In Uttar Pradesh, the third Modi wave is as strong as 2014 and 2017

By Shivam Vij

(This article first appeared in ThePrint on 15 March 2019.)

Phulpur/Jaunpur: There’s a lot that has changed in eastern Uttar Pradesh since 2014. Thanks to the Ardh Kumbh Mela, the government has laid out the best roads. On either side of these shiny new roads, stray cows chew away farmers’ fragile incomes. Smartphones are now ubiquitous. Yet, there’s one thing that has not changed: The popularity of Narendra Modi. Continue reading “In Uttar Pradesh, the third Modi wave is as strong as 2014 and 2017”

In UP, The Akhilesh Yadav Campaign Is Losing Steam

[This article first appeared in HuffPost India on 22 February 2017]

ALLAHABAD: Elections are those strange things in which no claim should be taken lightly. One of those claims could capture public imagination, metamorphosing into reality. The perception is the truth.

In UP’s month-long election, there’s a round of polling every fourth day. Every fourth day, the key players have an opportunity to alter the perception for the next four days. The Jat desertion of the BJP in the state’s western corners helped create the perception that the BJP was a weak force. Continue reading “In UP, The Akhilesh Yadav Campaign Is Losing Steam”

In Bellwether Kasganj, Caste Equations Are Firmly With One Party

[First published in HuffPost India on 7 February 2017.]

In Kasganj, the election ‘hawa’ became clear the moment it became clear who the candidates are.

The Bhartiya Janata Party’s candidate is a Lodh, Devendra Singh Rajput. The Bahujan Samaj Party’s candidate is Ajay Chaturvedi, a Brahmin. The Samajwadi Party candidate is a Muslim, Hasrat Ullah Sherwani.

If you ask them, they will all say they are getting votes from all castes and communities. “Saaton jatiyon ka vote mil raha hain,” is a refrain you hear often, the metaphorical reference to seven castes a reminder that this is a mathematical exercise.

Not just politicians and journalists, even ordinary voters seem to know the caste maths of Kasganj, though the figures get changed in travelling by word of mouth.

Depending on who you ask, Kasganj has 16,000 Brahmin voters or 42,000. There is similar confusion about other castes. The only matter of absolute unanimity is that Lodhs are the largest in number.

Here’s a rough caste breakup of the voters from local journalists who insisted these are the real numbers, not politically motivated ones: Continue reading “In Bellwether Kasganj, Caste Equations Are Firmly With One Party”