Uttar Pradesh saw the unparalleled political wisdom and master strategy of BJP president Amit Shah who skillfully transformed weaknesses into strength concentrating his core campaign around nationalism and powerful leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi as a brand. The campaign theme woven solely around him had psychologically packaged in a presidential style to pose vacuum of leadership in opposition parties to challenge his ability, unmatched integrity above all his humble poor family background. Political observers failed to gage the magnitude of “Modi Tsunami” boiling mostly in hearts of silent voters, as there was a complete lull before storm.
Most people of Uttar Pradesh across the party lines had voted in the name of “Modi” not in favour of BJP candidates responding to Prime Minister Modi’s appeal in his rally saying that even single vote to lotus would reach me. Thus, PM Modi pitched high fervor of nationalism to overcome caste challenges when he countered, “My caste is the caste of the poor.” Besides, Yogi Adityanath further thawed caste lines with his aggressive Hindutva plank. It badly trampled caste barriers and improved its vote share from 42.63 to 49.56 percent as compared to 2014 elections even then BJP suffered loss of nine seats in the state despite “Modi tsunami.”
In 2014, party won 71 seats but this time it just secured 62 seats. BJP ally Apna Dal maintained to win its two seats. Despite overall increase of 49.5 percent vote share, BJP secured more than 50 percent votes on most of the seats it won. The congress president Rahul Gandhi suffered humiliating and unprecedented defeat in his family bastion Amethi at the hand of union minister Smriti Irani with a margin of over 40,000 votes.
The results of the elections have not only decimated the power of caste politics but have also put a question mark on the future of the alliance. The results clearly indicated that Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samajwadi Party have not been able to transfer their votes to each other and hostile social equations between Dalits and OBCs have prevailed over politics. The BSP has benefited from the alliance by ensuring its better presence in the Lok Sabha as it could not win even a single seat in 2014 Lok Sabha polls. The Samajwadi Party stood major loser in the political gamble. The caste chemistry in Uttar Pradesh has flatly failed to fetch dividends for SP-BSP-RLD alliance as RLD failed to win even a single seat.
In this election the UP chief minister Yogi Adityanath and his deputy Keshav Mourya regained their lost prestige as in the last year by-elections they were humiliated losing in their own home turf to SP-BSP alliance consolidating Dalit, OBC’s and Muslims. In 2019 BJP candidate and Bhojpuri film actor Ravi Kishan won with record vote share of 60.54 percent in Gorakhpur and Keshari Devi Patel with 55.68 percent in Phulpur. Phulpur used to be parliamentary constituency of first prime minister Pundit Jawahar Lal Nehru who had defeated Hindu ideologue Prabhu Dutt Brahmchari of Hindu Mahasabha.
Reacting over the setback in by-election, the BJP president Amit Shah told the media that it would now fight to secure half the votes in UP. It had estimated that the alliance could get around 40 percent votes, marginally more than the saffron party’s 2014 tally. His strategy contained enormous damage in Uttar Pradesh and recovered its anticipated loss from West Bengal by doing aggressive campaigning. BJP occupied void of central opposition party in West Bengal where Trinmool Congress marginalized congress and Communist Party (Marxist) CPM.
BJP stalwarts and Union Home Minister Raj Nath Singh recorded resounding victory from Lucknow parliamentary seat where Mahagathbandhan candidate Poonam Sinha and congress nominee Pramod Krishnan challenged him. He secured lead of 3.47 lakhs votes and got 56.7 percent votes. State’s cabinet minister Rita Bahuguna Joshi and S.P. Singh Baghel also won from Allahabad and Agra but another minister Mukut Bihari Verma lost election from Ambedkar Nagar. BJP Union Ministers Santosh Kumar Gangwar (Barelli), Gen. V.K. Singh (Ghaziabad), Dr. Mahesh Sharma (Noida), Maneka Sanjay Gandhi (Sultanpur) and Anupriya Patel of Apna Dal Anupriya Patel (Mirzapur) also won the elections.
