Saffron juggernaut rolls on

2022 Assembly Poll Results

BJP makes light of the challenge posed by Akhilesh-led Samajwadi Party in UP even as it secures impressive victories in Uttrakhand, Goa and Manipur. However AAP’s landslide in Punjab prevented BJP from making a clean sweep, writes Mudit Mathur

The new icons are going to script the Indian politics, following the stunning success of the ruling Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) in the four of the five states — Uttar Pradesh (UP),Uttarakhand, Goa, Manipur — and big setback in Punjab, where Aam Admi Party emerged as a knocking force decimating Congress party from the power. Nevertheless, the state polls, appear to have finally sealed the political fate of former Congress president Rahul Gandhi and his sister and Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi. The brother-sister duo who suffered colossal political setback in these elections too and have to face severe criticism from the side-lined senior party leaders – G23 – who want a change in the party leadership in view of successive defeats due to its disconnect from the masses.

The resounding victory of BJP alliance in UP winning about 273 seats with a vote share of 41.29 percent, bulldozing hopes of its rival Samajwadi alliance, depicts an endorsement of the policies of the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, who would again be seeking the mandate for his third term in 2024, perhaps, without any political challenge in offing. Thus, the results of these polls are considered to be the semi-final of the 2024 Lok Sabha polls, especially in the context of the country’s most populous state, Uttar Pradesh, which sends 80 representatives to the Lok Sabha.

The victory of the Aam Admi Party (AAP) in Punjab winning 92 out of 117 seats in a tsunami like mandate, may enable the Delhi Chief Minister, Arvind Kejriwal to emerge on the national scene as a new national leader against Modi in the 2024 polls, if the opposition parties could form a united alliance. The Trinamool Congress chief, Mamata Banerjee also attempted a foray into other states and engineered defections in Goa Congress party but due to saffron surge her efforts to go beyond West Bengal could not bear the fruit while AAP won two seats in Goa marking its presence felt there though in UP it could not make any dent in vote share.

In UP it is claimed to be sheer Modi magic that broke the popular jinx of  no ruling party being able to retain power in the state after 37 years. Before Yogi Adityanath it was Pundit Narayan Dutt Tiwari of Congress party who has the honour to serve the state twice in a sequence but he could not last full five years term. Even Mayawati and Mulayam Singh Yadav despite becoming chief minister of the state many times could not return to power due to anti-incumbency.

However, surprisingly, this time overriding visible anti-incumbency over growing price rise, unemployment, farmers’ crisis and apparent anger over series of issues concerning public at large, nobody could imagine how deeply the invisible current of welfare schemes among the beneficiaries of poor sections was working in the masses which brought the Bhartiya Janata Party back to power.

Since the elections of the president and the vice-president of India are also scheduled this year, the ruling party may be considering the high-profile leader such as Arif Mohammed Khan, presently governor of Kerala or the vice-president of India Venkaiah Naidu, for the coveted position of the President of India. Later this year, the two states, Himachal and Gujarat, the home state of Modi, too would be going for the state polls in November and December, respectively, where upbeat prime minister Modi is soon going initiate dialogue with people.

Priyanka’s efforts come to nought

The brother-sister duo, Rahul-Priyanka, finally wrote the epitaph of the Congress Party in Uttar Pradesh, which was once the most powerful state unit influencing the national politics. The party won only two seats in the state polls, Aradhana Mishra ‘Mona’ from Rampur Khas in Pratapgarh and Virendra Chaudhary from Pharenda in Maharajganj. In the previous state assembly election, the party had seven seats. It had won the assembly seat in the Rae Bareli, an Assembly segment of Sonia Gandhi’s Lok Sabha constituency.  Rae Bareli and Amethi Lok Sabha seats were considered to be the bastion of Congress till 2019 when senior Congress leader Rahul Gandhi was trounced in Amethi by union minister Smriti Irani.

It goes to the credit of Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, general secretary of the Congress Party, who was leading the campaign during the state polls that despite expecting defeat in the election, she told a rally in Ghazipur on March 5 that “irrespective of the poll outcome, I will continue to fight for you till a new way of politics of truth begins from here.” However, in spite of her intensive campaign in the state — staging around 209 rallies including roadshows — the party could win only two assembly seats, while earlier it had seven legislators.  The voting percentage too has declined, from 6.25 per cent to 2.35 per cent.

