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Even though Yogi Adityanath is now back as Chief Minister, the 2022 Uttar Pradesh Assembly election results can at best be taken with a pinch of salt. The general mood during the campaign was for change. People wanted the Bhartiya Janata Party government to go. People belonging to communities other than Yadav and Muslim, who were anyway believed to be solidly standing with Samajwadi Party, wanted to see Akhilesh Yadav back as CM, who was drawing more people in his rallies than either Yogi or Modi. However, results were contrary to common people’s expectations.

It is difficult to believe that in Lakhimpur Khiri, where Union Minister Ajay Mishra Teni’s son mowed done five people, the Minister was warned by Rakesh Tikait, the farmer leader, to not go for inauguration of a sugar mill otherwise he would face the ire of farmers, the Minister had to cast his own vote during the same elections amidst high security of central forces and people were agitated on bail given to the son Ashish Mishra, the BJP has won all seats.

Similarly, in Hathras reserved constituency, in spite of a gruesome rape of a Dalit girl last year, her death in hospital later, cremation of her body by police in early hours of morning instead of handing it over to her family and administration appearing to be trying to save the four upper caste accused men, there was resentment among people but here again BJP has been victorious.

The affect of farmers’ movement in western UP was such that BJP candidates could not enter some villages for campaigning. This was bound to adversely impact BJP’s performance in the first phase of election and then it was assumed that BJP would not be able to recover in subsequent phases from the setback it’ll receive here.

Also Read: Post-Victory Dilemma of BJP

Just before the elections were announced, Shikha Pal, B.Ed., was atop an overhead water tank for over 150 days at the Education Directorate in Lucknow demanding that vacant teachers’ positions be filled with qualified candidates. Ambulance drivers, who were compared with God during Corona crisis and on whom the state government had showered flower petals from helicopter were laid off by the private company which had the contract with government to run the service, were protesting and in spite of intervention by Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh associated trade union Bhartiya Mazdoor Sangh there was no favourable response. How do we believe that youth who got beaten up in Prayagraj in the context of Railway recruitment controversy and their families could support BJP? There was widespread anger among youth related to jobs just before the elections.

Two things which seemed to be going in favour of BJP were the Kisan Samman Nidhi and the free ration distribution. However, before the fourth phase stray cattle became an issue so much so that Narendra Modi had to declare in Unnao that, if re-elected, the BJP government would buy the cowdung and Yogi Adityanath promised Rs. 900 per month per cattle to help the farmers meet the cost of keeping unproductive cattle. Stray cattle had become irritants for farmers as early as 2017, soon after Yogi took over the reins in UP the first time but the BJP had somehow managed to avoid an electoral debacle because of this in 2019. But the stray cattle caught up with them this time and then it became obvious that the Kisan Samman Nidhi or the free ration was actually a compensation to farmers for the crops which were being devoured by stray cattle. The farmers have been a harassed lot keeping awake all night trying to save their standing crops.

How, then, was the BJP, facing such tremendous odds, able to pull through? Were Electronic Voting Machines manipulated or did the government machinery help BJP win?

Just before the counting day, 10 March, EVMs or ballot papers were caught in Azamgarh, Prayagraj, Bareilly, Sonebhadra, Sant Kabir Nagar and Varanasi, mostly in government vehicles. This gives an indication that there were attempts by the administration to alter the EVMs or ballot papers probably in large number of constituencies. It is just that at the abovementioned places they were caught because the information was probably leaked by one among the government employees, not all of whom were sympathetic to the government this time. Government officials have been known to change ballot boxes in the past. It is quite possible that they indulge in EVM replacements now. Reports from some counting centres indicate that there were EVMs close to 99% charged which were yielding results in favour of BJP more than compared with other EVMs which were just 60-70% charged. Could these almost fully charged EVMs have been the replaced ones?

