Prime Minister Narendra Modi powered the BJP to victories even scheduled-caste reserved constituencies in Uttar Pradesh, denting what was seen as a captive vote bank of the Bahujan Samaj Party.
Out of 85 reserved seats in UP, the BJP won 69. Three seats each went to Modi’s ally, the Apna Dal of Union minister Anupriya Patel and Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party of Om Prakash Rajbhar. Put together, Modi’s NDA won 75 out of 85 seats. That is a strike rate of more than 88%.
This came as a surprise especially because the Dalits – comprising 21% of the state’s population – were seen as hostile to the BJP and favouring the BSP, which ended up with just two seats. The Samajwadi Party-Congress alliance secured seven and a lone independent won.
BJP leaders argue that the Saturday result defies the conventional logic that SC do not vote for the BJP and, instead, try to defeat the BJP. “The scale of the victory in SC reserved seats needed years of effort, which we had to put in. Amit Shah had a clear strategy in mind and it worked,” a BJP leader said.
They credited the Modi wave with having turned around the BJP’s fortunes from 2012, when the saffron party won just three reserved seats. The Samajwadi Party – which had won the election then – had triumphed in 58 of these seats then.
The task to win UP was left at the hands of Sunil Bansal, a RSS man and confidant of Amit Shah. Next, he got party committees formed in 1.28 lakh booths out of total 1.47 lakh polling stations across the state. This created an army of 13 lakh workers on booths.
Basanl pressed the refresh button on BJP. Nearly 40% party posts went to the OBCs and 20% to leaders from Scheduled Caste communities. This also had a reflection in distribution of election tickets, which was majorly done by him in consultation with Amit Shah.