BJP leaders worry over fallout of Covid-19 pandemic on key state elections in 2022

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By Express News Service

NEW DELHI: With the pandemic causing economic hardships for a very large number of people, there’s growing anxiety in the BJP about the party’s prospects in the next year’s Assembly elections in key states, including Uttar Pradesh.

Party functionaries lament that the seventh anniversary of the Narendra Modi-led NDA government passed off as a non-event in May, with there being no audience present to listen to its achievements, due to the pandemic.

Senior leaders have taken note of the signs of economic stress in urban and semi-urban centres. The functionaries of the RSS have also begun sounding top leadership of the scale of stress in the unorganised sector. 

There are also worries that the pandemic may continue into the next year and affect the launch of the poll campaigns in major states like UP.

“The administrations will have to work out something extraordinary in the next six months in the election-bound states. The organisational might as of now is blunted in the poll-bound states by the scale of the agonies of the people due to Covid-19. The party may have a tall list of expectations from the MPs and MLAs to reach out the necessary assistance to the needy, but the magnitude of the challenge has turned most of them ineffective,” said a BJP functionary.

With many youngsters in the 25-35 age group in poll-bound states losing their jobs amid the pandemic, the party is unsure whether it will be able to count on their much-needed support. 

“The government has so far not able to gauge the scale of pandemic-induced job losses, which is only growing in magnitude. There’s a possibility of cascading effects on account of the pandemic, squeezing opportunities for the youth. That can take states like Uttar Pradesh to pre-2012 poll times when berozgar baap (unemployed fathers) slogan worked wonders for the Samajwadi Party,” said another BJP functionary. Berozgar baap was a pet slogan coined by former Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav in the run-up to the 2012 state elections. Cashing in on the crisis, his party promised an unemployment allowance.

BJP’s top brass, however, is hopeful that the agonies caused by the second wave of the pandemic will subside in time for the next year’s elections. 

“The people will realise that the second wave of the pandemic just ballooned from nowhere and appreciate the subsequent response of the Centre and the party-ruled states,” said a top-ranking BJP functionary.

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