The Bharatiya Janata Party, in a surprise to many, today stormed to an unprecedented two-thirds majority in Uttar Pradesh and will return to power in the state they lost in 2002.
Since then, the BJP was never in the picture to even come close to victory.
However, after the clean in sweep in Lok Sabha elections 2014, when only the Yadav clan managed to retain their seats, hopes were high from the saffron outfit in the state Assembly elections.
Critics of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP were skeptical of them even achieving the magic number of 202. But the results proved them all wrong.
Modi pressed all his might in electioneering to ensure a victory for the BJP. In the final leg of the seven-phase election, Modi, along with his cabinet, put up a massive show in his constituency – Varanasi.
Modi’s hard work has paid rich dividends for him and the party.
A euphoric BJP termed the victory "historic" and said that the ‘Modi wave’ would change the course of national politics forever. An impact on the Lok Sabha elections of 2019 appears anything but certain.
Even the Congress admitted it was stunned by the scale of the verdict in favour of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in whose name the party went to polls in the state sans a chief ministerial face.
From being the third largest group in the 403-member Uttar Pradesh assembly in the year 2012, BJP catapulted to winning a whopping 324 seats. A never-before showing by any party in the country's most populous and politically crucial state in the recent past.
It is worth a mention that only two chief ministers have completed a full tenure in the 65 years of history of the state. The last was incumbent Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav and the first one was Sampurnanand, who was the second Chief Minister of the state.
The victory has left the ruling Samajwadi Party and its ally Congress punctured with just 55 seats while the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) was decimated to a pathetic 19 seats.
While Samajwadi Party leader and Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav promptly resigned, BSP leader Mayawati attributed the rout to the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) which she said were manipulated.
"The historic mandate given to the BJP will give a new direction to Indian politics. It will end the politics of caste, dynasty (parivarvaad) and appeasement," BJP President Amit Shah said in a press conference held in the afternoon at party headquarters in Delhi, while refusing to comment on the BSP supremo’s outburst.
The party president said that the party which has swept UP and Uttarakhand, will form government in Goa and Manipur as well.
"It is a monumental setback. We are disappointed with Uttar Pradesh," Congress spokesman Sanjay Jha said.
Added Congress leader Sandeep Dikshit: "Our party is looking confused."
But other party leaders rushed to defend Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi, saying he alone must not be blamed for the rout in Uttar Pradesh, where the Congress, having become in recent decades an also-ran, aligned with the Samajwadi Party just before the staggered assembly election.
In Uttar Pradesh, the BJP's success rate enveloped both urban and rural areas and appeared to demolish traditional caste equations. BJP candidates won in all major cities including Lucknow, Allahabad, Kanpur and Varanasi, Modi's Lok Sabha constituency.
While the Congress fared not so badly in Rae Bareli, it took a drubbing in Amethi, Rahul Gandhi's Lok Sabha seat.
BJP leader Yogi Adityanath told news agency IANS: "Good work done by the Modi government and (BJP President) Amit Shah's strategy has paid dividends."
Now all eyes would be on the party’s pick for the post of Chief Minister in the state.