Despite blaming EVM glitches and hacking the Bahujan Samaj Party was a big gainer in eastern UP where it wrested ten seats including four prestigious seats of eastern UP— Ghazipur, Lalganj, Jaunpur, and Ghosi— from the BJP. Prominent BJP minister Manoj Sinha was a labourious and trusted lieutenant of PM Modi and his name was taking rounds for the chief minister ship of the state in 2017. Surprisingly this time he badly lost the election by a margin of 1,19,000 votes. Mafia don Mokhtar Ansari’s brother Afzal Ansari defeated him who was field by Bahujan Samaj Party as coalition candidate.
In Ghosi, Atul Rai of BSP defeated Harinarayan Rajbhar by 122,568 lakh votes. Rai polled 573829 votes and Rajbhar secured 451,261 votes. Rai has been on the run ever since a rape case was registered against him in Varanasi on May 1. Rai, however, denied the allegations, calling them baseless. In Jaunpur, retired PCS officer Shyam Singh Yadav (BSP) defeated the BJP’s Dr KP Singh by 80,936 votes. The BSP’s Sangeeta Azad wrested the Lalganj seat from BJP’s Neelam Sonkar by a margin of over 160, 630 votes. BSP also won Shravasti, Ambedkar Nagar, Amroha, Nagina, Bijnor and Saharanpur. Its candidate Tribhuvan Ram lost Machhlishahr just very thin margin of 181 votes and the candidate alleged huge rigging took place in counting postal ballots. BSP contested 38 seats and maintained runners up position in 27 constituencies.
Except veteran congress leader Sonia Gandhi from Rae Bareli no one could win the election. Many heavyweights of congress party including its president Rahul Gandhi face humiliating defeat. Most of its leaders lost their security deposits in the triangular fight. Congress finished as runners up in Amethi, Kanpur and Fathepur Sikri constituencies.
UP president Raj Babbar faced shameful defeat from Fatehpur Sikri where he was just able to secure 16.59 percent votes as compared to BJP candidate Raj Kumar Chahar who won by securing 64.32 percent votes. R.P.N. Singh from Kushi Nagar secured just 13.88 percent votes while BJP nominee Vijay kumar Dubey 56.69 percent votes. In Dhaurahra young congress leader Jitin Prasada lost election by a margin of more than 3.5 lakhs votes to Rekha Verma and stood on third position. Former congress minister Sriprakash Jaiswal on lost prestigious Kanpur seat by a margin of over 1.5 lakhs votes to BJP nominee Satyadev Pachauri.
In the wake of dismal performance the party in the Lok Sabha polls in Uttar Pradesh, Raj Babbar has tendered his resignation to Rahul Gandhi. “The results are depressing for the Uttar Pradesh Congress. I find myself guilty of not discharging my responsibility in a proper manner,” he tweeted. “I will meet the leadership to apprise my views. Congratulations to the winners for winning the confidence of the people,” he added.
Samajwadi Party’s dreams also shattered. Its star campaigner and wife of Akhilesh Yadav Dimple Yadav lost election in a close contest from Kannauj by BJP candidate Subrat Pathak who secured 563087 votes whereas she got 550734 votes. Therefore, she was just short of 12353 votes to win. Similarly close confident and relative of Akhilesh, Dharmendra Yadav also lost from Badaun just a narrow margin of 18454 by Dr Sanghmitra Maurya daughter of state Labour Minister Swami Prasad Mourya.
Samajwadi Party won only five seats including its patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav (Mainpuri), Akhilesh Yadav (Azamgarh), Mohd. Azam Khan (Rampur), S.T. Hasan (Moradabad) and Dr. Shafiqur Rehman Barq won and it was runners up in 31 constituencies. His major defeat also raised apprehension whether BSP was successful to transfer its votes to its alliance partner or BJP washed away caste arithmetic in saffron tide.