Explainer: Stunning upsets by BJP in Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh—who is to blame : The Tribune India

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Explainer: Stunning upsets by BJP in Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh—who is to blame

Game changers Harsh Mahajan, Sanjay Seth and how BJP merely tapped existing fault lines within Congress and Samajwadi Party

Explainer: Stunning upsets by BJP in Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh—who is to blame

Newly elected Rajya Sabha MP Harsh Mahajan shows the victory sign at Vidhan Sabha in Shimla on Wednesday. PTI

Tribune Web Desk

Vibha Sharma       

Chandigarh, February 28

Congress and Samajwadi Party leaders are blaming the BJP for their debacle in Rajya Sabha elections in Himachal Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh. Political analysts, however, believe that only the top leadership of the two parties is responsible for the loss of their candidates in the two states.

“Signs were all there, loud and clear, both in Himachal Pradesh as well as in Uttar Pradesh but the top leadership of the Congress and SP either was not aware or decided to feign ignorance hoping things would fall in place.

“However, with a proactive opponent like the BJP it was nothing but political naivety of the highest order. The fact is these RS wins were served on a platter to the BJP, which took the advantage of the existing situation like any politically savvy party faced with similar situation will,” they add.

Harsh Mahajan, BJP’s 'last-minute' choice?            

Harsh Mahajan, who managed to pull one of the most stunning and dramatic upsets in the history of Rajya Sabha, claimed that the BJP is in a position to form the government in the Congress-ruled state.

It is another matter that before Tuesday, the Congress was believed to be in a “comfortable position” with 40 MLAs in the state it won just a year ago. The BJP has 25 legislators and there are three Independents in the 68-member Himachal Assembly.

Apparently, Mahajan was BJP’s “last-minute choice” for the Himachal seat. “The BJP was not willing to be a part of any face-losing endeavour given the Congress numbers. Mahajan's nomination was made public only after he convinced the BJP leadership over his winnability,” say sources.

However, much before Mahajan defeated Congress stalwart Abhishek Manu Singhvi and set the stage for destabilising the Sukhvinder Sukhu government, trouble was already brewing in the Congress camp in Himachal. Mahajan, a three-time MLA and former minister who resigned from the Congress ahead of the Assembly polls to join the BJP, is said to be close to late Himachal Pradesh chief minister Virbhadra Singh, and now his wife Pratibha Singh and son Vikramaditya Singh.  

 “The BJP is going to form a government in the state. Some more MLAs of Congress are in touch with us. I got phone calls from some of their MLAs and ministers...The situation will change in the next few hours and you will see the BJP form its government soon...For the next 10-20 years, the Congress is not going to come to power here,” Mahajan said.

In UP, Jaya Bachchan is said to be one of the reasons

In Uttar Pradesh, the BJP managed to pull eight Rajya Sabha seats when it had numbers for seven. The Samajwadi Party, on the other hand, won just two when it was in position to win three all because of cross-voting and differences not just within the party but also with ally Apna Dal (Kamerawadi) over the candidature of Jaya Bachchan.

“The BJP fielded Sanjay Seth as its eighth candidate and exposed the fault lines within the Samajwadi Party and the alliance over selection of candidates,” say observers.

Going against the Samajwadi Party's decision to field Jaya Bachchan and retired IAS officer Alok Ranjan, Apna Dal (K) leader Pallavi Patel openly voiced her dissent. “We are talking of PDA 'picchde', Dalit and alpsankhyak’. Ranjan and Bachchan are not among the PDA. I am not going to cast my vote against this 'dhokha' (deceit),” she was quoted as saying.

PDA is a term coined by Akhilesh Yadav for “picchde, Dalit and alpsankhyak” (backward, Dalit and minorities).

Pallavi Patel, the sister of Union Minister and Apna Dal (S) leader Anupriya Patel, had defeated Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya from Sirathu seat in Kaushambi on an SP ticket in the 2022 polls.

In the 403-member Uttar Pradesh Assembly, BJP has 252 members, SP 108 and Congress two. 

SP and Congress are opposition parties and partners in the INDIA bloc. BJP allies include Apna Dal (Sonelal) (13 MLAs), NISHAD party (six), RLD (nine) and SBSP (six). Jansatta Dal Loktantrik has two MLAs, BSP one while four seats are vacant.

Yadav had earlier claimed that the SP would win three seats.

Incidentally, BJP’ eighth candidate Sanjay Seth was “closely associated with SP founder Mulayam Singh Yadav” and also counted among Akhilesh Yadav’s “key allies”. 


About The Author

The Tribune Web Desk brings you the latest news, analysis and insights from the region, India and around the world. Follow the Tribune Wed Desk for not just breaking news stories but wide-ranging coverage of events.

#BJP #Congress #Rajya Sabha #Uttar Pradesh

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