The Election Commission’s recognition to the Akhilesh Yadav faction as the Samajwadi Party and allotting ‘cycle’ symbol to it will have an impact on UP assembly polls and might force both BSP and BJP to redraw their poll strategy.
Both the parties had been banking heavily on the internal feud in the first family of the state with Mayawati projecting her party as the only force to take on the saffron brigade in the face of a weakened Samajwadi Party.
BJP on its part was seeking to capitalise by promising development and law and order.
Akhilesh-led SP is likely to seal its alliance with the Congress later this week, a deal that would pitchfork the combine as the main contender against the resurgent BJP in the coming elections in UP.
SP and Congress together will seek to offer a stronger and cleaner alternative to the Muslim electorate which will be looking for a party that could defeat BJP as the hustings.
Muslim voters, who account for nearly 20 per cent of Uttar Pradesh’s population, can make or mar the electoral prospects of key political parties vying for the top slot in the high stake elections.
While divided Muslim votes translate to gains for BJP, a consolidation will change the poll arithmetic as minorities play a crucial role in at least 125 of 403 constituencies.
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BJP has also been quoting lack of development and misgovernance of successive governments and promising people to make Uttar Pradesh as ‘Uttam Pradesh’ if voted to power.
Political analysts said a section of Yadavs and Muslims might still go with party patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav but a majority of them will move towards the Akhilesh group as they look at him as a new hope in the state.
The 43-year-old chief minister has already proved his mettle at governance in the past five years and shown that development was the buzz word for him.
They say that armed with the EC order, Akhilesh will now be better placed to steer the party to a cleaner new image which will go down well with the people especially the young electorate.
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Analysts also said the EC order might be a setback to some extent to BJP and BSP, which were banking on the family feud in the SP to give them an edge.
BSP is expecting Muslims to leave SP and join its core votebank of Dalits to give it the requisite numerical advantage to bring it back to power.
But, the latest development could drive the BSP to think of a fresh strategy, especially in the communally sensitive western UP - where she anticipates a keen contest with BJP - which goes to polls in the first two phases.
With inputs from PTI