Muzaffarnagar riots may have sealed Ajit, Jayant's fate in west UP Jat belt

Both lack of development in west UP belt and inability to appear as the community’s leader during the riots seem to have cost RLD

deevakar

Deevakar Anand | May 16, 2014




There is no doubt that the Narendra Modi wave has been an overriding factor across the country in this general election.

Yet, like tributaries from different directions meeting a river and increasing the intensity of its flow, in each region there has been a special factor contributing to the Modi wave becoming a high tide and sweeping everything on the shore.

The results of the constituencies in western Uttar Pradesh show a good example of this.

Also read: 3 reasons why BJP sweep doesn't mean end of caste factor

The defeat of Jat leader Ajit Singh from Baghpat is a testament to the fact that for those already on the margins, the Modi wave came as a tsunami. Son of farmer leader and former prime minister Chaudhary Charan Singh, Ajit Singh has lost not just to Modi but he has been failed by two other major factors – his own dismal performance as a people’s representative  from this western UP ‘Jatland’ – comprising Baghpat, Meerut, Muzaffarnagar and Shamli (Kairana) constituencies – and the September 2013 communal riots in Muzaffarnagar.

First, Modi’s development plank this time found resonance with the voters in this region, who have been subject to abject apathy at the hands of their elected political representatives, including the Rashtriya Lok Dal leader Ajit Singh.

Second was the Muzaffaranagar riots of last year, when Jats believed they were at the receiving end of “Muslim appeasement” politics of the ruling Samajawadi Party in the state. At that time, Ajit Singh and the RLD, who have for long vouched for themselves as messiah of the Jats, did not figure in the community’s imagination. Thanks to the BJP’s extremely aggressive attempts through its local leaders, the space of Jats’ messiah was taken by the BJP in the communally polarised air of Muzaffarnagar.

Not just Singh, his son Jayant Chaudhary was also trailing BJP’s Hema Malini – and even the BSP’s Yogesh Kumar Dwivedi – thanks to the young politician’s failure on both counts: development and inability to appear as the community’s leader during the riots.

In Muzaffaranagr, a BSP stronghold, sitting MP Kadir Rana was behind BJP’s Sanjeev Balyan by nearly 2 lakh votes past noon.

The BJP is also leading comfortably in Agra, Aligarh and Meerut.

Even in the fiefdom of Samajwadi Party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav, the saffron party is leading at Etah and Etawah. While Mualyam has comfortably won the Mainpuri seat, in next-door Firozabad his nephew Akshay Yadav was leading by a very close margin over the BJP’s SP Singh Baghel when reports last came in.

The poor state of development in western UP has long haunted the voters and they have relied on Modi’s ‘development’ plank over the failed dreams shown by regional leaders like Mualyam, Ajit or Mayawati. Along with that, in retrospect, one can say that the Muzaffarnagar riots sealed the fate in favour of the BJP in western UP, with the anti- BJP votes split among the SP, the BSP and the Congress.

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