Did Ayodhya fail BJP? How Avadhesh Pasi won Faizabad

Ram Mandir was a big rallying point for the BJP during its campaign for the Lok Sabha elections of 2024. But the party lost Ayodhya, officially referred to as Faizabad. Here's why:

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Surajit Dasgupta
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Did Ayodhya dump BJP How Avadhesh Pasi won Faizabad

Did Ayodhya dump BJP How Avadhesh Pasi won Faizabad

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Ram Mandir was a big rallying point for the BJP during its campaign for the Lok Sabha elections of 2024. But the party lost Ayodhya, officially referred to as Faizabad.

The Ayodhya result has shaken many Hindu supporters of the BJP. Some have gone on to call the people of the constituency “traitors”. Some are invoking the Ramayana, saying this was why Sri Rama preferred taking monkeys along, rather than his kingdom’s army, to wage a war on Ravana in Lanka!

But did the people of Ayodhya desert the BJP lock, stock and barrel? Not quite.

How Ayodhya voted

Today’s Ayodhya, unlike the kingdom in Valmiki or Tulsidas’s Ramayana, is a small town in Uttar Pradesh. While Lord Rama is a big icon for Hindus across the world, for residents of the small town, handling an outpouring of pilgrims and tourists was overwhelming.

What is more important, hundreds of houses are being demolished to make way for a broad road leading up to the Ram temple.

Yet, Ayodhyavasis did not dump the BJP downright. The BJP got more votes in 2024 than in 2014 although in 2019, it had fared better.

    4,99,722 votes in 2024

    5,29,021 votes in 2019 and

    4,91,761 votes in 2014

Yet, it lost despite nearly 5 lakh votes this time. Because the winner, Awadhesh Prasad of the Samajwadi Party, got about 50,000 more than BJP’s Lallu Singh.

But if a larger part of the BSP vote, 46,407, had moved to the BJP, if NOTA did not claim 7,536 votes and if others did not claim nearly 33,000 votes, the result could have gone the other way.

By the way, the BSP candidate from here was a BJP rebel, Sachchidanand Pandey ‘Sachin’, a Brahmin.

Clearly, the INDIA bloc benefited from the consolidation of Congress and SP votes, as seen across Uttar Pradesh: Congress got 1 lakh 29 thousand 917 votes in Ayodhya in 2014 and 53 thousand 386 votes in 2019. This time, it withdrew for a joint candidate from the SP. That made all the difference. This was precisely why the BJP lost in Ayodhya.

uttar pradesh bsp Samajwadi Party Ram ayodhya BJP