While the entire BJP rank and file is in an upbeat mood over their unexpectedly good performance in UP civic polls, party president Rajnath Singh must be the happiest man of them all.
For the poll verdict will serve to strengthen and consolidate his position in the party where time and again doubts have been raised about his leadership ever since he replaced stalwart LK Advani in the top seat.
For Singh, the glad tidings are specially significant as they come at a time when the party's presidential poll is due towards the month-end and he is expected to be re-elected for a full three-year term.
The results of the local body elections are also expected to impart a big boost to the party cadres' sagging morale in his home state ahead of the crucial Assembly polls early next year where his prestige is at stake.
The saffron party's flagging electoral fortunes in UP have shown an upward trend for the first time after the 1998 Lok Sabha polls.
Following soon after BJP's victories in the Bada Malhera and Vidisha by-elections in MP, the UP results must be specially heartening for Singh at a time when there have been news reports that the party's internal surveys have indicated it may fare poorly in the Assembly polls.
"These elections have cleared all confusion on the direction of UP politics. The results are a clear indication that the BJP is the only alternative in the eyes of the public against misrule, corruption, goondaism and communalism," the elated BJP chief declared.
While thanking the people, he demanded that the Assembly elections must be held under President's rule in the state if they were to be conducted in a free and fair manner.
Singh alleged that the ruling Samajwadi Party had resorted to widespread misuse of the police and official machinery during the civic polls.
In elections to the nagar nigams (municipal corporations) of 12 big cities of the state, the BJP has improved upon its previous tally of six to score victories in eight corporations. While retaining Ghaziabad, Agra, Varanasi, Aligarh and Lucknow, it has also won in Gorakhpur, Meeerut and Kanpur this time.
Besides, the party has also fared quite well in the municipal and town board elections in many smaller cities and towns.
While a strong anti-incumbency factor against the Mulayam Singh government was obviously at work in the civic elections, there were several other reasons for the BJP's turnaround success. Prominent among them was the role played by the RSS which pitted its strength behind the party as Singh was its nominee for the BJP president's position.
According to sources, as many as six senior Sangh pracharaks had been deputed in UP for the past six months to oversee the party's organisational work for the elections. BJP's general secretary (organisation) Sanjay Joshi, himself an RSS pracharak, too had been regularly touring the state where the Sangh's grassroot workers had fanned out to assist the BJP cadres in the poll campaign.
Besides, several prominent central leaders, including former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Singh himself, too campaigned in the state and worked hard to boost the cadres' morale.
Another important factor was that this time, a policy was followed to distribute tickets to the ground level party workers on the basis of merit rather than selecting candidates on recommendations of the big leaders, sources said.