UPside Down

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With the Uttar Pradesh Legislative Assembly elections taking place from the 10th of February, 2022 to the 7th of March, 2022, it doesn’t come as much of a surprise when I look around my neighbourhood to find every nook and cranny as spotless as they had been roughly 5 years ago. The electricity seems to have a newfound wish to not go for even a second and the regions once suffering with water shortage suddenly possess enough water to bathe the clothes of their cattle. The only pollution which did manage to rise, however, is aided by the herd of auto rickshaws and tempos who have been showered with loudspeakers and tasked to roam around Kanpur “influencing” people to press the button next to either the lotus, broom, hand, elephant and many other symbols. Cheap, but catchy songs have been employed by almost all parties to further sweeten the highly improbable promises made by them. Nonetheless, I must admit, my personal favourite things to come out of those god forsaken speakers have to be the insults and comments. Be it the snarky remarks which attempt to highlight the ineffectiveness of the present regime or be it the vain praises which attempt to highlight the effectiveness of their regime, these slogans never fail to get a chuckle out of me.

Numerous rallies can be seen nowadays wherein the party leaders themselves address the crowd. The defending champion, Yogi Adityanath has not held back at any of his poll rallies. He claims that his predecessor in Uttar Pradesh saw the “maximum number of riots” while adding that Uttar Pradesh has not witnessed any riots since the Bharatiya Janata Party came to power. He also claimed that the Indian National Congress is an extremely volatile party whose downfall will be caused by the brother-sister duo of Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra.With the pressure at an all-time high, one thing is abundantly clear, every party wants the limelight and what better way to achieve that than by publicly making exaggerated and altogether absurd statements to scrape out any attention they can get or by switching parties suddenly and effortlessly to make headlines . The Prime Minister of India was also regrettably observed to make this list when he claimed that Samajwadi Party (SP) “would have settled colonies named MafiaGanj (Colonies of Mafias and Dons) in every town of Uttar Pradesh.” He further went on to accuse all the former UP regimes to have handed over the state’s citizens to criminals, rioters and mafias. ” while praising his colleague for a job well done in the last five years. The opposition party members,however, show no intention in playing fair either. Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party chief Om Prakash Rajbhar claims that Yogi Adityanath wants him dead and further goes on to narrate how he was attacked during the filing of the nomination of party candidate Arvind Rajbhar from Varanasi’s Shivpur constituency. Meanwhile former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav strengthens his campaign by partnering with Trinamool Congress who have withdrawn from the race and implored the public to vote for Samajwadi Party and accused the Bharatiya Janata Party members to be liars. Aam Aadmi Party’s Arvind Kejriwal promises to bring “Delhi-Like” transformation to UP as well alongside many other benefits. The Indian National Congress has been seen to be surprisingly quiet on the matter apart from the usual criticisms and promises.

In all, I would bet on the defending champions emerging victorious once more due to their highly effective campaigning and expansive outreach in the state although they really might be on thin ice here since it appears as if their mouths are issuing checks that their party cannot cash. Unless the citizens of Uttar Pradesh start observing some real changes in the state from the get go, the Uttar Pradesh Legislative Assembly elections might start gaining a bit more competitiveness in the coming years. Personally I would not mind these elections happening a bit more frequently as the work and effort put into the city of Kanpur these past few months has really stood out and if it is the fear of dethronement that it takes to bring about development, then so be it.

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