Priyanka Gandhi proved to be a non-starter, Rahul a damp squib for Congress, which lost Amethi also to BJP’s Smriti Irani. The SP-BSP-RLD Combine bites the dust, while the RLD completely eliminated
Bhartiya Janata Party has won a mammoth victory in the UP parliamentary elections by winning 62 out of 80 seats. Its NDA alliance partner-Apna Dal(Sonelal) has been able to bag 2 more seats, thus making the tally for NDA as 64. The Congress has received a sound drubbing. Its national president Rahul Gandhi as well as its state president Raj Babbar -- both have lost. Only the Raebareli seat could be saved by Soniya Gandhi, albeit with a reduced margin. Even the Samajvadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party, who together with Ajeet Singh's Rashtriy Lok Dal looked formidable, have been put in a pitiable position. While the RLD could not win even a single seat, SP-BSP together could gather only 15 seats.
Priyanka Gandhi, tom-tommed about as the trump's ace by the Congress bigwigs, came a cropper. She, having been made general secretary of the party for the eastern UP, could not prevent its citadel, or whatever of it had remained there, from being crumbled to the position of being wiped out. Four constituencies in the eastern UP, where the party was a runner-up in 2014, has been relegated to third or even fourth position. These are Lucknow, Kanpur, Barabanki and Kushinagar. In western UP, the party fared poorly in Ghaziabad and Saharanpur--thrown from the runner-up to third-fourth positions.
Salman Khursheed lost his security deposit in Farrukhabad. He could garner only 55,258 votes in a contest in which Mukesh Rajput of BJP defeated Manoj Agrawal of the BSP by a big margin of 2,21,702 votes. From Kannauj, Dimple Yadav, wife of Akhilesh Yadav, ex-chief minister of UP and president of the SP, could not stage a come-back. She lost to Subrat Pathak of the BJP by about 12,000 votes. Here as a gesture of support, the Congress didn't put up its candidate. On the other hand, Menka Gandhi, Varun Gandhi, Hema Malini and Sakshi Maharaj, all senior BJP leaders, won from Sultanpur, Pilibhit, Mathur and Unnao respectively hands down.
BJP workers celebrating the party's victory in Lok Sabha elections, in Varanasi on Thursday
Bulandshahar, Jhansi, Aligarh, Meerut, Bagpat, Kairana and Muzaffarnagar are some other seats bagged by the BJP. But Rampur, Bijnor, Amroha, Muradabad and Saharanpur were wrested from it by the SP-BSP combine. In Gorakhpur, BJP's Ravi Kishan, a Bhojpuri cine star, trounced the Mahagathbandhan's Ram Bhuaal Nishad by a comfortable margin of more than 3 lakh votes.
Of course, the premium victory is that of Narendra Modi, who has defeated his nearest rival, that of the Mahagathbandhan from Varanasi by a margin close to 5 lakhs. Ajay Rai of the Congress stood third and lost his deposit too.
Nationalism versus secularism astride casteism
The convincing victory of Modi and his party is as much a result of untiring efforts of Modi, Shah and Yogi as peoples' inclination towards nationalism and their rejection of pseudo-secularism and casteism so much rampant in the state so far. SP and BSP both are perceived as exclusively mired in caste politics. After including the RLD, another caste-conscious party in their fold, they thought that had prepared an invincible combination. Modi, Shah and Yogi, on the other hand, spoke of the development factor that appealed to the people cutting across the caste and even religious lines. Moreover, Modi government's attempt, though thwarted so far in Rajya Sabha by the Opposition, to free the Muslim woman from triple talaq and halala, went down well with the Muslim women. Muslim men, though, tried to prevent their womenfolk from casting their votes, many of them did exercise their franchise in favour of BJP of course. An estimated 5 to 8 per cent Muslim votes has gone in party's favour this time. The developmental measures like allotment of newly constructed houses to the poor, distributing of electricity and cooking gas connections to the under-privileged have also worked wonders. There was no discrimination on grounds of religion or caste in these schemes. This too made many a Muslim family supporters of Modi government.
The Scheduled caste population has also shifted its allegiance in a big way. More than a quarter of them voted Modi. This is what rattled Mayavati the most. The traditional voter of the BJP remained with the party unflinchingly. That's why, BJP could take its vote share from 42% to 51%.
Modi and his party is being identified with nationalism. He can bring both China and Pakistan to their knees-- this conviction among the masses has worked wonder not only with the BJP workers but the common Indian. The Congress and other opposition parties and groups could not go beyond their pseudo-secularism. There was no feeling of nationalism in their statements or programmes. So the people are solidly with Modi-Shah duo, who give vent to their patriotism and love for nation.