This is with reference to the editorial in Times of India ‘Battleground UP’ (March 4). UP with 80 Lok Sabha seats has become the battleground for all parties who want to grab maximum number of seats to improve their prospects in this year’s May election. The forerunner in this battle is BJP with Na Mo running the campaign from front. The others in the fray are Samajwadi Party led by Mulayam Singh Yadav, BSP led by Mayawati, Congress with Rahul as compign leader and latest entry AAP with Kejariwal. Modi though quoting Lucknow and Atal Bihari Bajpayee addressed the audience and said that road to Delhi goes from Lucknow. But the people know that there is marked difference between Modi and Atalji. Every party whether in NDA or in opposition and every community above their linkage respected Atalji. But Modi has a strong team of strategists in managing this election with backing from corporate houses. The UP voters are sharply divided on community , caste, backward , forward, harijan and many other such lines. The swinging factor is en block voting of muslim community to single party. Division in Muslim votes is likely to benefit BJP. Modi’s latest feather in his cap is the entry of Ram Vilas Paswan in NDA fold. He can project him also to polish and sign his secular image.
But real danger to him is AAP party with Arvind Kejariwal leading the compaign. AAP has not lost anything by not running Delhi state with 49 days in power and ultimately resigning to blame it primarily on supporting partner Congress and obliquely on BJP for putting spokes too frequently. But their main problem is they are themselves not clear about their priorities and major policy matters. I have never heard Arvind Kejriwal talking in public platform about his Swaraj model. What do you want to offer which will make you stand apart . Yes, their commitment to pass Janlokpal bill is one plank which can boost their image. But they are spending too many words on criticising BJP and Congress in not allowing to run Delhi state than to soliciting support from people by explaining to them how the different provisions of Janlokpal bill will enable root out the age old corruption which is eating the vital organs of Indian polity. Kegriwal’s survival and attractiveness can be through his commitment to redefining the whole game of politics, reforming it, reinventing it and that too working within the present system. A very difficult proposition with no organisational base throughout India.