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Before vote count, a deep dive into 2019 poll campaign and how it unfolded


Well-known member
In December 2018, in a bazaar in Uttar Pradesh’s Pratapgarh, a Thakur villager was angry. He blamed the Narendra Modi government for betraying its voters. The reason: the government had restored provisions of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act that had been diluted by the Supreme Court, after nationwide Dalit protests. It was three weeks after the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had suffered a setback in the assembly polls of Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh. “In 2019, we will teach them the same lesson,” said the Thakur villager.

But upper castes were not the only ones upset. So were the farmers, who across castes, had voted for the BJP in large numbers in both 2014 (general election) and 2017 (UP assembly election). They blamed the Yogi Adityanath state government for what came to be known as the stray cattle menace. The zealous cow protection drive, crackdown on slaughterhouses, and lynching of Muslims on the mere suspicion that they possessed beef had broken the symbiotic relationship between Hindus and Muslims. There was now no way to dispose off unproductive cattle. They were left out in the open; and farmers then had to stay up all night to protect farms from destruction. In other states, they were upset by low incomes.

It was in this climate that the campaign for the 2019 elections began. A jubilant Congress, riding high on its assembly poll successes; a grand alliance of the Samajwadi Party (SP) and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) in UP possessing a formidable caste arithmetic; and a BJP that suddenly appeared to be vulnerable.


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