Modi – Yogi duo keep the saffron landscape increasing
The sway of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) over the people in many states has been reinforced once again with the results of by-elections held across the country, along with the Assembly elections in Bihar. The verdict has gone overwhelmingly in the favour of the National Democratic Alliance or NDA, of which the BJP is the major constituent.
Many observers consider it as the mood of the nation before elections are held in many major states in 2021, and then in Uttar Pradesh in 2022.
With a clear win of the BJP in 41 of the 59 by-elections in 11 States at the Congress expense, the Modi juggernaut has continued to move ahead. In Bihar, the BJP led NDA retained a tight grip.It was a match of nerves in Bihar until the very end. The state was witness to a nail-biting finish and the results of all 243 assembly seats were announced very later in night. The state has once again reposed faith in the rule of Nitish Kumar who is a big part of the National Democratic Alliance. The NDA led by the BJP has got 125 seats in the Bihar Assembly Election 2020.
Challenger in Bihar
Bihar saw the emergence of a young challenger in Tejwasi Yadav, the son of former chief minister and RJD leader Lalu Prasad. The RJD and others alleged poll rigging but the Election Commission gave a clarification, saying that the process was okay and available on the Election Commission website.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted on the result, saying –“Democracy has once again won in Bihar with the blessings of the people. The determination and dedication with which all the NDA workers worked with the BJP is awe-inspiring. I congratulate the workers and express my heartfelt gratitude to the people of Bihar.”
In the UP byelection, the campaigning saw Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath holding rallies in all constituencies. The Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya also addressed rallies in five seats, and so did the other Deputy Chief Minister Dinesh Sharma. The ruling BJP is confident that the result is an indicator of what the mandate of 2022 will be like.
Unlike 2018, when the BJP was defeated by the SP in the bypolls, this time the saffron party emerged victorious in six of the seven seats, while the Samajwadi Party retained one, the Malhani assembly seat with its nominee Lucky Yadav defeating Independent candidate Dhananjaya Singh by a margin of 4,632 votes. With new wins, BJP will now have a total of 310 MLAS and SP will now have 49 MLAs.
Poll watchers have also talked of how online campaigns too have added to the BJP’s broader winning streak. Yogi addressed a rally in each of the seven by-poll seats along with state BJP chief Swatantra Dev Singh.
UP is energized with these results given that these elections would now be followed up by a series of locally important elections. Not just a mini-contest for the upper house of the state legislature with term of 11 MLCs ending soon, the panchayat polls in February, few lesser significant elections too are ahead.
Elections to 35 MLC seats (local body) too would be held before March 2022, just ahead of the big battle for the UP Assembly. There is broad consensus that Yogi would be the face for BJP even in 2022. Hours after the election results became clear about the BJP Uttar Pradesh bypoll, Yogi said “Modi Hai Toh Mumkin Hai.” He added that the way PM Modi has led India internationally and worked for the welfare of women and farmers, has been awarded the seal of approval by the people.
Opposition faces like Congress general secretary and UP in-charge Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav and BSP supremo Mayawati stayed away from the campaigning.
Sway in other states
Apart from the UP and Bihar win, the saffron colour expanded further with a BJP sweep in two assembly seats in Karnataka defeating Congress and JD(S), making gains and winning in Gujarat with eight out of eight seats in its kitty. In Telangana it was a clear win by the BJP snatching the Dubbak seats from TRS. In Madhya Pradesh a known BJP bastion, MP too saw 16 plus seats going to them. In Madhya Pradesh, the BJP won on 15 of 22 seats where Scindia loyalists had contested.
Northeast which is usually away from the limelight generally this time saw Manipur witnessing a saffron hue making inroads in Wangoi, Singhat and WangjingTentha and Saitu bypolls. In Nagaland, BJP ally NDPP retained one seat.
The Indian National Congress has won the Baroda seat where Indu Raj Narwal defeated BJP nominee and Olympian wrestler Yogeshwar Dutt. In Madhya Pradesh, the Congress secured victory on seven seats with lead on two seats. In Jharkhand, the grand old party won from Bermo seat and in Chhattisgarh, its candidate Kumar Jaimangal won from Marwahi seat.
In a blow to Congress in Gujarat, the BJP won all eight seats where assembly bye-elections were held in the state. In Odisha’s Balasore and Tirtol, it was BJD all the way. As BJP tightens its grip over the national scenario, one will now wait and watch which way the political wind blows at the national level.