By Shams Ahsan
Jeddah — “It’s a victory for positive politics.”
This is how the national spokesperson of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Syed Shahnawaz Hussain, described his party’s massive victory in India’s largest state Uttar Pradesh (UP) and its neighboring hill state of Uttrakhand on Saturday.
Speaking to Saudi Gazette on the phone from New Delhi, he said, “It’s the victory of (Prime Minister) Narendra Modi’s popularity and (BJP’s national president) Amit Shah’s strategy.”
The BJP was heading for a landslide victory in Uttar Pradesh where — at the time of reporting — it was leading in 321 of the state’s 403 seats, leaving the Samajwadi Party-Congress alliance way behind at 57 seats and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) relegated to a distant third place.
In Uttrakhand, the BJP was also leading in 57 of 70 seats.
Surprisingly in the northeastern state of Manipur, where the BJP had no presence, the party was giving a tough fight to incumbent Congress with 21 seats, according to early trends.
“The victory in UP is very meaningful,” said Shahnawaz.
Indeed UP is a politically important state. The victory in UP will give the BJP a majority in Rajya Sabha (the Upper House of Parliament). This will help the party in getting its legislation passed. The party will no longer have any problem in getting its nominee elected president of India when the election takes place in July.
The BJP’s emphatic victory in two of the five states and its grand debut performance in Manipur proves that Modi’s magic is still working.
He is the kind of leader who has dwarfed all opponents.
Now the knives must be out for the young Akhilesh Yadav, the outgoing chief minister of UP, who tried to prove that he had come of age by winning a family feud and wresting control of his party’s symbol from his ageing father.
But the big question mark hangs over the grand old party of India, Congress. It is high time it reinvents itself and gets rid of its deadwood.
The BJP victories also prove that it has found favor with all segments of society as opposed to only high caste Hindus as was thought earlier.
Shahnawaz said that “the poor and all segments of society have come with us.”
“We fought on the plank of crime-free and corruption-free UP and the voters gave us their thumping mandate,” he said.
Many political commentators had described the UP legislature election as a semi-final for the general elections due in 2019. If these elections are any indication, then the writing on the wall is clear. Modi is going to rule India for some time to come.