Once again Modi’s massive win makes its place in India’s political history

New Delhi: As the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) leads in 341 seats and the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) struggles in 95, the saffron party is all set to retain its 2014 bloom for the next five year.

The trends take us back to 2014 when the BJP crossed the 272 mark comfortably on its own, without allies, winning 282 seats, a gain of 166. As results for all 543 Lok Sabha seats were announced, the NDA looked set to win 336 seats. This was the biggest victory since the 1984 election, which was won by Rajiv Gandhi with 414 Lok Sabha seats. The 2014 win was also a historic victory for the BJP as it was also the first time ever in the 67-year history of independent India that a non-Congress party had won a simple majority on its own.

Exactly five years ago, the Narendra Modi phenomenon had stunned many poll pundits by propelling the BJP to power at the Centre with the biggest single-party mandate in 30 years. The Congress, leading the UPA government for 10 years, was routed and reduced to its lowest ever tally of 44 in the Lok Sabha.

The BJP had won 282 seats in the Lok Sabha with a strike of almost 66 per cent. The party had fielded its candidates in 428 Lok Sabha constituencies.

The wish of the people willed at lakhs of election booths spread across the country was to see a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led government of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) headed again by Narendra Modi for the next five years.

As counting began at 8am on May 23 across 542 Lok Sabha constituencies and result trends started to trickle in, there wasn’t a moment when the BJP+ (another term used for the NDA) was trailing in the overall results tally. Around 3pm, BJP’s own tally was hovering around the 300 mark. By 4:34pm, BJP had won five seats and was leading in 295. When the final numbers were announced, 303 BJP candidates had won the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. This was better than the party’s performance five years ago when it won 282 seats in the 2014 Lok Sabha election.

The story was similar for the NDA which has won 353 Lok Sabha seats this year, 17 more than it won in 2014.

If results of 2014 Lok Sabha elections confirmed a ‘Modi wave’, 2019 results confirmed India witnessed a ‘Modi tsunami’. Some christen it ‘Tsunamo’-an acronym formed using the word tsunami and the name of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

On May 23, 2019, as it became clear that Narendra Modi has won a historic mandate, celebrations kick-started at the BJP’s national headquarters in New Delhi. But another significant and largely unprecedented history was scripted nearly 650 km east of the national capital.

In Amethi, Uttar Pradesh. Congress president Rahul Gandhi suffered a humiliating defeat at the hands of BJP’s Smriti Irani. He lost by a margin of 55,120 votes.

This was the same Amethi from where Rahul Gandhi contested his first Lok Sabha election in 2004 and won again in 2009 and 2014; the same Amethi that had always been a Congress, and more specifically a Nehru-Gandhi family, bastion; the same Amethi where five years ago Rahul Gandhi defeated Smriti Irani by 1,07,903 votes; the same Amethi which elected Rajiv Gandhi four times and Sonia Gandhi once to the Lok Sabha.

In 1971, the Gandhi family had suffered a similar blow when Raj Narain defeated Indira Gandhi in Rae Bareli.

Results of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections are disastrous for the Congress whose leadership has failed again to win people’s confidence–that it can govern the country better than the BJP.

The election results show that Congress-led Opposition’s attacks on the BJP in general, and Prime Minister Narendra Modi in particular, about mis-governance, intolerance, corruption all failed to resonate with the people. The ‘grand old party’ of Indian politics once again failed to provide an alternative to the Modi-Shah led Bharatiya Janata Party.

By winning 52 seats in the 2019, the Congress has registered its second-worst performance in Lok Sabha elections. The worst was in 2014 when it won 44 seats. Just like 2014, even this time the Congress has failed to qualify for having a Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha.

As for the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) which is headed by the Congress, it could manage to win 90 seats in these elections.

The only UPA member who emerged victorious in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections is the Tamil Nadu-based Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) which has won 23 Lok Sabha seats. It presently is the third largest party in the Lok Sabha. In 2014, its tally was zero.