The Congress party is in the deep crisis ever since 2014, when it lost power to the saffron party – the BJP. The organisational structure saw new guards but most of them like Jyotiraditya Scindia, Jatin Prasada, RPN Singh deserted Rahul Gandhi whereas senior party leaders are frustrated with a sense of alienation and disconnect with the masses.

Many political observers feel that there was a possibility for its revival with launching Priyanka Gandhi as its chief ministerial face in the last assembly elections but her potential was undermined by none but the Congress president Sonia Gandhi. She was made incharge of UP after it lost 2019 general elections loosing traditional stronghold Amethi mainly due to ruined organisational structure. Though Priyanka posed a brave fight all these years with aggression on people issues but her women-centric poll plank could not break the ice.

Uttarakhand  heartbreak for Cong

It was considered a ‘sure victory’ for the Congress Party in the hilly state of Uttarakhand. The party’s two stalwarts, H.N. Bahuguna and N.D. Tiwari, represented two distinct regions, Garhwal and Kumaon, in the state. However, during the period of Indira Gandhi and also later, both Bahuguna and Tiwari suffered humiliation in the party.

After the death of Bahuguna, his son, Vijay, a former high court judge, was inducted in the party. He was elevated as the state’s chief minister in 2012, but as he was, allegedly, unable to meet the growing needs of the Congress high command, he was forced to resign and thus a political vacuum hit the state. A former party functionary, Kishor Upadhyay, was brought as the President of the state party, but he too was removed unceremoniously and had to seek refuge in the BJP. Another factor, which might have sealed the fate of the party in the state polls could be the death of Indira Hridesh, who preferred to accept a low-key role in the party rather than top political job in leu of high expectations.

The unnecessary intervention of the AICC kept weakening the party. It provided a  chance to BJP to script a new history in the state that for the first time a party has come for a second consecutive term in the state. Working President of Uttarakhand Congress Shoorveer Singh Sajwan, told Tehelka that some people misled Rahul Gandhi who either declined tickets to the winnable candidates or shifted them without realizing the ground situation.  As many as 17 candidates were shifted from their well nurtured constituencies to the new areas, and that proved easy walkover for BJP.

The BJP with 47 seats in the 70-strong State Assembly, will now form the government, but its sitting chief minister lost the election.  The Congress Party is also happy that it could increase its tally from 11 seats it had won in 2017 to 19 in this election. However, two political stalwarts who lost the polls were the Congress veteran Harish Rawat and Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami.

The Manipur and Goa Polls

BJP retained Manipur by winning 32 seats in the 60-member Manipur Assembly. The Congress performance further declined in the state. It had 17 seats in erstwhile state assembly, but this time it could win only five seats. Nitish Kumar’s Janata Dal-U (JD-U) won six seats and the Naga People’s Front and the Kuki People’s Alliance won five and two seats respectively National people’s Party won seven seats.

Similarly, in Goa too, the BJP has finally won the state elections, thus paving its way to power for the third time. It has not only successfully overcome the anti-incumbency factor, but it has also emerged as the single largest party in Goa by winning 20 assembly seats in the 40-memebr state assembly. In the 2017 polls, it had won 13 seats. The Congress won 11 seats, down from 17 five years ago, and its ally Goa Forward Party (GFP) one. Three Independents also made it to the assembly. The AAP and the MGP won two seats each, while the Revolutionary Goans Party bagged one seat. The Mamata Banerjee-led TMC, which had a pre-poll alliance with the MGP and carried out a high-decibel campaign ahead of the February 14 polls, but drew a blank.

The UP polls have pushed the Bahujan Samaj Party towards political extinction with unprecedented reduction in its vote share from 22.23 percent to just 12.88 percent winning just one seat in the 403 assembly seats. The myth of silent Dalit support to the party was not visible this time as its votes drifted towards BJP. Mayawati herself conceded this reality saying that since her Muslim support drifted unilaterally to Samajwadi Party therefore her cadre went for supporting BJP as they don’t want back of “Gooda Raj” of Samajwadi Party.

