LUCKNOW: When the big battle of 2019 ended on Thursday, Uttar Pradesh, the state with the largest number of Lok Sabha seats, sprang a huge surprise. It was in UP where the non-BJP parties were expected to make a stand if the Modi wave 2.0 swept away rivals in most states, but this did not happen! The Samajwadi Party, Bahujan Samaj Party and Rashtriya Lok Dal combine would have, by the sheer weight of their social arithmetic, been capable of stopping a repeat of the 2014 saffron tide in 57 out of the 80 seats. Even going by the vote share of last time, they were ahead with 60 seats. Then, what happened?
The NDA tally of 64 is only part of the story; not reflective of what transpired entirely. Yet, the BJP-led juggernaut’s show is spectacular, for it generated a repeat wave — unprecedented in UP’s electoral history — and shook the rival formations to the roots to the extent that the best known politician outside UP — Rahul Gandhi — capitulated. Had he seen it coming?
The Modi magic singularly overwhelmed the statistics, trumping caste barriers. The result: Saffron, which even at its 2014 strike rate stood to lose about 50 seats, managed to brilliantly reverse the damage, even taking its vote share to over 50 per cent from 43 per cent in 2014, winning less seats.
It will be difficult for Congress chief Rahul Gandhi to reconcile to the Amethi shocker as would it be for SP chief Akhilesh Yadav, who is another big loser in the alliance. Contesting 37 0f 80 seats, SP vote share fell to 4 per cent, a clear indication that BSP cadres did not vote for SP. It also failed to improve upon its 2014 performance, winning five seats again and losing family bastions — Kannauj (Dimple), Firozabad (Akshay Yadav) and Badaun (Dharmendra Yadav).
Similarly, RLD lost all three seats it contested. Even Chaudhury Ajit Singh failed to save his Jat pride in Muzaffarnagar. BSP chief Mayawati, however, emerged a gainer, cashing in SP votes to win 11 seats against none in 2014.