Strong showing for Modi's BJP

Miranda GreerMar 12, 2017

Apart from the Modi factor, the credit for BJP's electoral success also goes to its party chief Amit Shah's social engineering formula.

The BJP is already preparing for a countrywide celebration with the prospects of sweeping Uttar Pradesh and forming government in Uttarakhand and Goa. Congress Chief Minister Harish Rawat lost both the seats to BJP. Political observers say it could well be a vote for change to halt the alternative rule by the two regional parties.

Even winning India's tiniest state has been a big deal for the Congress to be effective in the 2017 assembly elections to five states, and therein lied the importance of Faleiro. Congress, despite low key campaigning and infighting, seems to be seeing an upsurge. The Shiromani Akali Dal-BJP combine was projected to be decimated in the state which it has ruled for a decade. This poll gives SAD-BJP 7 seats.

A good show by the BJP, especially in Uttar Pradesh, will be seen as a reaffirmation of Modi's standing among the masses and popular endorsement of his agenda, especially demonetisation.

Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP), which was playing the role of a villain for the last 20 years and siding with the ruling dispensation, like BJP and Indian National Congress, to have a piece of power cake, has been again decimated.

The state's current ruling Samajwadi Party led by young Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, in alliance with Congress, were leading in only 73 seats.

Everyone across India will be glued to live news as election results from UP, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Goa, and Manipur start pouring in Saturday. Even Prime Minister Narendra Modi's election rally could not save the day for BJP. Modi led campaigns against the rival Samajwadi and Bahujan Samaj parties, promising to bring growth and modernization and to sniff out corruption.

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.

Congress is claiming it will wrest power in Punjab.

However, an announcement is expected to be made only after legislature party meetings in these states. "These results will set Indian politics in a new direction", he said at a press conference at the party's New Delhi headquarters. Former chief minister Digambar Kamat won from the Margao constituency, while Congress candidate Dayanand Sopte defeated the incumbent chief minister in Mandrem.

That was blamed for the party's defeat in Bihar elections.

Senior Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar blamed the poor performance in Uttar Pradesh on the BJP's politics of polarization. It has won three seats.

In the western state of Goa and northeastern state of Manipur, the BJP was involved in a cliff hanger with the Congress. 15 counting centres have been established in Uttarakhand where the Assembly strength is 70. Its efforts paid off in 2014 elections, when the BJP polled well among non-Yadav members of the Other Backward Classes and with Dalit voters.

In Manipur, counting of votes will be held for 60 seats. One of the major challenges for Congress this year, however, would be Irom Sharmila's People's Resurgence Justice Alliance. Although the BJP is expected to bag the most seats, three polls showed a hung assembly, with no party having a clear majority.

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