BJO Favorite, AAP Entrant
The BJP has done it! Winning four out of five States, with the biggest and most critical Uttar Pradesh victory creating history is an overwhelming reason to celebrate Holi a week before. The ‘gulal’ has turned saffron. Celebrations by the hindutava party in Uttarakhand, Goa and Manipur too have clearly dampened the festive season for the Opposition, particularly the grand old party, Congress, which has been washed out, relegated to two States. The fifth State, Punjab, has been hit by the AAP tsunami, making its chief Arvind Kejriwal eye the national canvas more with his stunning victory. Undeniably, the results are going to have a far-reaching impact. The big question is whether Prime Minister Modi will be proved right again, when he hopes “political pundits, who did not think much of the party’s 2019 (Lok Sabha) win saying it had already been decided by the 2017 UP results, will now have the courage to say that the 2022 (UP) results have decided the 2024 (Lok Sabha) results.”
Indeed, Uttar Pradesh has not only endorsed Modi’s policies but as the State’s star Yogi Adityanath put it “the people have buried the politics of caste and religion” and “blessed the politics of development and good governance…” While many would prefer to disagree, it is crystal clear it turned out to be a bipolar fight, between the BJP and SP, wherein while the latter under Akhilesh Yadav did extremely well it couldn’t turn the tide. And with Yogi literally ‘bulldozing’ the BSP and Congress, among others, Akhilesh has the sole task of putting up a strong opposition, take on the challenge of further increasing the party’s seat and vote share. Will he be able to do run the ‘bulldozer’ in 2024? For the BSP is out in the wilderness, with its worst performance of a solitary seat, after Behenji having rule the State in 2007. Her giving an explanation: BSP supporters voted for BJP as they feared ‘if SP returned to power, UP would be thrown back to jungle raj and goonda raj’ and that the Muslims supported SP, won’t have any takers. The writing is there on the wall for all to see and they need to read it correctly.
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It’s been a stunning victory for AAP in Punjab. The Kejriwal model of governance (Delhi), as the party says, is getting acceptance. As its Punjab co in-charge and spokesman Raghav Chadha says: “The victory is of the jodi of Bhagwant Mann and Arvind Kejriwal”. Indeed, a clean sweep—93 of the 117 seats. Inquilaab, as an elated Kejriwal says, adding “Punjab waalo tussi kamaal kar ditta we all love you”. A ‘positive for democracy’ too, as the political hierarchy has been demolished and the big players made to bite the dust: SAD’s patriarch Parkash Singh Badal, his son Sukhbir, Capt. Amarinder Singh, Chief Minister Channi, Bikram Singh Majithia, Navjot Singh Sidhu, among others. A big achievement alright, for those who lost were given a run for their money not from political bigwigs but literally the aam admi candidates such as a man who runs a common mobile phone repair shop or a woman who provides recycled sanitary pads. Like in the country’s capital Delhi in 2015, the AAP has made a big splash in Punjab. The going has been tough since 2017, but a determined one. Again here the Congress is the biggest loser, as the infighting really did get the better of it. More importantly, Kejriwal now eyes the national stage and dreams of being a principal challenger like say West Bengal’s Mamata Banerjee. He has asked people to join AAP and carry forward the revolution. Will the party enlarge its footprint? The next election is due in Gujarat, where Modi held a victory roadshow on Friday last. The State is a formidable challenge, will Kejriwal plan to take it on?
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U’khand Shuns Anti-Incumbency
The Uttarakhand voter hasn’t been enthused by AAP or the Congress. Surprisingly, it brought back incumbent BJP to power, though Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami lost his seat. Prior to the elections, there was talk of a hung Assembly, but it has been straight batting. The fact that power would shift between the BJP and Congress every five years hasn’t happened and again the grand old party suffered a humiliating defeat with its senior leader and former Chief Minister Harish Rawat having to bite dust. The going was tough for BJP and for Dhami as he took over reigns only six months back and was the 4th CM in the musical chairs played out in the past five years. Party workers agree with political observers that the credit for this victory goes to Modi and the Modi magic paid off thanks to his rallies. Rather, getting the majority this time took the party itself by surprise. The task ahead for the BJP is now to find a replacement for Dhami and deliver on the promises made. It cannot afford to revel in decimating the Congress and at the same time try to ensure there are no power games played within.
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Not Hung In Goa
Goa has said a big no to Trinamool Congress and Congress and decided to be run by the BJP. Of the 40 seats the saffron party bagged 20 and has MGP (2 seats) and three independents lending support. The BJP is set to be in power again, for the third consecutive term and the Congress with 11 seats sitting in Opposition. Interestingly AAP opened its account here and won two seats. Chief Minister Pramod Sawant narrowly won but former Chief Minister Manohar Parikkar son Utpal, who fought as an independent lost the Panaji seat. Manohar’s loss was worrisome for the party, but all ended well. What made up for the loss was that the BJP was steadily successful in getting disgruntled Congress leaders into its fold, as it did in 2019, when it got 10 of the 17 MLAs. What also helped was the spilt in the votes with AAP and TMC joining the battle and along with the Congress, none wanting to go for an alliance or at least some seat adjustment. Be that as it may, with a clear majority, the BJP does not have to worry about keeping its flock together. Politic optics are no longer hazy, but the BJP must not be complacent and deliver it must. Goans too deserve better in their tiny State.
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Manipur Strengthens BJP
Manipur not only too said a big no to anti-incumbency but has rather solidified BJP’s hold into the North East. Chief Minister Biren Singh led the party to victory bagging 32 seats of the 60, routing the Congress, which had in 2017 won 28 then. The National People’s Party bagged 7 seven seats, NPF 5 seats, JD(U) 6 seats and Congress reduced to just 5 seats. Biren Singh should be given credit as he did not allow tempers within the party to surface. At the same time, it could be said that his policies did work with the people and that the party gained “majorly” in pockets which were considered Congress strongholds. The State is going the Assam way and the BJP is hopeful that the saffron shall elsewhere too in the region. Importantly, the JD(U) making inroads should be a warning that a disillusionment can set in for it is the candidate that matters here for the voter. North East turning saffron can never be certain. —-INFA