Out of 29 constituencies in which the margin of victory was less than 2000 votes, the BJP has won 19. In 15 seats where the margin of victory was less than 1000 votes the number of postal ballots is more than the victory margin. So, in seats where the margin of victory was small, it may have been possible to merely manipulate the postal ballots to change the result without doing anything to the EVMs. For example, in Kursi Vidhan Sabha constituency in Barabanki district, the Samajwadi Party candidate Rakesh Verma was declared winner. When he returned after garlanding the statue of his late father Beni Prasad Verma he was told that the BJP candidate Sakendra Pratap had won by 217 votes. The number of postal ballots here was 618.

To lay to rest any lingering doubt in the minds of electorate that EVMs were changed or tampered with, the Election Commission of India could present before the people, even now, the results of counting the VVPAT slips for all centres and all machines. Right now there is a provision to verify result from EVM with VVPAT slips counting at 5 randomly chosen booths of every Assembly constituency. But these results are never reported in press. ECI should bring some transparency in this process and undertake 100% counting of VVPAT slips. This would also satisfy the people who demand going back to the ballot paper system as counting 100% slips would be akin to counting ballot papers.

By Sandeep Pandey,Pawan Singh and Devesh Patel
Phone: 0522 2355978, 3564437, 9954353813, 9795000546, 9811508843
email:ashaashram@yahoo.comvs13@iitbbs.ac.iner.pawansingh028@gmail.comyugantarashram23@gmail.com
Authors are associated with Socialist Party (India).

2022 Assembly Elections in 5 states (Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Goa, and Manipur) were no less interesting than the 2019 General Elections, and BJP once again passed with flying colors in 4 states. If BJP is joyous about its victory, opponents are reviewing and researching the reasons for their failure but there are faces in every party which proved themselves “The Bog Flop Show”. They could get space in media, they were hyped by their party and they were also quite popular among the public but ultimately they have swept away in the Hindutva cyclone of BJP. Let’s have a look at them-

Uttar Pradesh

  1. Keshav Prasad Maurya (BJP): Once a CM Chair claimant, hero of 2014 General Elections and Assembly Elections 2017 as UP BJP State President, lost to Dr. Pallavi Patel of Apna Dal (K). He has been vocal against CM Yogi Adityanath and their differences are no more a secret. He kept saying that the Chief Minister will be decided, till BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi made it official that “Aayega to Yogi Hi”.
    But after losing from Sirathu, Maurya doesn’t have many choices but to remain in BJP, tamed and domesticated. Now he will be bound to accept whatever role or responsibility the party offers to him.
  2. Swami Prasad Maurya (SP): Before criticizing Swami Prasad Maurya for his defeat, he must be given the credit for making the ‘mahaul’ for Samajwadi Party and Akhilesh Yadav in Eastern UP. The day he left Bhartiya Janta Party, BJP apparently seemed stumped and it was one up for SP. He undoubtedly benefitted the Samajwadi Party which can be seen in a few districts of eastern UP like Ambedkar Nagar, Azamgarh, Ghazipur where BJP couldn’t get a single seat.
    But now that he has lost his own assembly seat, he also is not left with many options but to remain in Samajwadi Party. He might go back to BJP, depending on how well he be received there but since Maurya has cleared that he will stay with Akhilesh Yadav and will prepare for 2024 General Elections, any speculations may not be of any use.
  3. Priyanka Gandhi (Congress): Yet another disappointment for Gandhi’s Family, Congress Party, and for the Congress sympathizers, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra shrieked her party from 7 Seats to 2 Seats and from 6.25% Votes to 2.33% Vote. But she is not alone to be blamed. She undoubtedly did a great job as she fought for the Dalits and Farmers, she reached to Hathras Rape Victim Family, Unnao Rape Victim Family, Lakhimpur Massacre Victims Family, she tried to bring more women in politics and gave the slogan ‘ladki hoon lad sakti hoon’ but apparently, people didn’t want the kind of politics which Priyanka Gandhi was trying to do.
    Born in Gandhi Family, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra has no choice but to remain in Congress and keep working to revive her ancestors’ party. She might play a bigger role in National Politics but looking at the current situation of Congress, no miracle is hoped in the near future.
  4. Chandrashekhar Azad alias Ravan (Azad Samaj Party): An emerging face of Dalit Politics and Jatav community was also proved a big flop in UP Assembly Elections 2022. Known for his highhandedness, Ravan failed to ally with any large party and went to Gorakhpur and challenged Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath where he could hardly get 7640 Votes. He bargained with Akhilesh Yadav for alliance and tried to ally with Congress, he is now left alone and the clear shift of Dalit voters from Bahujan Samaj Party to BJP puts a question mark on Chandrashekhar Ravan’s future.
    Age is on Chandrashekhar Ravan’s side, so if he keeps working for Dalit, he may emerge as a Dalit face in UP Politics. To continue, he needs to join an established political where he could get wider resources and platforms to remain relevant in politics.
  5. Satish Chandra Mishra (BSP): In the shrinking BSP, Satish Chandra Mishra was left probably the only leader after many of BSP MLAs were sacked or left. A known lawyer and Mayawati’s confidante, Mishra tried well to become a Brahmin face of BSP but definitely couldn’t bring BSP even into the fray. His utility for Mayawati is higher than winning MLA Seats as he keeps Bahen Ji protected from coercive actions of the court in many of her disproportionate assets cases pending in courts.
    But he has plenty of options as a lawyer and as a politician too. He may continue with his lawyer career or join any other party where he will be welcomed for bringing even a little BSP Cadre and votes.

