NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi powered the onset of the saffron wave, as the BJP reaped electoral dividends in the crucial Hindi heartland of Uttar Pradesh. The saffron breeze swept the BJP to power in Uttar Pradesh after a gap of 15 years with a majority that stunned the BSP supremo Mayawati to cast aspersions on the electronic voting machines (EVMs). By the time sun set on Saturday, the principal players of UP – Akhilesh Yadav and Mayawati – were left shell-shocked, and the BJP jubilant at the unexpected scale of victory.
The near two-third majority in Uttarakhand turned to be the icing on the cake for the BJP on super Saturday. With the BJP emerging strong enough to take shots at the formation of government in Goa and Manipur where the people gave fractured mandate, the political rivals too rushed to acknowledge the sheer superiority of the popularity of the Prime Minister, with the former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah declaring a “walk over to the BJP in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections”, while advising the Opposition to think about the 2024 general elections.
The scale of verdict in UP also left the BJP leaders stunned. The Union ministers lined up at the party headquarter to explain the verdict. Some sought to draw a parallel with the sweeping Congress victory in 1984 after the assassination of the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. “It’s for the first time in many decades that a political party on its own has won more than 300 seats in UP. The verdict is historical. In 1984 there was a sympathy wave. But in the 2017 UP polls, there was just one factor and that was Narendra Modi who eclipsed the political outfits having enjoyed hegemony on the basis of caste and religious identities,” said a senior BJP leader.
But Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, besides lauding the Prime Minister, showered praise on the BJP chief Amit Shah for the “hard work done in the state in the recent years to create robust party infrastructure”.
If the “Brand Modi” lifted the strength of the BJP by several notches, the RSS and team Amit Shah had been working on the ground tirelessly for the past four years to build a formidable social base for the saffron outfit. The RSS leader Sunil Bansal loaned to the BJP spearheaded the social engineering around the upper caste and non-Yadav OBCs to give the winning combination to the saffron outfit. The same model was replicated in Uttarakhand by Shiv Prakash, who has also been loaned to the BJP from the RSS. The team of RSS leader turned BJP national general secretary Ram Madhav has been spearheading the saffron penetration in the North-east, which again gave dividends to the BJP in Manipur.
While the Bihar and Delhi state poll verdicts had apparently instilled doubts within the ranks of the BJP about the intensity of the Modi wave, UP and Uttarakhand results are being seen within the party as affirmation that the Prime Minister is only becoming more popular. “The BJP now has strong ownership of the pro-poor constituency, which Indira Gandhi had cultivated during early 1980s,” added a BJP leader.