The results to the five state Assembly elections are out now and the results show a clean sweep for Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led BJP in Uttar Pradesh besides storming back to power in the Himalayan state of Uttarakhand with a resounding majority.
The party gave a tough fight to Congress in Manipur and managed to finish second in Goa, where it was facing anti-incumbency.
The biggest setback was for Samajwadi Party-Congress alliance, who saw the results as nothing they had expected. The setback was even bigger for BSP supremo Mayawati, who not only lost seats to the BJP, but also saw her party’s traditional and loyal vote bank of Dalits slipping to the saffron fold.
Besides the focus on established national players, all eyes were also on the Aam Adami Party, which has marked its political debut in Goa, and was said to be prominently in the race for power in Punjab.
AAP didn’t manage to open its account in Goa, though Punjab came as a breather with the party winning 20 seats and emerging as the opposition party in the state. However, they fell too short of expectations.
The results, on the other hand, have strengthened the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the country and put a stamp on the “Modi Wave”, forcing the Opposition and his critics to rethink their strategy yet again.
Modi passes half-yearly exams with flying colours
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, as has been widely discussed and equally criticized, had pushed all his might into electioneering this time around. With the BJP sticking to its strategy of not declaring as chief ministerial face, Modi was all over the campaign in the UP Assembly elections, addressing dozens of rallies and holding many roadshows during the polls.
The final phase of elections saw the PM, along with most of his cabinet ministers, spending three days in his constituency – Varanasi.
No wonder, the clean sweep in UP is now credited to PM Modi, who would complete three years in office soon. Besides, Modi also passed the litmus test for the abrupt demonetisation decision that he took last year.
The same people who stood in long queues to withdraw their own money had again waited in lines to vote for Modi in the Assembly elections 2017.
The victory also means that the BJP, in the future, will strengthen its tally in the Rajya Sabha. This will help the government in getting bills passed in RS, though the whole process of gaining an upper hand in the Upper House could take time. Immediate gains appear unlikely.
After seeing today’s results, the opposition seems to have already conceded defeat in the Lok Sabha Elections 2019.
The former ally for BJP and now a hardcore critic of PM Narendra Modi, National Conference scion Omar Abdullah today said that the opposition should forget the Lok Shaba election of 2019, and start preparing for 2024 instead.
At this rate we might as well forget 2019 & start planning/hoping for 2024.— Omar Abdullah (@OmarAbdullah) March 11, 2017
Akhilesh Yadav’s Merc cycle has a flat tyre now
Everything was on stake for the junior Yadav in the UP polls 2017. Akhilesh had a fallout with his father and Samajwadi Party founder Mulayam Singh Yadav, a public feud with uncle Shivpal Yadav - all just to have his way in elections. Though he managed to win the war, he lost the bigger battle of UP elections 2017.
The results for Akhilesh means a big loss of face - both within his extended family as well as his party. The unfavorable mandate against him is now bound to strengthen the “camp’ against him.
Just hours after the trends showed the SP trailing, his uncle Shivpal said that it was not the “Samajwadis” who had lost the elections, and that it was the defeat of “arrogance” instead, hinting at his nephew and the Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav.
The fallout for Akhilesh and the SP could be drastic. The party now either stares at the possibility of a split or Akhilesh could be marginalised in the party his father had founded.
Moreover, his decision to align with the Congress and Rahul Gandhi - something that party patriarch Mulayam has been openly opposed to -- will be crticised severely putting his political acumen to question.
Kejriwal’s road to national prominence just got longer
For Arvind Kejriwal, who founded the party barely five years ago, there wasn’t much to lose. Nevertheless, the lacklustre performance does deal a body blow to his national ambitions.
The party was not able to open its account in Goa, the only breather was Punjab where it has emerged as number two party, leaving the SAD-BJP behind.
Expectations were high from AAP after three of the four exit polls predicted a victory for the Aam Aadmi Party in Punjab elections. A victory would have directly projected AAP as a party with a national appeal, as no party in recent past has achieved this feat of having government in two states within five years of inception.
However, it now looks like the AAP and Kerjiwal have to rethink their strategy of aggressive and vocal politics. Arvind Kejriwal will now have to prove his worth in Delhi before planning a national level take-off.
Rahul Gandhi’s imminent promotion as Congress president will have to wait
What initially may have appeared as a smart move by Congress veep and Gandhi scion Rahul Gandhi proved a futile effort. Aligning with the SP has clearly not worked for either party and the prospects of carrying on the alliance well into the Lok Sabha elections hang balance.
Congress has managed to win only seven seats of the 105 seats they contested. It is worth a mention that its 2012 tally in the state was 28.
With the alliance having lost, the Congress has already started working overtime to defend Rahul from critics who are faulting him for the decision to ally with the SP. Rightly so as the party had left no stone unturned to project Rahul and Priyanka Gandhi as the architects of the alliance.
Voices against the leadership skills of Rahul Gandhi have already started surfacing. And the first one to fire the salvo was Shiela Dixit.
Needless to say, UP’s failure is certain to delay the imminent elevation of Rahul as Congress president.