Political upheavals in Uttar Pradesh this week would superficially indicate that caste has again trumped religion, heralding triumph of Mandal over Mandir.
All eyes are naturally on Uttar Pradesh as the approximately 15 Crore voters in the vast and awkward state (population: 24 crore) prepare to elect a new legislature. The state also elects 80 of the 543 Members of the Lok Sabha and 31 out of the 245 in the Rajya Sabha, which is why UP plays a pivotal role in deciding who would be the next Prime Minister.
Although few chief ministers, in fact just three of them, have completed their full term, Yogi Adityanath did complete his. Though the state has a history of not returning the incumbent, Bharatiya Janata Party had made it clear that both Modi and ‘Maharaj’, as the Yogi prefers to be called, would lead the party’s campaign in 2022. Re-electing Yogi, it made it clear, was imperative to ensure BJP’s victory in the general election of 2024. But the carefully cultivated narrative that the election would be fought between the “80% on one hand and 20% on the other” lies in tatters following this week’s ‘minor’ exodus from the party.
Resignation of three ministers and eight BJP MLAs in three days this week, with more to come it would seem, have disturbed the caste coalition engineered in 2017 by Amit Shah. Ayodhya, Kashi and Mathura, it would appear, are no longer enough to keep Hindus on the side of BJP.