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Punjab

  1. Charanjit Singh ‘Channi’ (Congress): Once said to be a masterstroke of Congress, when Charanjit Singh ‘Channi’ replaced Capt. Amarinder Singh as Chief Minister brought hope for Congress that they could retain power in Punjab but he also flopped not only keeping Congress in power, but he also lost his own seat from both the constituencies, Chamkaur Sahib and Bhadaur.
    Channi doesn’t have much option of moving from Congress as the Aam Aadmi Party has the brute majority in Punjab and doesn’t practice BJP kind of politics of bringing opposition MLAs, even being in power. Shiromani Akali Dal has its own internal issues which they need the fix and there is no such stake of BJP. So Charanjit Singh Channi has to make peace with it and keep working with Congress and Navjot Singh Sidhu if he stays in Congress.

Uttarakhand

  1. Harish Rawat (Congress): The most credible face of Congress in Uttarakhand, Rawat also lost his own seat and Congress once again missed to come back to power. But to be fair to Harish Rawat, he was given the command in the later stage and was kept busy to resolve the Punjab Congress feud for a very long time. Keeping the tallest leader of a poll-bound state for a very long time was the blunder of Congress’s high command.
    Harish Rawat kept serving with Congress despite several disputes and dissatisfactions so there is a rare chance that he will leave Congress now and join any other party.
  2. Pushkar Singh Dhami (BJP): A naive brought in the slog overs could not leave any imprint and he lost his own seat from Khatima Assembly Constituency but BJP managed to retain the power in the name of Narendra Modi.
    Pushkar Singh has a long career to go and he is expected to become the chief minister once again to have a bright future ahead.
  3. Col. Ajay Singh Kothiyal (AAP): A decorated retired army man, Aam Aadmi Party had declared Colonel Kothiyal its Chief Minister face but could not do much for the party and lost his own seat from Gangotri Assembly Constituency.
    Col. Kothiyal is just 53 and with the emerging AAP, he may sail fine in the future. Since AAP now has the Government in 2 States, Delhi and Punjab, sooner or later he may also flourish with the party.

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Goa

  1. Prashant Kishore alias PK (TMC): The only flop face of the Goa Assembly Elections was poll strategist Prashant Kishore who successfully help Mamta Banerjee win West Bengal Assembly Elections. After winning in West Bengal, he went to Goa and plucked a few faces from Congress like Luizinho Faleiro but could not do any miracles in Goa. On the contrary, TMC had to pay by damaging its relationship with Congress and other allies of UPA. Whatever rosy picture PK had shown to Mamta Didi, she is back to square one and still trying to become a national face.
    Prashant Kishore is still struggling for his future and he keeps emerging in the media now and then by making catchy statements. He had also tried to join Congress but there also he could get a role of his choice.

Read also:

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