On 11th March 2017, India decided to celebrate Holi a couple of days early, with saffron being the most popular colour of choice. Whether it was the heartland of Uttar Pradesh, the hills of Uttarakhand or the northeastern state of Manipur, the BJP made decisive gains across the board, once again reinforcing the fact that Prime Minster Modi, and the party itself, is currently enjoying a popularity that is unrivaled.
While the victories it scored in all three states are equally impressive in their scale, the one it registered in Uttar Pradesh is, without question, the most stunning. The BJP, under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s dynamic leadership, as well as Amit Shah’s ingenious campaign management, won a landslide 325 seats. This victory becomes even more incredible when one takes into account the vote share that the BJP won, a whopping 39.7%. When you compare that to the vote share of the SP, BSP and Congress, none of them could even cross the 25% mark. Winning a 3/4th majority in any election is no mean feat, but to win one in Uttar Pradesh, a state that has a population of more than 200 million (more than that of Brazil, England, Australia or even Pakistan) and one that is diverse across the board, is evidence enough that by and large, the country is rallying behind the policies, ideologies and leadership of the BJP.
Moving further north lies another state where the BJP won a landslide victory and took one more step towards fulfilling its vision of achieving a ‘Congress Mukth’ Bhaarat. In Uttarakhand, BJP won a stunning 57 seats, compared to the Congress’s mere 11. Such was the scale of the Congress’s defeat, that sitting Chief Minister Harish Rawat lost elections from both of the seats that he was contesting from. And if we were to go to the eastern most corner of the country, the results in Manipur are perhaps best reflective of BJP’s pan-India growth as it went from winning zero seats in 2012 to 21 seats in 2017.
Finally, with these results, all those myths of there being Muslim, Dalit or Jat vote-banks, ones that would only vote on the basis of religion or caste, are officially debunked. When you receive a mandate of this scale and magnitude, you can’t do so without support that cuts across lines of religion, caste and class. One look at the seats that that the BJP won reinforces this fact – they swept urban as well as rural regions, areas with heavy Muslim and Dalit populations, they swept the suburbs of Noida, the Congress bastions of Amethi and Raebareli, as well as all seats in Lucknow. Simply put, BJP received votes from all sections of society and considering its scale of victory, parties that solely relied on either communalization (Samajwadi Party, Congress) or caste politics (BSP), have been given a resounding reality check by the people of Uttar Pradesh. Additionally, this was also an election that has now, once and for all, made it clear that dynastic politics and parivar wad simply won’t work anymore. Apart from the symbolic losses of the congress party in Amethi and Raebareli (supposed bastions of the Gandhi Parivar), Mulayam Singh Yadav’s bahu Aparna Yadav also lost from the Lucknow Cantonment seat by 30,000 votes.
There were, of course, setbacks that we need to pay attention to as well. The mandate in Punjab was certainly disappointing, although it’s never easy to win elections when you’re facing 10 years of anti-incumbency, and our performance in Goa could have been better. We need to learn what went wrong there and course-correct our mistakes. With the reinstallation of Manohar Parikar as the Chief Minister of Goa, the first step in the right direction has already taken place.
Of course opposition parties such as the BSP and AAP are not able to fathom the scale of their own losses and so, in a bid to feel better about themselves and their political future, are conveniently trying to pin the blame on “malfunctioning EVMs.” Isn’t it funny that when a mandate goes against them, only then do the likes of Kejriwal and Mayawati raise such concerns? When they win elections decisively, such as in Delhi in 2015, malfunctioning EVMs are never brought-up?
In the end, however, the fact remains that BJP has formed the government in four out of five states, and despite all the manufactured noise that was raised against demonetization, despite all the tall claims that were being made against PM Modi’s development work, the Indian voter has given his thumbs up of approval and that too decisively.
अक्रोधेन जयेत् क्रोधमसाधुं साधुना जयेत् ।
जयेत् कदर्यं दानेन जयेत् सत्येन चानृतम् ॥
Conquer anger by calmness, evil by good,
miserliness by charity and lies by truth