Uttar Pradesh

Defectors Didn't Really Help BJP In Uttar Pradesh

Nishtha Anushree

Jun 06, 2024, 03:50 PM | Updated 08:50 PM IST

The Modi-Yogi cutouts in Uttar Pradesh (Image credit: Sumati Mehrishi)
The Modi-Yogi cutouts in Uttar Pradesh (Image credit: Sumati Mehrishi)
  • A major factor in BJP's poor performance in UP is the poor choice of candidates.
  • Giving tickets to defectors has not proven beneficial to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Uttar Pradesh in the Lok Sabha elections.

    While there are many leaders who have jumped boats to join the BJP, we will look at only those who have come to the saffron party since 2019.

    Of the eight such defectors getting tickets, only two managed to win while six lost.

    The winning defectors are Jitin Prasada, who joined the BJP in 2021 after leaving Congress and won in Pilibhit, and Vinod Kumar Bind, who joined BJP ally NISHAD party after the Samajwadi Party (SP) denied him a ticket for the 2022 UP Assembly elections.

    Bind was elected as a NISHAD party MLA from Majhawan in 2022. He now contested from Bhadohi on a BJP ticket and won after defeating Trinamool Congress candidate.

    The defectors who lost include incumbent Ambedkar Nagar MP, Ritesh Pandey. He had won on a Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) ticket in 2019 and joined BJP in February this year.

    Interestingly, his father Rakesh Pandey continues to serve as an SP MLA from Jalalpur, a constituency that Ritesh had won in the 2017 UP Assembly elections on a BSP ticket.

    Another loser is Ghanshyam Singh Lodhi, who helped the BJP to win Rampur after veteran SP leader Azam Khan vacated the seat to become an MLA in 2022.

    Lodhi served as an SP MLC from 2016 to 2022 and then joined BJP. After registering a win in the 2022 Rampur by-polls, he was given a ticket again but he lost to SP candidate Mohibulllah this time.

    BJP candidate from Firozabad, Vishwadeep Singh too joined the party in 2022. He is the son of former Firozabad MP Brajraj Singh and earlier contested the Lok Sabha elections here on a BSP ticket in 2014 but came third.

    This time he lost to SP national president Akhilesh Yadav's cousin Akshay Yadav. Akshay Yadav had earlier won this constituency in 2014 but lost in 2019 to BJP's Chandra Sen Jadon.

    In Ballia, the BJP gave the ticket to former Prime Minister Chandra Shekhar's son Neeraj Shekhar, who joined the BJP in July 2019.

    He had earlier won this constituency on an SP ticket in 2008 by-polls and 2009 general elections but lost to BJP's Bharat Singh in 2014. In 2019, the SP denied him a ticket, after which he joined the BJP.

    The SP candidate in 2019 was Sanatan Pandey, who lost by a margin of just 15,500 votes. He was given a chance again by SP this time and he defeated Neeraj Shekhar by 43,000 votes.

    In Barabanki, the BJP cut the ticket of incumbent MP Upendra Singh Rawat after his explicit video went viral and gave the ticket to Rajrani Rawat, who joined the BJP in April 2019 and became Zila Panchayat chairperson in 2021.

    Rajrani Rawat was earlier elected as a BJP MLA from Kursi in 2002. She lost the assembly elections in 2007 and contested as an SP candidate in the 2014 parliamentary elections but lost again.

    She then rejoined the BJP and got a ticket from Barabanki but lost terribly to Congress' Tanuj Punia by a margin of 2.16 lakh votes. Notably, Barabanki had reported the highest voter turnout of 66.91 per cent.

    The BJP lost in Jaunpur by a margin of around 1 lakh votes, despite getting the support of the former BSP MP Dhananjay Singh as its candidate here was former Maharashtra Congress leader Kripashankar Singh.

    Kripashankar Singh has earlier served as Kalina (in Mumbai Suburban district) MLA and Minister of State in Maharashtra's Home Affairs department in 2004. However, his native village is in Jaunpur.

    He joined BJP in July 2021, after being a member of Congress for several decades. He was given the post of vice-president in BJP's Maharashtra unit after joining.

    Other than giving tickets to defectors, giving tickets to incumbent MPs also cost the BJP. The BJP had given tickets to 26 two-time MPs (who won in 2014 and 2019), but only 11 of them won, while 15 lost.

    21 other incumbent NDA MPs (BJP and Apna Dal) were given a ticket but of them, only 10 won, while 11 lost. The loss of incumbent MPs suggests an anti-incumbency factor.

    Three former MPs, in Moradabad, Lalganj and Saharanpur were also defeated while only one former MP, Kanwar Singh Tanwar won in Amroha.

    A better strike rate was observed in incumbent MLAs as they won in Ghaziabad, Hathras, Phulpur and Bhadohi and lost in Mainpuri and Nagina.

    Thus, when we analyse what went wrong for the BJP in UP, a major factor that emerges is the poor choice of candidates.

    Nishtha Anushree is Senior Sub-editor at Swarajya. She tweets at @nishthaanushree.

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