The battle lines for elections in UP is almost drawn. BSP and SP have forged an alliance keeping Congress out, and Congress has declared it will go it alone. The greatest alarm by the alliance is set to hit BJP, the party that currently has the largest number of MP's and MLA's from the state. The 2014 Lok Sabha polls had given to BJP 73 winners from the total 80 seats.
Now observers are of the opinion that in 2019 37 to 50 seats of these can be garnered by the SP-BSP alliance. According to BSP leader Mayawati, BJP will be swept away in UP, if there is no vote fraud and communal violence. Of course, this has to be seen as a big 'if'. Nor is this new alliance any good news for the Congress. The more strength gained by regional parties, the lesser the bargaining power for Congress; which may affect even the leader to be made the prime ministerial candidate. In any case, neither BJP nor Congress is outwardly showing any signs of panic over the BSP-SP alliance. There is also a reading that this denies BJP the campaign advantage that it could have gained if Congress too had been roped in to the alliance. The new alliance also has decided not to field candidates in Raebareli and Amethi constituencies where respectively Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi are likely to contest. And in this, many see an indication of of the post-poll equations to emerge. Further, Akhilesh Yadav has stopped short of hitting out as fiercely as Mayawati has done against Congress.
The electoral scenario in UP clearly shows that the basic feature in the state's poll situation is the anti-BJP popular wave that has formed far and wide in the country. The adage that losing UP is equal to losing the country is disturbing BJP. For that very reason, it cannot be ruled out that they will venture to resort to all foul play. And that may not be limited to vote fraud and blowing up communal frenzy. The party may also try its best to create chasms in alliances or weaken them. When SP and BSP - parties that had once ruled together and later fell out - come together after quarter of a century, there is no guarantee that their unity will remain solid. Besides, the small party of RLD is not satisfied with the two or three seats it might get through the alliance. The only unifying factor between all these groupings is the common man's disgust and anger against the rule of Modi at the Centre and Yogi in UP. In the recent assembly elections, seen as 'semi final', the popular rage was palpable too. But parties with focus on the people have but to conscientiously ensure that the stress of election campaigns is on major issues affecting the people. Or else, the BJP camp will find it easy to bring in diversionary issues. Mayawati and Akhilesh should be able to sustain the alliance as a robust force built on the foundation of policy perspectives rather than as an anti-NDA coalition of two leaders. They should be able to prove through performance that their main agenda is to improve people's lives by solving the problems of farmers, the unemployed, Dalits and minorities.
For the Congress, even as the new alliance creates hurdles, it also opens new opporunitites in its anti-BJP stance. And for BJP, opposition is on the ascent in the core region of its communal politics. If so far they have been winning by keeping its adversaries divided, the SP-BSP agreement also acts as a counter to that. Voters who wish to duly punish the anti-people actions of the regimes in the Centre and UP, are pinning hopes on this. Given that it is their aspirations that will turn out as votes, the allianc e has an obligation to not do anything that will kill such hopes. They have to constantly keep it in mind that even after the elections, the interest of the country lies in keeping NDA out of power.