Key Winners


 Yogi Adityanath (BJP)

Incumbent Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath made his debut in the Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections, contesting from the Gorakhpur Urban seat.

Adityanath has previously contested the Lok Sabha polls from Gorakhpur five times between 1994 and 2014. He did not fight the 2014 state Assembly elections, and was instead elected to the UP Legislative Council.

Adityanath won his maiden Assembly election from Gorakhpur Urban constituency by over 103390 votes. He was up against Samajwadi Party’s Subhawati Shukla, Bahujan Samaj Party’s Khwaja Shamsuddin, Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar Azad Ravan, and Congress’ Chetna Pandey.

Suresh Khanna (BJP)

The assembly election in Shahjahanpur district is revolving around Uttar Pradesh finance and parliamentary affairs minister Suresh Khanna, who recorded his ninth successive win on the BJP ticket. He is winning since 1989 facing all sorts of storms. Samajwadi Party, the Bahujan Samaj Party and the Congress, have mobilised their resources to defeat the stalwart but could not be succeeded. He defeated his rival Tanveer Khan of SP by a margin of 9313 votes. He devoted his life for the party and achieved all qualities of a parliamentary behaviour but despite legitimate strongest contender for the chief ministership destiny ditched him with sudden emergence of Yogi Adityanath for the job.

Satish Mahana (BJP)

The Minister for Industries in Yogi’s cabinet Satish Mahanawon from Maharajpurseat under the Kanpur Nagar Lok Sabha constituency. Mahana from the BJP won the seat defeating his nearest rival Fateh Bahadur Gill of Samajwadi Party by a huge margin of 82261 votes. Earlier in 2017, he defeated the Manoj Kumar Shukla of BSP by a margin of 91,826 votes.

Brajesh Pathak (BJP)

Law and Justice Minister and emerging Brahmin face of BJP has won from Lucknow Cantt seat. He defeated his rival, SP nominee Surendra Singh Gandhi alias Raju by a margin of 39512 votes. Pathak was deputy leader of BSP in Rajya Sabha and parted his ways with the party before last 2017 elections and won Lucknow central seat but looking at his popularity among the masses his constituency was changed. However, he has good rapport with top leadership and is aspirant for Deputy chief ministership.

Ashutosh Tandon (BJP)

Urban Development and Poverty Elimination Minister Ashutosh Tandon is son of Lalji Tandon who was close aide of BJP founder Atal Behari Vajpaiyee. He won Lucknow East seat defeating his most vocal SP face Anurag Singh Bhadouriya by a huge margin of 68731 votes. He represents deep support of the people due to family legacy.

Pankaj Singh (BJP)

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh’s son Pankaj Singh retained his Noida seat defeating his nearest rival Sunil Choudhary of Samajwadi Party with a historic margin of 181513 votes. He secured 244319 votes about 70.16 percent of total poll. Presently Pankaj is one of the General secretary of state BJP but this time he could be inducted in the cabinet with important portfolio.

Sunil Kumar Sharma (BJP)

Sunil Kumar Sharma secured historic 322882 votes in the election securing 67.03 percent of total polled votes. He defeated Amarpal Sharma of Samajwadi Party by huge margin 214835 votes. He may be new face in the ministry.

Shalabh Mani Tripathi (BJP)

The journo-turned-politician Shalabh Mani Tripathi who was working as Advisor to CM Yogi Adityanath. He won by a margin of 40655 defeating Ajay Pratap Singh Pintu of Samajwadi Party. He is likely to be new face in the ministry.

Mohammad Azam Khan (SP)

Mohammad Azam Khan, veteran SP leader and nine-term MLA from Rampur once again won the polls from the jail. Khan has been lodged in Sitapur jail since February 2020 last year over several cases registered against him. He is facing charges of illegal encroachment of land around Rampur’s Mohammad Ali Jauhar University, where he was the chancellor. Khan defeated his opponent Akash Saxena of BJP by a margin over 55000 votes.

Abdullah Azam (SP)

Azam Khan’s son, Abdullah Azamhas also been declared winner from the Suar seat where he defeated BJP ally Apna Dal (S) nominee Haider Ali Khan Alias Hamza Mian by a margin of 61067 votes.

