BJP faces sharp identity politics in Lok Sabha elections

Ulgulan Rally in Ranchi of Opposition

Image credit X @yadavtejashwi

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BJP faces rise of identity politics in key states in Lok Sabha elections

By Manish Anand

New Delhi, April 22: Heat wave has been blamed for over four per cent dip in the voters’ turnout in the first phase of the Lok Sabha elections. Parts of Bihar, West Bengal, and some other states are in intense spell of heat wave.

The Opposition is drawing confidence from strong turnouts of the people in public meetings. The Ulgulan rally in Ranchi in Jharkhand yesterday was packed to the capacity even before the political leaders took to the dais.

The Indian National Developmental and Inclusive Alliance (INDIA), the Opposition block, replicated the Ramlila Ground rally in Ranchi. Kalpana Soren, wife of former Chief Minister of Jharkhand Hemant Soren, hogged the limelight.

For the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM), the tribal pride is the principal poll plank in the Lok Sabha elections. Kalpana Soren has become the most talked about political leader in Jharkhand.

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The Opposition is riding the rise of identity politics to put the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on the mat. Sharp consolidation of Muslim and Yadav vote bases is being witnessed in Bihar.

“Contest is intense in this election. The impact of one-on-one contest can be seen,” said a Bihar-based political observer. Bihar and Jharkhand together account for 54 Lok Sabha seats.

The BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) had won a total of 50 Lok Sabha seats in the two states in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. A repeat of the 2019 feat of the BJP as per consensus views of political observers will require an electoral magic of extraordinary proportions.

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“The impact of Ram Temple consecration in Bihar and Jharkhand is not as strong as in Uttar Pradesh. The two states are showing signs of strengthening of identity politics,” said a close aid of the BJP candidate in Bihar.

The BJP feted Chirag Paswan in the run up to the Lok Sabha elections. The BJP gave five Lok Sabha seats to the Chirag Paswan-led Lok Jan Shakti Party (Ram Vilas).

“A dozen people were in the ground when the helicopter of Chirag Paswan landed in Aurangabad. Some of them may have been his party workers, and the rest could have come for sight-seeing of the helicopter,” said an NDA functionary, showing the video with deserted ground.

Khap Panchayats in Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh are now making headlines. They have found their ways to the news world by making adversarial comments against the BJP.

Also read: Kalpana Soren takes Opposition leadership in Jharkhand

Union Minister Puroshottam Rupala is sweating out in Rajkot in Gujarat. The Congress has brought a poll veteran from within the Leuva Patel community against Rupala. Paresh Dhanani in his 20s, several decades ago, had trounced Rupala in the Assembly elections to announce his arrival in Gujarat politics.

Rupala has guided the BJP into the Khsatriya storm. He is a Kadwa Patel. The Congress hopes to divide the Patidar votes and ride Khastriya anger against the BJP to make the Gujarat Lok Sabha chart look differently than the 2014 and the 2019 elections.

The BJP campaign in Maharashtra has already run into the Maratha reservation stir. The BJP hopes now lie with Prime Minister Narendra Modi to blunt the identity politics.

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