Despite being epicentre of Mandir politics, Ayodhya has given mixed results
Ayodhya: The politics of Ayodhya has changed with time. Despite being the centre of Hindutva politics, the city has not been a BJP citadel, it has preferred to elect candidates from different parties. Since 1991, the BJP has been dominating the Assembly poll results from here, but on the Faizabad Lok Sabha seat all the three major parties in Uttar Pradesh — the BJP, SP and the Congress — have registered their wins in different elections.
The centre of the Mandir politics, BJP has had an edge here, but the party has not always been the winner from here. Political experts feel that caste politics matter a lot in the seat. Since the emergence of the Modi brand of politics things may have changed, but Ayodhya has been continuing to elect representatives from different parties.
Since 1991, the Faizabad Lok Sabha seat, which has Ayodhya in it, has given mixed results in the Upper House polls — with 1991, 1996 and 1999 elections won by the BJP. In 1998 and 2004 the Samajwadi Party (SP) won the seat. In 2009, the Congress was the winner. The BJP was victorious again in 2014 and 2019. Regarding the Assembly constituency, the results have been much different with the BJP winning many times and the SP capturing the seat in 2012.
Ayodhya has been at the centre of politics since 1991 as the BJP formed the government in Uttar Pradesh in 1991. But the Kalyan Singh government was dismissed after the demolition of the Babri structure and after elections in 1993, the SP patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav formed the government with the help of BSP. Soon Mayawati pulled out and formed the government in the state with the BJP’s help. From 1997 to 2002, the BJP was in power, but after that Mayawati took charge and later in 2003 to 2007 Mulayam Singh again came to power to head the government. In the 2007 elections, the BSP formed the government, then in 2012 the SP was again voted to power, and in 2017 the BJP won the elections. The BJP will be going for the polls again in 2022, but this time may face the incumbency factor.
To save the government the BJP has got a tough challenge as the Samajwadi party is giving the incumbent Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath sleepless nights, but the issue of Ayodhya can again catapult the party to power as the construction of the temple is in full swing.
The Congress has been out of power in the state since 1989 and it is almost 30 years that it has not been able to form a government in the state. Despite winning 23 seats in the Lok Sabha in 2009, it could not repeat its performance in the 2012 Assembly elections and was reduced to just one parliamentary seat in the 2019 elections. After the temple movement began, the Congress, which had upper caste, minorities and the Scheduled Castes (SC) as its base votes, saw an erosion in its vote base, which got divided three ways with the SP dominating the minority, upper caste with the BJP and the SC with BSP.
Priyanka Gandhi Vadra has been trying to carve a new political chapter for the Congress without alienating the Hindutva votes and also raking the issues of the NRC, CAA to dent into Akhilesh Yadav’s support base. But the battle in Uttar Pradesh seems to be between BJP and SP this time.