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Lok Sabha elections 2019: Narendra Modi’s persona makes UP vote beyond caste lines

Prime Minister Narendra Modi won his seat by a higher margin of over 4.75 lakh votes while his home minister comfortably won from Lucknow.

lok sabha elections Updated: May 24, 2019 10:07 IST
Sunita Aron
Sunita Aron
Lucknow
Lok Sabha elections 2019,PM Modi,UP
BJP leaders celebrating after party victory in Lok Sabha elections.(HT)

The Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party Alliance failed in its ambitious mission to stop the BJP’s juggernaut which, riding the Modi wave, thundered through the state grabbing 62 seats, 9 less than its 2014 tally of 71 out of 80 Lok Sabha seats.

Its pre-poll ally Apna Dal retained its tally of two seats.

BJP’s major victory was in Amethi, the stronghold of the Gandhis since 1980s, where it finally succeeded in hoisting the saffron flag. Congress president Rahul Gandhi conceded his defeat to union minister Smriti Irani much before the election result was announced.

Congress, which had decided to build the party base for the 2022 assembly polls, had decided to go independent in the general elections. Its tally was reduced from two in 2014 to one in 2019 with former Congress president Sonia Gandhi retaining Rae Bareli.

Incidentally, despite intensive campaigning by Priyanka Gandhi, the party’s vote share dropped from 7.50 per cent to about 6.22 per cent.

However, though Congress was a claimant for the central throne, its performance was not expected to improve in the state where it has been in a moribund state since the late 1980s.

Meanwhile, BJP’s vote share increased to 49.50 per cent from 42.30 per cent in 2014.

Celebrations started in Varanasi, Lucknow and Gorakhpur much before the results were announced. Prime Minister Narendra Modi won his seat by a higher margin of over 4.75 lakh votes while his home minister comfortably won from Lucknow.

Chief minister Yogi Adityanath was ecstatic as he avenged the humiliating defeat of BJP in his stronghold of Gorakhpur in 2018 by-poll by winning all the nine seats in the Gorakhpur division. The Alliance was expected to perform better in the eastern region.

BJP leaders, in one tone, credited Modi for the party’s resounding victory. Adityanath described it as a defeat of castiest forces and dynastic politics besides acceptance of Modi’s leadership.

In fact, the saffron surge demolished the caste calculus of the Alliance by making deep inroads in every vote bank barring the Muslims, who opened their account by winning six seats. Not a single Muslim had gone to the Lok Sabha from Uttar Pradesh in 2014.

The six Muslim winners are: Azam Khan (Rampur-SP), Danish Ali (Amroha-BSP), Afzal Ansari (Ghazipur-BSP), Shafiqur-Rehman Barq (Sambhal-SP), Fazlur Rehman (Saharanpur-BSP) and ST Hasan (Moradabad-SP)

BJP had judiciously dropped the divisive issue of Ram temple and embraced the unifying slogan of nationalism.

As people moved from caste to patriotism the Alliance, which had come together primarily to stop the victory march of the BJP to the Centre, had to console itself with its partial recovery from the 2014 complete decimation. The BSP and RLD had ended up with zero, while SP had won five seats then.

This time the Alliance managed to win 15 seats -- 10 to BSP and five to SP – and that, too, after anxious moments. RLD could not open its account again as both RLD president Ajit Singh (Muzaffarnagar) and his son Jayant Choudhury (Baghpat) lost in their Jat dominated constituencies. They have inherited the legacy of the biggest Jat leader of the country Choudhury Charan Singh.

The BSP won 10 seats spread over East and West UP. The party, however, failed to capture a single seat in central UP and Bundelkhand.

The biggest loser, however, was the Samajwadi Party which once again ended with the 2014 tally of five. After suffering severe pangs, SP patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav (Mainpuri), SP president Akhilesh Yadav (Azamgarh), Mohd Azam Khan (Rampur), Dr ST Hasan (Moradabad) and Shafiqur Rehman Barq (Sambhal) won their seats. However, the defeat of Dimple Yadav from Kannauj, Dharmendra Yadav (Badaun) and Akshay Yadav (Ferozabad) came as a rude shock for the party.

Still worse, the party’s vote share also came down from 22.20 per cent in 2014 to about 18 per cent in 2019, indicating two developments -- fissures in Yadav vote bank and BSP failing to transfer its vote to the SP.

The political narrative in the state had changed after formation of SP-BSP-RLD alliance early this year with BJP leaders admitting a fierce contest with a mighty Gatbandhan that represented the combined strength of Jatavs, Muslims, Yadavs and Jats. Eventually, the pure arithmetic around which the Alliance was built collapsed as Modi‘s persona demolished caste blocs and the state voted beyond caste lines.

UP voted for the unifying slogan of nationalism, which was raised by the Prime Minister vehemently.

Issues of national security, decisive leadership and stable government subsided issues of law and order, stray cattle and poor governance that had dominated the political narrative before the beginning of campaigning.

First Published: May 24, 2019 05:52 IST

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