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2017 UP elections: A distant view
UP is far away from Kerala, where I live. It is difficult to get any clear view of the ground realities there. Yet the contours of the sky and the horizon where the clouds have to form and rain out on the election day, not too far from today, is visible; faint and feeble. Nevertheless the patterns are there if you care to not to blink.

UP sent the most of BJP MPs to Parliament but has minimum BJP MLAs in the assembly. This is not because the people saw the two elections as mutually exclusive events and applied their mind and decided that BJP is good at the Centre but bad in the state. The clue is that UP is a state susceptible most to mass voting, which means they go by the trend, any trend for that matter.

So the trick is to create the trend. That is what PM himself initiated through demonetisation, an act which can only be described as pro poor, anti corruption, death blow to black money etc even by the opposition. And BJP got a good start.

Then the Modi effect chipped in. Modi is essentially someone who wants to steal the thunder at regular intervals. Remember the unsolicited air dash to attend the marriage ceremony at the house of the Pakistan PM. Modi is also someone who never follows up on his initiatives.

He probably believes it is the duty of his subordinates and supporters to carry the movement forward. In one of his earlier interviews he probably said that he gave his deputies ideas and allowed them all the freedom to work it out. His mind gets engaged in the search for another surprise as soon as the present find is passed on.

Demonetisation was thus left to subordinates and supporters to implement. Once the surprise, which allowed them zero space for preparation, forget rehearsal, subsided reality sunk in. Almost everything went wrong in implementation. PM going along the design stayed quiet and away even from the parliament. Gauge the extent from the fact that he was forced to refuse to meet a team led by Chief Minister of Kerala, which is 180 degree out of phase with his character of meeting anyone anywhere which simply make him the most popular leader in the country.

The surprising fact is that people at large took the troubles that followed in their stride. They have discounted the inefficiencies that plagued the implementation as typical Indian way of doing things. The long ques did not matter as for the poor in the country it is a routine. The cash restriction didn't matter as they never really had enough cash to be restrained. The new currency notes getting into hoarders' hands did not matter as they saw it as a natural extension of the present state, nothing worse. Opposition parties in India fell flat on reading public reaction to demonetisation.

But there is one particular move, which hurt the soul of the poor people in the country most. The move to stain their forefingers and call them imposters if not frauds. Just for the crime that they did not have an account in any bank and yet tried to encash a few thousand rupee notes standing in the queues more than once.

UP election is going to be an expression or otherwise of this great hurt. It is going to be a referendum on this simple mistake in the implementation of demonetisation, which the poor is most likely to link to Modi. Though the fact could be that this particular move did not have the approval or acknowledgement of Modi.

Yet it is not likely to grow into any major trend uprooting lotus in the state. Bjp will fare better than in the last assembly election and definitely below the parliament election performance. And anything in between these two extremes can always be interpreted as a win by both the the PM and the party. As such nothing much is at stake in UP for BJP. In short, this election is crucial for all other parties but not for BJP.

But the sad thing is that BJP thinks otherwise. They think it is crucial for the party and takes it as an examination for the PM, the result of which will make or break his carrier. The stress that this line of thinking is sure to create may lead to unforced errors, which can affect the winning streak. Otherwise BJP will put in creditable performance in UP assembly elections as far as the view from this distant place Kerala reveals.

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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