In the last 50 days, the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has organised over 40 meetings in Varanasi and other eastern Uttar Pradesh districts, while also instructing its workers to inform the public about the federal and state governments’ welfare initiatives. The Samajwadi Party (SP), which is seeking to reclaim power in Uttar Pradesh, has scheduled over 20 meetings across the state Varanasi and adjoining areas alone as political parties have kicked off their electoral activities from the state’s eastern region ahead of the assembly elections early next year.
In eastern Uttar Pradesh, the BJP won 34 seats, Apna Dal (S) four, Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party (SBSP) three, SP 12 seats, and Bahujan Samaj Party seven of the 61 assembly seats. The BJP surged to victory in the state over four years ago, with 312 seats in the 403-member House. In the 2017 elections, Congress won only seven seats, BSP 19, SP 47.
Ashutosh Sinha, a senior SP leader, claimed he has met with party activists in Varanasi, Jaunpur, Sonbhadra, Ghazipur, and Chandauli to mobilise them for the 2022 election. He also mentioned that he had met the heads of Zilla Parishads in these areas. “Azamgarh, Bhadohi, and Mirzapur have also conducted meetings.”
Leaders of the BJP, Apna Dal, SBSP, and other smaller parties have also stated that they have had talks in the region, where OBC and SC voters play a key role in over 50 of the seats across ten districts. According to political experts, OBCs and Dalits make up roughly 60% of the population in the region, and every political party is vying for their votes.