The state of Uttar Pradesh is up for elections in 2021. being a state with the largest population in the country plays a vital role in the politics of the country. The throne for this dominant state is up for grabs the following year. Also, this can easily be called the election season with elections in 5 major states of the nation being underway. Amongst the states of WB, Assam, Kerala, and TN, WB would be the most closely watched state by all the major regional parties mainly of UP. A fierce electoral battle is being fought between Mamata Banerjee and the Modi clan, as the largest coastal state is up for its fate to be decided by the voters.

So how does this affect the equation in UP? A lot depends on how the TMC performs in WB as it will decide how well the farmers’ protest has dented the image of the two Indian strongmen. With the farmer’s protest completing the 200-day mark, this shows the rhetoric of the govt going from pro-farmer to anti-farmer denting their own 2019 manifesto of supporting farmers. Also if the TMC manages to retain power for a consecutive 3rd term it will make waves amongst the northern state politicians. A Mamta victory would mean that the Modi charm is fading away from the masses and the discourse set by the saffron party would suffer a huge blow. No coalition has been formed so far but a saffron loss would boost the morale of the parties in UP.

Now looking from the coalition point of view, the Samajwadi Party seems to be the strongest contender in the state, followed by the BSP of the Mayawati, congress, the newly formed outfit ASP floated by the Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar Azad and then the RLD. Akhilesh Yadav, the SP president suffered a huge blow after the Mahagathbandhan managed to win only 15 seats in total and his party managing only 5 seats in the lower house of the parliament. Not just this the BSP president accused the Yadavs of not voting for the coalition and thus broke away from the coalition.

The friends turned foes SP-BSP do not seem to be renewing their prenup vows again for the 2022 finale, but that’s a topic for another day’s discussion. Currently, the Mayawati isolation seems to also help the saffron party’s prospects in the state. Not only this, but the ASP also seems to be benefiting from this as the crowds being drawn in by Azad seem to be swelling by the day. Also, his presence at major incidents in the state, following the CAA-NRC fiasco helped him gain momentum on a national level. Now since Mr. Yadav also learned this the hard way, he won’t open his cards soon. It would make sense for him to wait for the WB assembly election results. In case of a TMC victory, it would be up to the SP patriarch to choose whether he fights alone or joins hands. In case of a BJP victory, he’ll have to be more complacent and welcoming for others.

The likely scenario could be that SP-ASP could go together, the BSP has already indicated that they will contest these elections on their own, already she managed to get support from the BJP to make sure her candidate enters the Rajya Sabha. Congress’s bad performance in the Bihar elections and almost very ineffective results in the 2017 UP elections would mean they’ll have a hard time bargaining for seats in UP.

Now looking at the post-poll equations, it could mean that if Yogi Adityanath wants to retain power in the state, he’ll have to look for newer partners other than Apna Dal, which most likely seems to be the BSP. In such a case it shouldn’t be tough to say that she could be easily made the Rajya Sabha chairman, with the new BSP chief Akash being given the role of Yogi’s deputy. If a non-saffron govt is to be formed it could be easily calculated that SP will play a major role whilst ASP and RLD playing the role of the kingmaker in the state.


  • Arun Budhathoki

    Freelance Journalist

    Thrive Global

    Arun Budhathoki is a freelance journalist based in Kathmandu, Nepal. Arun is interested in investigative, narrative, and multimedia journalism. His works have appeared in India Today, The Huffington Post (India), Daily O, The Citizen (India), Republica, The Kathmandu Post, Asia Pacific Daily, The Globe and Mail, TRT World, and The New Arab. He has also contributed to Aljazeera, The Globe and Mail, and Toronto Life as a fixer/reporter. He's also a columnist for The Diplomat.