New Delhi: The political soil belongs to the gambler, where the attraction is not the consequence but the danger. So far, the Modi-Shah dispensation appears to be laying the bets perfectly , putting aside all safety measures and it is paying equitable dividends to the saffron party.
During the five state assembly elections, a section within the BJP was anxious over Prime Minister Narendra Modi owning up Uttar Pradesh election- a high risk hazard Modi himself took up.
After all it was UP that had brought Modi to south block in 2014 and the PM was geared up to carry his cross on his shoulder for a high-pitched battle. Following the second phase of polls on February 15, political analysts had prophesied the election would be Modi Vs Modi. The surprising outcome of UP battle, outshining Indira Gandhi’s 1980 performance, is now being treated by BJP as the referendum on Modi’s performance and demonetisation and his willingness to contest against black money despite sharp criticsm of ‘Notebandi’ by opposition parties.
There will be micro analysis on the BJP landslide victory in the Hindi heartland in the coming days, but the electoral gains sent a clear message that the party with Modi at Raisina Hills has moved beyond Vajpayee government’s performance in 2002. The saffron party with Atal Bihari Vajpayee as the PM had garnered 88 seats in the 2002 elections and the Samajwadi Party had emerged as a clear winner.
“Modi in his first rally had put his own image at stake and had launched offensive to defeat SCAM(Samajwadi, Congress, Akhilesh and Mayawati) and he fought like a warrior. He is the Dhyanchand of Hockey. There was lot of criticism on ticket distribution despite the fact that it was a strategic decision taken carefully following ground assessment ," a senior RSS leader said.
The BJP's aggressive performance was in 1991, when it had won 221 seats riding on the Ram Mandir wave with 31.45 percent vote share. The party's first chief minister for the state, Kalyan Singh, was removed after Babri Masjid fell in 1992. In 1993, the party won 177 assembly seats with a vote share of 33.03 percent. In 1996, the BJP managed to win 174 seats but since 2002, its fortune had slumped. It could won only 51 seats in 2007 and fared poorly in 2012 winning just 47 seats.
The stellar performance across the region including Bundelkhand and eastern belt which decided 102 seats also indicates its successful social engineering of combining Other Backward Castes with the Most Backward Classes (MBCs) comprising approximately 39% of vote bank against SP perceived as combination of Yadavs and Muslims. The master strategist, Amit Shah, had fielded around 130 candidates other than Yadav’s from MBCs to consolidate its vote bank. For example, Mirzapur dominated by OBCs and MBCs combined, witnessed aggressive performance by the BJP in various constituencies including Chunar, dominated by the OBC.
Three seats of Allahabad West, North and South that were captured by Congress , BSP and SP in 2012 has wrested back by the BJP. Kerakat, a reserve seat where Samajwadi Party had won in 2012, the BJP had fielded Dinesh Chaudhary in 2017 to checkmate the social engineering of SP and BSP. Similarly zafrabad that was SP stronghold could not counter BJPs onslaught.
The BSP, which had won 80 seats in 2012 could not manage to hold on to Maurya’s and Rajbhar’s and instead shifted focus on wooing Muslim voters. This only helped the BJP in cornering majority votes of under-privileged castes, making the party a formidable force. As per the trend till this afternoon, the BSP could manage 22% of total vote-share. This could be interpreted that BSP vote bank (21% in the state) remained intact but other smaller castes aligned with BSP following social engineering done by Kanshiram and later Mayawati has moved away from the party fold.
In the change that sweeped the state, the BJP will now have to deliver on massive mandate-development promises made by PM Modi, who had claimed in Meerut rally on February 4 that central government had wired thousands of Crores for UP development but SP government did not utilise the funds.