Lok Sabha constituency of Rampur is headed for a by-poll on 23 June. Here's why SP might win this seat.
About the contest: Rampur seat got vacated after its MP Azam Khan got elected to the UP assembly in March this year.
Asim Raja is contesting on behalf of the Samajwadi Party.
BJP’s candidate is Ghanshyam Lodhi, who was with the SP till just a month before the assembly polls.
The Congress and the Bahujan Samaj Party will not be participating making it a bipolar contest.
Electoral history: The seat is under the influence of an identity base of Muslims, Yadavs and Jats.
2009: Actress Jayaprada won on an SP ticket and BJP came last with 10 per cent vote share.
2014: BJP surged to victory on the crest of a ‘Modi wave’ by gaining 27 per cent.
2017: SP-INC alliance had 9 per cent more vote share than BJP in the aggregated result of the five assembly constituencies which make up this Lok Sabha seat.
2019: BJP did improve its performance to a commendable 43 per cent but in the bipolar election, the SP alliance won with 53 per cent of the popular vote.
2022: The gap between the BJP and the SP vote shares increased to 13 per cent in the aggregate of five assembly constituencies.
Present scenario: The SP has steadily expanded and consolidated its vote base in Rampur over the past decade.
The BJP, too, has grown in Rampur, but it is still a clear second.
This seat has become almost exclusively bipolar with only 4 per cent staying with the 'Others' in 2019 elections and 13 per cent in 2022 elections.
What works for SP: The SP currently commands 50 per cent of the vote in this seat.
Votes which shift to the SP from non-BJP parties via periodic alliances are seen to stay loyal to the SP even after those alliances have broken.
Amid vitiated political atmosphere by identity politics, the BJP’s best efforts to institute a supra-caste consolidation will not be enough, when sheer demographics is against it.
The SP’s 2022 win-margin over the BJP is equal to the BSP-plus-Others’ vote in these assembly elections.
Does BJP have a chance: While we cannot rule out such an eventuality, the probability of its occurrence is low.
The BJP does benefit from a vote share rise in general elections, but the situation is slightly different in Rampur this time.
Even if the BJP manages to get 4 per cent from ‘Others’, and 5 per cent from the BSP, that would still take it up to only 46 per cent, from the 37 per cent it logged in March 2022.
The BJP will not be able to win this seat unless it attracts at least 6-7 per cent of the vote directly from the SP.
Bottomline: The most probable outcome is that the SP will win Rampur with around 50 per cent of the vote share, with the BJP close behind.
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