Both father and son have been on the target of UP chief minister Yogi Adityanath facing many criminal prosecutions all these years but their popularity has not waned as the poll results suggest.

Om Prakash Rajbhar (SBSP)

The former BJP ally, Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party (SBSP) chief Om Prakash Rajbhar declared elected defeating his BJP rival Kalicharan by a margin of 45231 votes from the Zahoorabad seat. BSP fielded Samajwadi Party rebel Saiyyada Shadab Fatima who deserted Akhilesh after denial of ticket. Both of them failed to block the ways of Rajbhar who was the strongest voices of non-Yadav OBC opposition to the BJP and Modi-Yogi.He was earlier BJP’s ally in the 2017 elections.

Raghuraj Pratap Singh ‘Raja Bhaiya’ (JSDL)

Jansatta Dal Loktantrik’s Raghuraj Pratap Singh also known as Raja Bhaiya has won from Kunda constituency of Pratapgarh district. It is his seventh straight win. Having been representing the Kunda constituency as an independent MLA since 1993, he faced stiff challenge this time from Samajwadi Party nominee Gulshan Yadav. He won this election with a narrow margin of around 30000 votes as compared to his record victory last time.

Key Losers

Keshav Prasad Maurya (BJP)

UP’s Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya, the party’s biggest OBC face, faced humiliating defeat from Sirathu in Kaushambi district where Apna Dal (Kamerawadi) candidate Pallavi Patel previaled. Pallavi is the younger sister of Union Minister Anupriya Patel defeated him by a margin of 7337 votes. Maurya was state BJP president in 2017 assembly elections and given weightage in the party hierarchy.

Rajendra Pratap alias Moti Singh

The Rural Development Minister in Yogi’s government Rajendra Pratap Singh alias Moti Singh lost this election by a margin of 22051 votes from Patti assembly seat of Pratapgarh district. Samajwadi Party candidate Ram Singh defeated him. BSP nominee Fulchandra damaged his prospects.

Suresh Rana (BJP)

UP Cane Development Minister and BJP leader Suresh Rana has lost his Thana Bhawan seat. RLD’s Ashraf Ali, the former chairperson of the Jalalabad civic body, defeated him by a margin of 10806 votes who secured 103751 votes.

In the 2017 polls, Rana, who was also named in the 2013 Muzaffarnagar riots, beat the BSP’s Abdul Waris Khan by a margin of over 16,000 votes. However, in the 2012 polls, Rana had just managed to beat RLD’s Ashraf Ali by a margin of 265 votes.

Swami Prasad Maurya (SP)

BJP turncoat and prominent OBC face Swami Prasad Maurya, an import from the BSP who helped BJP increase its support among the Maurya-Kushwaha-Shakya communityin 2017 elections failed this time on Samajwadi Party ticket from the Fazilnagar seat in Kushinagar district. BJP nominee Surendra Kumar Kushwaha defeated him by a margin of 45580 votes.

Dharam Singh Saini

Another turncoat from BJP, Dharam Singh Saini lost from Nakur constituency of Saharanpur district where BJP nominee Mukesh Choudhari defeated him by a thin margin of just 315 votes.

Ram Govind Chaudhari

The SP Legislative Party leader and a good parliamentary orator, Ram Govind Chaudhari lost election from Bansdih constituency of Balia district where Ketakee Singh of BJP defeated him by a margin of 21352 votes.

Ajay Kumar Lallu (Congress)

State Congress president Ajay Kumar Lallu won 2012 and 2017 Assembly polls from Tamkuhi Raj constituency in the Kushinagar district and emerged as fighter for the people of the state. This time, he faced bitter defeat from BJP candidate Asim Kumar by a huge margin of 81587 votes placing him down to third position.


Chandrashekhar Azad ‘Ravan’ (Azad Samaj Party)

Lawyer and Dalit-Bahujan rights activist Chandrashekhar Azad Ravan, who is also the co-founder and national president of the Bhim Army, lost his security deposit in Gorakhpur Urban, where he challenged the BJP’s Yogi Adityanath.