BJP banks on polarisation for success in West UP

BJP banks on polarisation for success in West UP

UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath. PTI file photo

BJP, which had swept the western Uttar Pradesh in 2014 general elections, banked heavily on polarisation to repeat its past performance on the eight Lok Sabha seats going to the polls on Thursday in the first phase of polling.

Almost all the BJP leaders-from prime minister Narendra Modi to UP chief minister Yogi Adityanath-raked up the 2013 Muzaffarnagar communal riots in their speeches 'Jat-Muslim' dominated constituencies in the region.

Adityanath, in particular, repeatedly referred to the riots and accused the Samajwadi Party (SP) and the Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD), both part of the 'grand alliance, of ''ditching'' the majority community, when they ''faced attacks'' from a particular community.

The saffron-clad UP chief minister also mentioned BSP supremo Mayawati's appeal to the Muslims to ensure that their votes were not divided, and sought votes of the majority community.

''The grand alliance only wants votes of the Muslims....we want votes of the rest,'' he said at election meetings.

BJP's 'jat' nominees also raked up the communal riots to remind the community (jat) that it was the saffron party, which had sided with them during that period.

In 2014, the 'jat-Muslim', who had been traditional supporters of the RLD, were sharply divided following the riots. The 'jats' supported the BJP in large numbers.

Polling on Saharanpur, Muzaffarnagar, Baghpat, Bijnore, Meerut, Ghaziabad, Gautam Buddh Nagar and Meerut seats would be held on Thursday.

In 2014, BJP had won all these seats riding high on the polarisation following the 2013 Muzaffarnagar riots. 

Union ministers Mahesh Sharma, V K Singh and Satya Pal Singh were among those, who were in the fray in the first phase. Former union minister Ajeet Singh is contesting from Muzaffarnagar LS seat while his son Jayanath Chaudhary is in the fray from Baghpat seat.