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Bypoll Shock

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Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath’s UP is expected to be the bulldozer that will provide momentum to the BJP in its bid to win the next Lok Sabha polls. Most have been sanguine on this being achieved with ease when the time comes. However, the BJP’s defeat in the bypoll to the Ghosi assembly seat should end any such complacency. Its candidate Dara Singh Chauhan, a habitual party hopper, may be said to have finally got his just desserts, but the BJP’s miscalculation in fielding him cannot be overlooked. It is clear that the party will need to work more on expanding its vote base, instead of depending too much on desertions from other parties.

This victory will prove a major shot in the arm for the Samajwadi Party and give a boost to the INDI Alliance strategy of pitting a joint candidate against the BJP. The victory may have come as a bit of a surprise even for the SP, because it had claimed that its voters had been intimidated and prevented from voting. Election analysts will be able to better identify the factors behind the SP’s victory at a time when the BJP is firmly ensconced in power. One loss may be too small an indicator, but it does indicate an element of anti-incumbency. Added to this is the BJP’s loss of the Dhupguri assembly seat in Jalpaiguri, West Bengal.

It may be noted that the bypoll took place just before the anti-Hindu tirade by opposition politicians blew up, nationwide. The opposition alliance may thus feel persuaded to allow its fringe units to continue with the Sanatan bashing, because the roots are in abrasive caste identity, something it would like to promote.

But is not just good news for the opposition. The communists received a beating everywhere, be it Tripura, Kerala or West Bengal. This would indicate they are not benefiting from the alliance. The strategy probably is that, in the case of an opposition victory, it would again get the opportunity to infiltrate the ranks of academia, thereby influencing the deeper narrative.

The BJP, on its part, cannot be content with its wins in the small states of Uttarakhand and Tripura. There is a reported move to tie-up with the JD(S) in Karnataka, which can prove enormously beneficial. It should attempt the same with the BSP in UP. If that comes about, it could prove the clincher. Nothing should be left to chance.