‘The trend in Uttar Pradesh shows the beginning of the BJP’s end has begun’: Javed Ali Khan

The Samajwadi Party MP says Prime Minister Modi and the BJP should read the writing on the wall.

Published : Jun 04, 2024 13:40 IST - 5 MINS READ

Samajwadi party leader Javed Ali Khan in Lucknow on May 25, 2022.

Samajwadi party leader Javed Ali Khan in Lucknow on May 25, 2022. | Photo Credit: SANDEEP SAXENA/THE HINDU

With election trends suggesting a substance decline for the BJP in Uttar Pradesh and the party’s overall Lok Sabha tally looking to be below 250, two-term Rajya Sabha MP Javed Ali Khan of the Samajwadi Party, who was part of the 13-member coordination committee of the INDIA bloc, believes the results might show that the bloc stands a chance of dislodging the BJP at the Centre in the near future and the alliance partners should start working on issues not just before the next election, but immediately after this election is over. In an interview with Frontline, Khan says that Mayawati’s BSP is finished in the UP and the contest there has turned bi-polar, which augurs well for the Samajwadi Party, with the fatigue factor catching up to the BJP. Khan also claims that the UP results show that the end of the BJP has begun in the State from which it began its rise to power.

How do you look at the emerging results in Uttar Pradesh?

This mandate is as per our expectation. In the final count we expect INDIA bloc in UP to notch up higher numbers.

But why is this kind of result coming for the BJP in Uttar Pradesh, where it won 71 and 62 Lok Sabha seats in the 2004 and 2019 Lok Sabha elections?

It is because people were facing lot of hardships. There was massive unemployment, and nothing was done to fulfil the lofty promises of providing 10 crore jobs every year. Price rise was at its peak. People were getting only promises. They also sensed a danger to the Constitution. They felt reservation is under threat. A lot of BJP leaders made statements favouring changes in the Constitution. The Samajwadi Party and the INDIA bloc fought on these issues. And the result is there to see.

How do you look at the national import of the emerging result in UP, as it has often been said that the road to prime ministership of the country goes via Uttar Pradesh?

This was bound to start from the UP. The UP seems to have given a message for the larger politics of the country. The BJP has got a beating in the same State from which it got the mandate to rule the country 10 years ago.

As trends crystalise, it is becoming clear that Mayawati’s BSP has lost much of its vote share and is turning into a marginal player. How do you look at this issue playing up for the Samajwadi Party in UP?

The BSP had become an extinct force. We saw this in the 2014 Lok Sabha election itself, when it scored a duck. In 2019, the BSP won 10 Lok Sabha seats because of the alliance with Samajwadi Party but soon Mayawati snapped ties with SP and went to polls alone in the 2022 Assembly election. Her party won just one Assembly seat then. Now, as results trickle in, it has been proved that the BSP is a finished force in UP.

But why has the BSP lost so big given that Dalits have nearly 20 per cent of the votes in the State and Mayawati was the first Dalit Chief Minister for a full term in any State?

One reason is that the BSP has been standing less with the Janata (people) and more with the Bhartiya Janata (Party). On key issues affecting people, including the threat to the Constitution, Mayawati was mum. When she removed her nephew Akash Anand from the post of national coordinator of the BSP in the middle of the campaign, the message went out that she had acted at the BJP’s behest as Anand was targeting the BJP and getting some traction for his anti-establishment voice. There was an impression that the BSP had become the handmaiden of the BJP. All this worked against Mayawati’s party while the Samajwadi Party was seen on the ground and raising issues as part of the INDIA bloc.

Also Read | ‘Every party is aware that coming together is the need of the hour‘: Javed Ali Khan

Do you feel the performance of the INDIA parties could have been better had seat sharing among all allies been done earlier? Was there something that could have been done differently?

We did timely alliance talks in UP and managed seat-sharing in time. The results are there for you to see. In States like West Bengal, where all INDIA allies could not come together, you can see the results. But by and large the alliance was in place, and we put up a united fight in most of the places and that is why INDIA is gaining.

What should Opposition do to perform better in future elections?

We should not be waiting for elections to begin to raise people’s issues. They should be raised throughout. This election has concluded; we should go to the drawing board and start campaigning over the issues. The key to success lies in staying connected to people’s problems.

What do you think about the BJP’s campaigning? 

People have rejected the BJP’s bid to spread confusion and carry out its divisive politics. They were trying to confuse people with their “400 paar” slogan, but it seemed unlikely that they would cross 300. It now looks as if the BJP is winning close to 240 seats, which is a big decline from the 303 and 202 it had won in 2019 and 2014 Lok Sabha elections respectively. The Prime Minister and the BJP should read the writing on the wall. The trends in UP show that the beginning of the BJP’s end has begun.

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