Despite the drubbing of the saffron party in the just-concluded bypolls, more than 50% respondents in a HT poll on Tuesday said that the country was still under the spell of the ‘Modi wave’.
About 56% of the 3,300 readers who answered the question — do the bypoll results show that the Modi magic is over? — feel that the Prime Minister still has a strong grip over the country. Limping behind, but not too far away, about 38% felt that the Modi story was well on its way to the end.
After a massive victory in the Lok Sabha elections in Uttar Pradesh, the BJP seemed to have lost its foothold in what can arguably be the most important electoral state. The Samajwadi Party (SP) won eight of the 11 assembly seats, which were all previously held by the Bharatiya Janata Party in the assembly elections of 2012.
This was BJP's third straight drubbing in the by-elections after Uttarakhand and Bihar. So, the question of Modi’s prowess diminishing is but natural. Even the traditional saffron citadels in Gujarat were lost to the Congress, which one three out of nine assembly seats.
"People did not like the attitude of the BJP and the Modi government,” Congress general secretary Shakeel Ahmed said, reacting after the bypoll results. “While the Prime Minister himself kept silent, BJP leaders and ministers in the Modi government played the politics of polarisation through their statements," he added.
After visiting Gujarat for the first time since he took oath as PM, Modi said, "BJP's speciality is its organisational strength and hardwork and sincerity of workers. Could anyone imagine that a party with two MPs in 1984, a party whose top leaders had lost, which the ruling party mocked, would come to power with a full majority?"
Whether or not Modi will be able to retain his ‘magic’, only time will tell.