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Uncertain Times Ahead for Uttar Pradesh
Three major players in the battle that is Bhahujan Samaj Party, Samajwadi Party and Bharatiya Janata Party have declared that they will like to sit in opposition instead of joining hands with their sworn enemies.
The task of Government formation has also been made more difficult because only three days period will be available for any group to work out a majority to make a claim to be circumstances will be to invite the leader of the largest party to try his hand at Government formation failing which he could look at other options before recommending that the State be placed under President rule.
The problems of Uttar Pradesh have grown over a period of time because the people are divided on the basis of caste and religion with no party in fray which could appeal to voters across the entire State. There was a time when Congress had a following which cut across the caste or religion, but in present context it is only a shadow of its former self. It has pockets of influence only and in many areas it has no presence on the ground. The party will have to do much more if it is to convert the ground level support into votes.
Mr. Rahul Gandhi by jumping into the campaign at last minute did make headlines because of the crowds that he attracted, but it looks unlikely that this showing will help the Congress candidates or bring more votes for the party as no organization existed at ground level to bring these people to polling booths. The effort by Election Commission to have polling in phases and by deploying para military forces in large numbers has ensured peaceful poll, but it was also responsible for poor turnout as many voters were denied their right of vote because the machinery at lower levels had not done their job of providing photo identity cards to all those who were entitled to them.
Whatever be the nature of complaints there is no doubt that the time when strong arm tactics could help you to capture booths and fill ballot boxes with votes in favour of candidates are over. This has cast a shadow over the prospects of many criminal candidates fielded by political parties. The obvious lesson to be drawn is that the ability to win of candidates who had at their command army of goons will become a matter of past. The distribution of country liquor, use of dancing girls to attract voters continued to be a part of campaigning which lacked colour and luster because of restrictions on use of posters.
Another factor which may make the formation of the Government difficult is the fact that the election to the Assembly will be followed by election to Lok Sabha after a gap of two years which will make it difficult for parties like BJP and Samajwadi Party to combine. This will leave very few options for joining hands to build a majority. The only likelihood is a combination of BSP with Congress and few independents, but this will also depend largely on the number they are able to muster as stable Government will require a following of around 220 plus which will also include some small groups and independents.
Such a Government will not serve the cause of people of State who have suffered a lot because of poor governance as the administration only looked after the sectarian and narrow interest of party in power instead of serving the public in general. UP has suffered as indicated by lack of progress in fields of industry, deterioration in functioning of institutes. Kanpur city once called Manchester of India now can boast of being a center for manufacture of Pan Masala one or some units making leather goods for export.
Allahabad University, which was once upon a time a center of excellence which provided toppers in Central services or in other fields is now known for its hooliganism with academics taking a back seat. One can keep on talking about lack of sun shine industries like IT or any modern manufacturing units. The list is endless. It is a tragedy that a State which sends the largest number of members to Lok Sabha and provided atleast four Prime Ministers who ruled India for a long period after independence has now fallen down close to bottom line.
The need for reviving UP as a front line State is necessary for India to march ahead, but it can happen provided a new generation of leadership emerges which appeals to people in name of ideas and progressive thoughts instead of limiting their appeal on basis of religion and caste. There is no easy road ahead because the rot has taken deep roots in the State.