High-decibel campaigning ends in UP; BJP confident of breaking 37-year ‘jinx’ | India News – Times of India


NEW DELHI: The high-decibel campaigning for the 7-phase Uttar Pradesh elections concluded on Saturday evening, with the politically crucial state set to vote in its seventh and final phase on March 7.
With this, the campaigning for all five states — UP, Punjab, Goa, Manipur and Uttarakhand — has now officially concluded. The results will be declared on March 10.
Held under the shadow of the Covid pandemic, the campaigning began under strict restrictions imposed by the Election Commission which were relaxed in the subsequent phases as the infections declined across India.

Can BJP repeat its 2017 feat in UP?
With the campaigning drawing to a close, BJP president JP Nadda and Union home minister Amit Shah exuded confidence that the saffron party will form the government in UP as well as the three other states of Goa, Uttarakhand and Manipur. The leaders asserted that the party will also make impressive gains in Punjab.

In the 2017 elections, the BJP had scripted a historic victory in UP – winning 312 out of the 403 assembly seats with a vote share of nearly 40 per cent.
This was BJP’s best performance in Uttar Pradesh since it got into the electoral fray in the state in 1980.


A phase-wise mapping of the results from 2017 shows how the saffron colour dominated UP’s electoral landscape after the previous elections. In the first phase alone, the party had won a whopping 91% of the seats that went to polls in 2017.
Therefore, the challenge before the BJP in UP is not just to retain the state but also match its historic performance of 2017.

Besides, for BJP, it is a personal challenge as well since no chief minister of UP has been re-elected since 1985.
High-voltage battle
The rumbustious electioneering over the last two months saw high-profile faces like Prime Minister Narendra Modi, UP chief minister Yogi Adityanath, Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav and Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi crisscrossing the state to woo voters.
From mega roadshows to hybrid rallies, the leaders went all out in their bid to win the support of voters in the numerically important state.
The campaigning in the last phase reached its crescendo with Prime Minister Narendra Modi leading the BJP’s poll blitzkrieg in Varanasi and its adjoining districts.
Seeking to override anti-incumbency, the ruling BJP raised issues like forced migration and law and order problems during the previous Samajwadi Party government.

The BJP leaders dubbed its rivals as “dynasts” and its star campaigners warned that the mafia elements, put in jail by the Yogi Adityanath government, will be out if the SP forms its government.
Besides highlighting the achievements of the “double engine” governments, BJP has also been reminding the free ration distribution among the poor with Prime Minister Narendra Modi spicing up the campaign by mixing a salt allegory in his speech, to deftly play up salt’s co-relation with loyalty.
Meanwhile, Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav has been targeting the BJP government on inflation, unemployment, stray cattle menace and farmers’ agitation against the three agri laws, his speeches peppered with potshots at Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.
The mowing down of four farmers in Lakhimpur Kheri has also been highlighted by all the opposition parties as Union minister Ajay Mishra’s son Ashish Mishra is an accused in the case.
Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra wooed voters with the ‘ladki hoon,lad sakti hoon’ campaign, on issues related to women and their security and questioned the caste and religion-based politics rampant during the past three decades.
Marginally lower turnout

Based on the data compiled after the first six phases, UP this year has witnessed a marginally lower voter turnout at 60.63% compared to 61% on the same seats in 2017.
The overall turnout for UP in 2017 was 61.24%, higher than the figures recorded in 2012.
The figures could however change depending on the turnout figures of the seventh phase on March 7.
So far, the second phase on February 14 witnessed the maximum turnout at 64.4%.
A similar trend was reported in most other states that went to polls last month.
All four states of Punjab, Uttarakhand Goa and Manipur saw a dip in turnout in 2022 compared to five years ago.

While the difference is negligible in Uttarakhand, Punjab saw a big dip of 5.4 percentage points.
(With inputs from agencies)

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