The ‘Modi wave’ stormed Uttar Pradesh, pulverizing Akhilesh-led Samajwadi Party and Mayawati-headed BSP to mere debris. This spectacular performance by the saffron party left far behind its own record, created during the ‘Mandir wave’ in which the party had won more than 230 seats. Reports coming from the ground show that wherever the Prime Minister held the party’s rallies, it did very well, indicating clearly that his charisma loomed large over the overwhelming percentage of the population in the state. The reports clearly indicate that public has reposed faith in the leadership of Narendra Modi as the election was contested by the BJP on the basis of over two-and-half-year performance of the Modi-led government at the centre. Also, since the party had fielded no chief ministerial candidate in the election, votes were actually sought in the name of Narendra Modi, who had conducted 23 rallies across the state, besides holding three roadshows in Varanasi.
If leadership of Modi was one factor behind the BJP’s win in Uttar Pradesh, there were several other reasons why the saffron party was catapulted to power in Lucknow. Forming an umbrella of caste group comprising upper castes, Vaishyas, non-Yadavs and non-Jatavs worked well for the party in the election. It was feared that demonetisation would go against the party. But to the chagrin of opponents, their campaign and public exhortation against Modi didn’t work and this is what victory of the BJP suggests. Rather, what the common people saw in demonetisation was an act against black money holders. The BJP had pitched high for development, apart from the promise of making Uttar Pradesh goonda-free and corruption-free state.
This won over youth, women, educated persons towards the party. Announcement of farmers getting their dues from sugar mills within 14-days of forming a BJP-led government in Uttar Pradesh also worked well for the party. Of them all, the BJP’s decision to give tickets to winnable candidates proved a well thought-out strategy. Learning lessons from its mistakes in Bihar, the saffron party offered tickets to candidates after assessing their chances. It denied tickets to some of its own sitting MLAs and in their places those who could ensure victory for the party were made to fight elections. However, this caused a huge resentment among party workers and those denied tickets became rebels. Still, the party took the risk and electoral dividends that accrued to it, have now proved that the risk was well worth taking. Besides, the central government’s ‘Ujala Yojna’, ‘Sukanya Samriddhi Yojana’ and ‘Digital India’ campaigns also got the people together.
Election is a game of calculations, booth management and sharp understanding of situations on the ground. Elements of surprise were brought in the campaigns by leaders like Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah to outsmart their rivals. Anti-Modi brigades were not able to comprehend why the Prime Minister undertook three roadshows in densely populated Varanasi. They took Modi-led roadshows as an act of desperation. But now as the results are out, the picture that has emerged is enough to say why Modi sweated in the lanes of Varanasi.