Uttar Pradesh covers 7.3% of the area and 16.16% of the population of India, the state is jam-packed with nearly 20 crore people out of which a major part of the population suffers from poverty, inequality and a bias caste system, so elections in the country’s most populous state are obvious to be a big deal. Outcome of the recently concluded assembly polls in Uttar Pradesh still sound unbelievable and have left the opposition in a state of torpid. The victory – 325 seats with a strike rate of 81% and vote share of 41.5% is not just momentous but also signifies absolute trust and faith in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s development-oriented strategies and unparalleled leadership skills.
BJP has been out of power in Uttar Pradesh for the last 14 years, but the saffron party has its justification. It was believed that politics of social justice had made it difficult for the political language of Hindutva to define politics, but the recent outcome of Uttar Pradesh elections is an ultimate example of how the party can rebound in a place after 14 years. The first pillar of this victory edifice is undoubtedly Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his leadership, apart from this, BJP President Amit Shah’s strategies have played a significant role in the election outcome. After facing its worst catastrophe in Bihar elections in 2015, the saffron party learnt a lesson and changed its focus to offering resultant solutions to local-issues and started balancing the religious & caste factor. It was phenomenal how the saffron party propaganda spoke in cultural language to make an appeal to cross-section voters in the state of Uttar Pradesh. This time the party tried playing it safe by not revealing their Chief Minister candidate.
Amit Shah’s in-depth research and peerless political strategy along with the mother organization Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh’s constant aid helped the saffron flag unfurl in Uttar Pradesh. The party brought in several young men and women and tasked them to monitor each assembly segments that went to polls and provide feedbacks to leaders running the campaigns. The party believed that a massive mass mobilization was necessary in Uttar Pradesh; this was carried out through a chain of Parivartan Yatras. The yatras crossed all 75 districts and 403 assembly constituencies, covering a distance of 8,138km, 233 small and large public meetings and 2,537 welcome meetings were held during the course of these yatras that witnessed participation of people in crores. Twenty-four rallies by Modi, over 150 by Shah and hundreds of other leaders left no corner of the state untouched. The party was so keen to reach out the masses that the PM and party chief themselves conducted two roads shows each. The party revamped its strategy for each of the seven phases of polling.
Apart from BJP’s dauntless moves, a few other unplanned moves by the opposition worked in the favour of the saffron party. When Samajwadi Party’s President Akhilesh and Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi tied an alliance in Uttar Pradesh, the two leaders were convinced that their alliance would pose an alarming challenge to BJP and put a full stop to their dream of attaining victory in the country’s most populous state. Congress believed that it could rebuild its organization by partnering with Samajwadi Party in a state where it has been out of power for 28 years. The internal feud among the Yadav clan cast its shadow over the elections. Though Akhilesh hoped to overcome all negatives by tying up with Congress, but both Akhilesh and Rahul failed to understand that both the parties are ideologically and socially incompatible.
The verdict of the Uttar Pradesh elections make it evident that the saffron party has established its pan-India dominance resolutely. It is undisputed that BJP’s foundation of election pitch was nationalism. The verdicts make it clear that there is new clan of voter’s emerging – who want a decisive government, it indicates that this is the age of tactical politics and not mere ideology. The results reveal that the opposition parties need to rethink their strategies among all while BJP celebrates its most-sizeable victory in 30 years.