Narendra Modi may like to send a thank you note to BSP’s Mayawati after going through the victory margins of BJP candidates in the Kutch-Saurashtra region.
In at least 11 seats, the BSP negated the damage caused by BJP rebels to Modi’s candidates by polling more votes than the difference between the candidates of the two major players.
Mayawati, in fact, had campaigned for the BJP in 2002. Sharing the stage with Atal Behari Vajpayee in Surat, she showed the first glimpses of her social engineering that fetched rich dividends in UP earlier this year.
From the direct support for the BJP in 2002, the BSP this time indirectly helped Narendra Modi take his tally to an impressive 117.
But the BSP that had put up candidates in 166 seats could not cut much ice outside Kutch-Saurashtra.
Its performance in Saurashtra should be a cause of concern for Congress, not only in Gujarat, but in Madhya Pradesh also, where the BSP is better organised.
However, the Congress believes that the 2.62 per cent vote the BSP got in Gujarat was essentially its vote, which went to the rebels and the Mayawati factor had nothing to do with it.
In four other seats, though the BJP candidates have won by a higher margin, but the BSP nominees have polled a sizeable number of votes.
The rebels, who were banking heavily on the Leuva-Patel community to damage Modi, failed to bring the Kolis with them, who showed their preference for the BSP.
“The Congress was taken by surprise at the way the Koli community, which was angry with Narendra Modi government, went towards the BSP. It was a joint failure of BJP rebels and the Congress”, political analyst Achyut Yagnik said.
Party sources said of the 11 seats where it suffered, seven were general seats, three tribal and one was reserved for Scheduled Castes.
Still reeling from the shock of the results, the Congress reportedly listed the BSP factor as one the party failed to assess when Sonia Gandhi held a preliminary stock-taking meeting on Monday.
Among the other possible reasons were the party’s misplaced hope that the Patels would vote against Modi, the absence of a state leader who could match Modi’s demagogy and ability to communicate with the people and the weakness of the state organisation that had been virtually without a head, first because of BK Gadhvi’s illness, then his death.
On the table were reports by PCC chief Bharatsinh Solanki and CLP leader of the dissolved House Arjun Modhvadia and presentations by divisional heads sent from the AICC, including Digvijay Singh, Mukul Wasnik, Prithviraj Chavan and general secretary in charge of the state BK Hariprasad.