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

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The Arithmetic of Opposition Unity

The Uttar Pradesh by-election results represent both promise and problems for the opposition.

The outcome of the Kairana parliamentary and the Noorpur assembly by-elections in Uttar Pradesh (UP) declared on 31 May confirmed a trend that was established by the results of the bypolls held in the Phulpur and Gorakhpur Lok Sabha seats in March this year. It is now clear that a united opposition can trounce the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) as it did in the four seats it won across west, central and east UP. Had the opposition parties contested Kairana and Noorpur separately, the BJP would have had a decisive edge.

But, what do the results portend for the 2019 election from a state that sends 80 members of Parliament (MPs) and had turned in 73 MPs for the BJP and its ally, Apna Dal, in 2014? Is the outcome a sign that economics will trump religion? The ­balance between religion and pragmatism has always been delicate in UP because one incendiary statement, gesture or ­occurrence can potentially polarise the polity within no time.

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Updated On : 22nd Jun, 2018
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