fredag 11. februar 2022

UP elections 2022: Why western Uttar Pradesh is key for BJP

As the bellwether Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, commonly known as UP, begins elections to choose a new government on Thursday, voting is being held in the key western districts that border the Indian capital, Delhi. The BBC's Geeta Pandey in Meerut and Vikas Pandey in Delhi explain why a lot hinges on what happens in the region known as "western UP".

On a cold winter day last week, hundreds of supporters of India's governing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) crowded a small ground in a village in Meerut district in Uttar Pradesh. Many stood outside on tractors which had ferried in supporters from nearby villages, adorned with the party's saffron flags, waiting for Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath to arrive. As the 49-year-old saffron-clad, shaven-headed Hindu monk-turned-politician walked to the stage, the crowd welcomed him by waving party flags and shouting "Long live Yogi ji" or just chanting his name repeatedly.