The manner in which the ruling Samajwadi Party, the Bahujan Samaj Party and the Congress have been swept aside in Uttar Pradesh clearly indicates that the “BJP versus the rest” in the Lok Sabha polls has been a no-contest.
SP chief Mulayam Singh and BSP president Mayawati campaigned vigorously for their parties, little knowing that the voters had other plans. But the BSP drew a blank. In 2009, the BSP won 20 seats with a 27.42 per cent vote share.
It can be said that while Ms. Mayawati’s core Dalit support base has remained more or less intact, the Other Backward Classes, the Most Backward Classes and the Brahmins have deserted her.
The SP, which won 23 seats in 2009 with a vote share of 23.26 per cent, has won only five seats in the State, all by members of Mr. Singh’s family in Azamgarh, Mainpuri, Kannauj, Budaun and Firozabad.
The BJP appears to have gained from the switchover of the SP’s Yadav and OBC votes, while the fight between the ruling party and the BSP has proved disastrous for both.
In a nutshell, the BJP, with a projected vote share of 42.3 per cent, has reaped the dividends of the consolidation of Hindu votes. The Muslim vote appears to have been divided between the SP, BSP and the Congress, with no benefit for any party.
For the Congress, which won 21 seats in 2009 with a vote share of 18.25 per cent, it has been a great fall in 2014. While Congress president Sonia Gandhi has retained Rae Bareli by a margin of over 3.4 lakh votes, her son and Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi won Amethi by a reduced margin.
For Mr. Yadav, the verdict in U.P. has turned out to be a huge disappointment. His Third Front chant has been rejected by the voters and now he is faced with the more challenging task of keeping his son Akhilesh Yadav’s government stable in Uttar Pradesh.