ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Make or Break

The outcome of the Uttar Pradesh elections will shape the contours of Indian politics.

That the outcome of the elections to the legislative assembly of Uttar Pradesh (UP) will have a crucial bearing on the near-term future trajectory of Indian politics is obvious to the point of being a truism. After all, one in every six citizens in the country lives in this state, which would be the world’s fifth most populous nation if it were one. But there are moments in history when the UP assembly elections assume a significance that is larger even by these huge standards. We are at one such moment at present given the context and the timing of these elections.

To start with, this is the first round of state assembly elections taking place after Prime Minister Narendra Modi sprung the surprise of demonetising 86% of the currency in circulation in a dramatic fashion on 8 November 2016. Since UP is the biggest of the five states where elections are taking place, the verdict here will be read, at least in part, as a referendum on demonetisation. If the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) wins in UP or even becomes the single largest party, it will be seen as a popular mandate in favour of Modi. This would undoubtedly be perceived as further proof that he is not only the most charismatic leader the BJP has, but he also has the sharpest political instincts. Party chief Amit Shah, as Modi’s closest confidante, would also gain though perhaps not to the same extent. Such an endorsement would, it seems safe to state, make the Prime Minister adopt a more combative posture towards the opposition, which would feel even more helpless than it already does.

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Updated On : 28th Aug, 2017

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