Opposition unity gaining strength

The result of by-polls has set the pace for 2019 election. The opposition parties stunned the ruling BJP by winning Kairana Lokh constituency in western UP. Tabassum Hasan of the Ajit Singh-led Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD), backed by Akhilesh Yadav’s Samajwadi Party, Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and the Congress, defeated the BJP’s Mriganka Singh by a margin of over 50,000 votes. In Noorpur, which was electing a new representative to the legislative assembly, it was the SP candidate who wrested the seat from the BJP. The saffron party suffered setbacks in Karnataka and Maharasthra also. Today’s result is expected to further cement opposition unity ahead of general election.
BJP which has been dismissive of opposition unity may have to change strategy to take on them. Especially defeats in crucial state of Uttar Pradesh (UP) will be hurting party. UP sends highest number of MP to the parliament and BJP won 2014 election mostly due to its impressive performance in UP. The wins in Kairana and Noorpur come for opposition on the back of the Gorakhpur and Phulpur by-elections in March, in which the SP and BSP set aside decades of bitter political rivalry to oust the BJP from its strongholds represented by UP chief minister and Hindutva icon Yogi Adityanath and his deputy Keshav Prasad Maurya. In Kairana, Akhilesh Yadav and Mayawati went a step further when they chose to support a third-party candidate from Ajit Singh’s RLD, and once again harvested rich dividends. Today’s result shows it is too early to call 2019 election in favour of BJP and Narendra Modi. There is no doubt that Modi and BJP is favourite to return to power but politics is unpredictable and anything can happen in the next one year.