Ram Temple in Ayodhya. Photo courtesy: Shri Ram Janmbhoomi Teerth Kshetra/X

The incumbent BJP managed to win a total of 33 seats on its own in Uttar Pradesh, but what caught the attention of everyone was the shocking defeat in Faizabad Lok Sabha constituency. The electors in the constituency that includes the holy land of Ayodhya, voted out BJP candidate, Lallu Singh, who was seeking re-election for the third time by defeating Samajwadi Party candidate Awadhesh Prasad. In the end, Prasad won by a margin of 54,567 votes.

Ram Temple in Ayodhya. Photo courtesy: Shri Ram Janmbhoomi Teerth Kshetra/X

There are many reasons being attributed to BJP’s loss in what was considered to being a safe seat for the saffron party. The same place had witnessed the inauguration of the Ram Temple in January.

Uttar Pradesh Lok Sabha Election results 2024

In the 80 seats, the Samajwadi Party (SP) emerged as the biggest winner with 37 seats. The BJP won 33, while the Congress won in six, including a huge win for Rahul Gandhi in Raebareli.

As the opposition Samajwadi Party and Congress surged ahead in more than half of the state’s 80 seats, including Ayodhya city in the Faizabad constituency, where Modi dedicated the grand Ram Temple in January, the BJP received a major jolt in the bellweather northern state of Uttar Pradesh.

What did BJP do for Ayodhya?

During the BJP’s tenure in Uttar Pradesh, the leaders of the party personally took on the task of building Ram Mandir and revitalizing the Ayodhya region. In line with “Master Plan 2031”, Ayodhya is scheduled to undergo an overhaul costing INR 85,000 crore over the next ten years, to promote tourism and businesses that will follow the construction of the Ram Mandir.

In addition to the redeveloped railway station and Ayodhya airport, the plan calls for the development of a new township spanning 1,200 acres, which would require an investment of nearly INR 2,200 crore over the course of the next five years.

Why did BJP face loss in Ayodhya?

Numerous unresolved issues remained unaddressed until the people mobilised against the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the Lok Sabha Elections of 2024, despite the significant plans of progress that were specifically taking place in the Ayodhya region.

  1. People against BJP candidate Lallu Singh

The Samajwadi Party (SP) secured the vital backing of the Dalits by fielding Awadesh Prasad, a nine-time Dalit MLA from the seats of Milkipur and Sohawal. In Ayodhya, the Dalit community constitutes the lone largest voting bloc. In the community, the SP was also able to capitalise on this feeling by pointing out that while small-time merchants and young people suffered, large corporations such as international hotel chains benefited from the temple’s construction. One more thing that hurt the BJP was the fact that Singh’s support was confined to the cities of Faizabad and Ayodhya.

  1. Neglecting basic needs

The BJP promised extravagant prosperity at a time when people were finding it difficult to support their families, find a place to live, stay healthy, and find employment. The administration exploited even those who willingly donated their life savings to the Ram Mandir.

  1. Frustration of the locals

The BJP had previously promised to build a mandir in Ayodhya and end the protracted Babri Masjid case, which had lasted for more than thirty years. The BJP was elected to power in Uttar Pradesh as a result of their victory. People got tired of constantly being linked to the masjid case. This time, the public faced additional issues that were ignored in addition to propaganda urging them to support the BJP in an effort to influence votes by playing on the sentiments of the locals about the Ram Mandir situation. The locals felt deceived. The BJP’s decline in several UP regions can be attributed to the public’s mounting dissatisfaction with the disregard for basic needs.

  1. Hidden dissatisfaction in the land of Ram

Locals in Uttar Pradesh are bringing attention to the real circumstances occurring in the land of Ram, Ayodhya, which the BJP had propagandised to be seen as a progressive and developing state, following the unexpected results of the elections. Among the few problems that Ayodhya’s residents deal with are damaged temples, broken homes, and lost lands.

  1. Strong anti-incumbency

A small-time tent house operator, Mohd. Israel Ghosi, claims there was a strong anti-incumbency sentiment directed against Lallu Singh. “He did not do any work for the people of Ayodhya. Whatever work was done was for outsiders. The BJP forgot to work for Ayodhya’s own people. Also, Lallu Singh said that the BJP needed 400 seats to change the Constitution. That made people very angry. Singh thought he was invincible, but he forgot that democracy works wonders,” Ghosi told the Indian Express.

Speaking to party workers, Lallu Singh conceded defeat, stating, “I was unable to preserve the honor of Ayodhya. There may have been some fault in me. I will introspect why this happened despite the Modi-Yogi leadership.”

The Faizabad constituency recorded 59.69 percent votes on May 20, 2024.

(The article is published under a mutual content partnership arrangement between The Free Press Journal and Connected to India)