Assembly polls 2022: BJP hits a four, AAP bags Punjab

The BJP scored impressive victories in Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Goa and Manipur on Friday while the Aam Aadmi Party registered a record debut victory in Punjab. The Congress, which was in contest in most states, gave a poor account of itself, raising further questions over its leadership.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in his victory speech at BJP national party office, said the results had provided the template for 2024 general elections just like the 2017 UP win did for the 2019 general elections.

“When we won in 2019, many intellectuals said this was clear in 2017 itself when BJP won in UP. I hope they will now say that these elections have made the path clear for 2024,” said Modi in a victory speech at the BJP party office here.

BJP’s return to power in these states, the PM said, was an approval of his governance track record. He said the common thread in the victory has been the trust among the people in its “niti, niyat and nirnay”.

Welfare Schemes Clicked

“There is a strong stamp of approval in this verdict for the pro-poor, pro-active governance…. Good governance and delivery are very important. We improved governance delivery and also brought transparency,” Modi said.

He thanked women for supporting BJP in these elections and claimed that in seats where women have outnumbered men in casting their votes, the party has won with a “bumper majority”. He further said a day will come when the people ensure the sun sets on dynasty politics.

The welfare schemes, including the distribution of free foodgrains to the poor during the crippling Covid pandemic, has created a new vote bank of beneficiaries which have rallied solidly behind Modi and the BJP. Women voters as well as those from the hinterland have backed Modi due to the affordable housing, gas cylinders, toilets, medical benefits, and other benefits.

The disarray in the Opposition with regional parties carrying the burden of their past mal-governance also boosted the prospects of the Modi-Yogi Adityanath duo in Uttar Pradesh. Law and order was a major issue during the elections with the BJP playing up the apprehensions among the people that if voted to power, Samajwadi Party will usher in misrule.

Modi, home minister Amit Shah and Yogi underlined that the opposition stands for minority appeasement, casteism (especially favouring Yadavs), and dynasty politics. While SP has gained in vote share and put in its best performance ever, it has lost out in a direct contest with BJP. Those disenchanted with BJP preferred Akhilesh Yadav over BSP or Congress.

The voters were impressed with the “double engine” of Modi-Yogi at the Centre and in the state to deliver better than SP which has a chequered record in governance.

The suffering during the pandemic, high unemployment, inflation, stray cattle eating away the standing crop were serious issues but the opposition did not have a constructive agenda of dealing with them. These will continue to be challenges for the BJP government in the next term.

BJP had won 73/80 Lok Sabha seats in UP in 2014 and 62 seats in 2019.

Congress Faltered

In Uttarakhand, the credit of retaining the state would go to Modi though the infighting in Congress has been a big contributor as well. Despite changing two chief ministers (Pushkar Singh Dhami, the third CM, was appointed close to the polls), BJP was seen as a better alternative by the people of the hill state. Modi charisma, combined with the ambitious project for development of the Char Dham circuit to the highways and investment in other infrastructure, overrode these hiccups. Dhami himself may just scrape through, which shows most of the credit for BJP performance in the state goes to Modi.

Congress made mistakes which made the ride to victory easier for BJP. It faltered in giving the reins to Harish Rawat and quelling the rebellion in its ranks and made several compromises in ticket distribution.

BJP has retained Goa, a state where it had formed the government in 2017 despite Congress being the single-largest party. The passing away of Manohar Parrikar was a jolt to the party but it has managed to win seats across the state, including in South Goa where Christians votes decide the winner. The party has also managed to win in Manipur.

Congress continues to face defeats at the hands of Modi-led BJP in direct fights, be it in Uttarakhand, Goa or Manipur.

The saffron march to a third consecutive term at the Centre may have become easier with Modi at the helm.

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