I am stealing this line from @iMac_too, one of my favorite tweeters out there:
No, really, the outbreak of massive infighting within the SP is only the latest in a series of events that have happened favor of the BJP in Uttar Pradesh. Consider just how bad the situation in the ruling Yadav clan has become. Mulayam Singh Yadav’s brother Shivpal has been fighting Chief Minister Akhilesh for a long time now. In a snub to his own son, Mulayam Singh Yadav appointed his brother Shivpal as president of the party’s state unit in Uttar Pradesh. Oh well…is there any other state unit that matters in Samajwadi Party? So, for all intents and purposes, Mulayam has appointed Shivpal Yadav as president of the SP. But then Akhilesh goes ballistic and strips Shivpal Yadav of 3 major ministries. This may be the worst bout of infighting we have ever seen within any political clan in India.
The infighting in SP is so horrible that many RWs have become nervous whether it is some kind of devious ploy: perhaps this infighting is a drama meant to show Akhilesh in a good light, as the “development face” for the youth…cut off from the pathetic old bogey of caste and identity politics. To those RWs I say : come on! If indeed this is a staged drama by SP, it must be the stupidest plan ever. This is realpolitik, not a reality show. How crazy would Mulayam have to be to deliberately tear his party to pieces to win public sympathy for Akhilesh. The new formula for winning elections is “caste+development”. Modi had this message of vikas intertwined with a Dalit outreach and Hindutva undercurrent in 2014. Nitish Kumar provided the value addition of “vikas” while Lalu Yadav provided the bedrock of caste in 2015 in Bihar.
“Development” alone does not win elections….at least not yet. It has to be supported with a bedrock of old style arithmetic. Development brings in the incremental vote that puts the party over the top. The two “revenue” streams have to be wound together seamlessly, not pitted against each other in open war.
Of course the Lutyens media is now running with the new message of “vikas purush” for Akhilesh Yadav. You will notice an explosion of references to highways built by Akhilesh. Unlike Gujarat, there is no interest from the liberal media in finding out more about those left behind by “development”. In Gujarat, this boring track was played on loop for more than a decade…
Let me remind you that this same Lutyens media has had to change its track from just months ago. Back then, we all used to hear about the great “resurgent Mayawati”. Those articles have all disappeared now. Worse, I think Mayawati is making a mistake by focusing all her attacks on the BJP instead of the ruling SP. An election is ultimately always about the incumbent, rather than the opposition. If you remember the 2014 campaign, Modi would direct most of his barbs at Congress, even in UP where Congress is practically non-existent. It is a mistake to go after an opposition party instead of the ruling party…it makes you look nervous about your own victory. You will also notice that Amit Shah has been saying throughout that the battle is really with SP.
Now, let us quickly count everything that went in favor of BJP in Uttar Pradesh. In fact even when BJP gave away loose full tosses, they weren’t hit for sixers. Instead the clueless batsman hit the ball high in the air and it landed safely in the fielders’ hands.
A) The Congress and BSP did not join hands. If BSP had allied with Congress, the arithmetic would have been formidable, perhaps even insurmountable.
B) When Dayashankar Singh made that remark, the media celebrated like the election was over. Mayawati gave off the same vibe. But miraculously, the whole thing backfired on BSP. They went too aggressive, abused his wife and daughter and ended up having to run away. Miracle. Nothing less than a miracle. BJP saved by sheer luck.
C) Mayawati began her Dalit+Muslim outreach, but it didn’t take off at all. Muslims stood firmly with their traditional choice…the SP. Worse, as BSP began to sink in opinion polls and SP appeared to gain, BSP lost all hopes of getting M votes.
D) Just as SP appears to gain some momentum, it falls prey to an absolutely nasty bout of infighting. There is a vertical split within the Yadav clan and nobody even knows who is on which side of the split. Is there one split or are there multiple splits? Is Mulayam fighting his son? Is Mulayam fighting his brother? Is Mulayam fighting them both? Imagine the kind of confused message traveling down to the party workers.
E) Meanwhile, BSP continues to bleed profusely. 2 days ago, another 4 BSP MLAs shifted to BJP. It seems Mayawati won’t be left with any base other than Jatavs by the time the election comes. BSP’s upper caste leaders are making a beeline for BJP.
F) Don’t forget that Congress campaign in UP is a total flop, a joke at every level. But there is a side bonus to this. As Prashant Kishore scrambles to preserve his rather undeserved reputation in Uttar Pradesh, he has no time to spare for the Congress campaign in Punjab. Punjab was easily winnable for Congress. Capt. Amrinder had hired the right man for the job. But the right man for the job is engaged elsewhere. Good 😉
So, one opponent is hit by daily defections, another is rocked by nasty infighting and the third opponent is generating laughter rather than buzz. Come on BJP, this should be easy. This is really an “ek dhakka aur do” moment. Swoop in and sweep this.
But BJP is looking the other way. Losing valuable time. A moment like this comes but once in a generation, when a state of the size of Uttar Pradesh is offered to you on a platter. It’s a piece of cake! Pick it up! Come on…the field is totally empty…RUN!
But BJP isn’t running. It’s sitting down, watching all its opponents on the floor. This moment won’t last. This moment can’t last. Sooner or later, one of them is going to stand up and run across the empty field. What on earth are you waiting for? Declare a CM candidate, define the campaign and RUN! All you have to do is RUN! As Praveen Patil said, this is an electoral crime happening. Come on, move…