BJP surges ahead in India's five state polls

Cheryl Sanders
March 12, 2017

Even so, Modi's political problems won't vanish overnight if the BJP wins control of the Uttar Pradesh state assembly.

"I don't want to feel that I could have pushed myself a little more", Modi was quoted as saying by a close aide who attended the meeting.

The results are a setback for the defence minister, who had led the BJP campaign from the front, fuelling speculation that he might return to his home state as chief minister.

Victories in Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh will have an impact on the upper house of parliament, where a number of Modi's reforms, including a national sales tax, have stalled. "This is a historic victory for the BJP, a victory for development and good governance". His personal popularity outstripping that of his party PM Narendra Modi was a one man show in these elections, successfully converting demonetisation into a crusade against the rich. "Jo upar the who neeche aa gaye hain,"said a resident of Jayapur". Accepting defeat, outgoing chief minister Akhilesh Yadav said: "I accept the verdict of the people, I will do analysis at booth level".

Exit polls say the BJP will win, but these have been proven wrong before.

Led by Modi's vigorous campaigning, the Bharatiya Janata Party, or BJP, won 325 of 403 state assembly seats in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh, easily dethroning a powerful incumbent party and shrugging off the effects of the prime minister's controversial decision to withdraw most of India's cash from circulation in November.

While many in the saffron party failed to understand the significance of the term at that time, the leadership took it seriously in the next few years and brought about some changes.

"He is now well positioned for 2019", Kumar said, referring to the next national elections. But the fight is still open in two states, one of them being Goa. While the poll results have lessons for both national parties (Congress and BJP) in the state, it is certain that the road ahead for the Siddaramaiah government would be hard with an anti-incumbency wave, similar to Uttar Pradesh, setting in.

The results themselves are not a great surprise, but the margin of the BJPs win in Uttar Pradesh is greater than predicted. During the race, Modi touted his accomplishments as chief minister of Gujarat, one of India's fastest-growing states, to establish his image as a capable, experienced leader. Vajpayee saw to it that Govindacharya was summarily thrown out of the party in the wake of the ensuing controversy.

Modi had focused heavily on Uttar Pradesh, promising a string of investments in rural communities.

The vote share of these parties too got depleted, with SP's share dropping from 29% in 2012, when it formed a majority government, to 22%, and BSP's share dropping from 26 to 22. This is the victory of people of Uttar Pradesh.

More immediately, the shock loss in UP was a particularly brutal blow to Congress, the perennial rival of the BJP in national politics. All the exit polls have predicted a wipeout for the ruling Akali Dal-BJP alliance and contest is seen between the Congress and the Arvind Kejriwal's Aam Aadmi Party.

Elevation of Keshav Maurya, the MP from Phulpur was a part of this strategy. So, the BJP concentrated on the rest 30 per cent. In fact, among Muslims also the caste factor deepened and worked in favour of BJP.

Federal minister Ravi Shankar Prasad described the BJP support in Uttar Pradesh as a "tsunami", in an interview with CNN News-18.

This essay can not end without lamenting the debacle of the Mayawati-led Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), founded way back in 1984 by Kanshi Ram to unite the "Bahujans" (Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, OBCs) of India under a single umbrella.

Nearly four in 10 voters backed Modi's party, the election commission said as it tallied the last votes, close to the party's vote share in Uttar Pradesh in the 2014 national election when it won the biggest national majority in three decades. A desperate charge of tampering of the electronic voting machines (EVMs) was Behenji's response to the drubbing.

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