contenders appeared to be the BJP alliance versus the BSP.
At a particular booth in Ambedkar Nagar, two first-time voters from the Muslim community, of the same family, chose to vote differently. The community seemed to be choosing between the SP-Congress alliance and the BSP to defeat the BJP. The same resulted in reverse consolidation.
In fact, reverse consolidation was witnessed from the second phase onward. The BJP possibly gauged the situation and the rhetoric of shamshaan versus kabristaan, Ram mandir and closure of automated slaughter houses was built up during the concluding phases of the poll.
The BSP supremo too took the opportunity to campaign solidly for the party, each time reiterating that her party was coming to power with a thumping majority. Earlier, she had minced no words in declaring that the party had given the highest number of tickets to the minority community.
This seems to be working in favour of the BJP as a tug-of-war between the SP-Congress alliance and the BSP for minority votes created a divide, which translates to good gains for the BJP. The exercise in turn helped the BJP go for a rainbow coalition, which may also be the winning formula for the party in UP.
|Has the BSP played spoiler?|
The BJP possibly knew from the beginning that it would be a futile exercise to try to garner support from even a small chunk of the minority and, despite laments from some top leaders of the party of not having given tickets to people from the minority community, the BJP stuck to its plan, also not making any attempt to win their vote during campaigning.
In Jaunpur, a businessman close to the Shivpal Yadav camp was furious for having been denied a ticket even as he had made all preparations for the elections. The man had one agenda - to defeat the candidate chosen by CM Akhilesh Yadav.
The disgruntled within the SP, primarily belonging to Shivpal's camp, are a fuming lot and have tried everything possible to ensure the loss of Akhilesh.
On the other hand, despite the fact that Rahul Gandhi and Akhilesh tried to make demonetisation an emotive issue during the election, it does not seem to have found a favourable echo in remote pockets.
When some farmers who had come to vote at a polling booth in Mau were asked about the noteban, they said they did not mind it. In fact, they seemed more excited about Narendra Modi's promise to wave off their loans and provide them with efficient pumps for irrigation.
The BJP pushing full throttle in the last phases, with the PM choosing to spend almost three days in his constituency of Varanasi and roping in the disgruntled within the party too seems to be working in its favour.
All these factors give credence to assumptions that the BJP will possibly form the next government in UP.