Also, the 2019 Lok Sabha elections witnessed, BJP making inroads in states like West Bengal and Odisha where it had negligible presence five years ago. The BJP also improved its vote share in Southern states like Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Karnataka.

Elections were held to 542 Lok Sabha seats, of which the BJP-led NDA has won 353. This is way past the halfway mark of 272 required to form a government.

The UPA currently has 91 members in the Lok Sabha, while 98 seats were won by Others. The parties under ‘Others’ are neither part of the BJP-led NDA nor of the Congress-led UPA.

Among Others, the YSR Congress and the Trinamool Congress are the big players with each winning 22 seats.Others also include parties like the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) which has 12 MPs, Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party (with 10 MPs), Telangana Rashtra Samithi (with 9 MPs), and some smaller parties with single-digit representation in the Lok Sabha.

Lok Sabha elections 2019 proved to be another good run for allies of the BJP. Except AIADMK in Tamil Nadu and the Shiromani Akali Dal in Punjab, all major partners of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) were able to retain or improve their tallies in the Lok Sabha.

The BJP was the main benefactor in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. It was able to increase its Lok Sabha strength from 282 in 2014 to 303 in 2019.

With 52 MPs, the Congress has emerged as the second-largest party in the Lok Sabha elections. This is slightly better than its performance in 2014 when it won just 44 seats.

Amit Shah: TheMan, behind the historic win of BJP

With India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) headed for a stunning election victory on Thursday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s powerful right-hand man, Amit Shah, could reap his reward as a potential home minister, an analyst and a party official said. Shah, who has long been Modi’s backroom strategist, helped run one of India’s most divisive election campaigns over the past six weeks to rouse the Bharatiya Janata Party’s nationalist base and overcome the loss of key state elections in December.

There is no doubt that Modi is India’s most popular leader and national figure. Translating his personal popularity into a political victoryrequires planning and execution to the last detail. Shah has done that to near perfection.

Modi ran the government for five years with unquestioned authority while Shah, who also hails from the prime minister’s western home state of Gujarat, presided over the BJP with an iron hand, as its chief.
A relentless politician, Shah has himself run 29 elections from municipal bodies to parliament and lost none. He travelled 150,000 km (93,200 miles) to address 161 public rallies during the elections.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi might be the man of the moment for winning the historic second term but it is Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) President Amit Shah who is being hailed, even by the rivals, as the man behind the moment.

“Time for Congress to get an Amit Shah,” tweeted People’s Democratic Party (PDP) leader Mehbooba Mufti, former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister and BJP’s friend turned foe.

Omar Abdullah, another former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister and a bitter critic of the BJP, congratulated Modi and Shah for putting together a winning alliance and running a “very professional campaign”.

Shah’s election management has become part of India’s political folklore — an image that has been resurrected after the BJP’s loss in three north Indian states of Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chattisgarh less than six months ago.

The BJP now has swept the Lok Sabha polls in all these three states staging an emphatic comeback restoring Amit Shah’s winning streak and reconfirming the title of master strategist.

If 2014 mandate for Modi was eye-opening, the verdict in 2019 is jaw dropping.

Amit Shah was more than a backroom strategist in this election as he contested the Lok Sabha seat from Gandhinagar and his public appeal was next only to the Prime Minister.

Speculations are already rife in New Delhi’s political circles that he will play a bigger role in Modi 2.0 instead of only handling the party affairs. If he gets a cabinet berth, it will be one of the four top portfolios of Foreign, Home, Finance and Defence.

With Foreign, Home and Finance being held by BJP’s senior leaders Sushma Swaraj, Rajnath Singh and Arun Jaitley — all three have handled their tasks well — the fourth slot of Defence Ministry, currently held by Nirmala Sitharaman, make Amit Shah a serious contender.

At Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s first appearance in a press conference at the end of campaigning for the Lok Sabha polls, Amit Shah took all the questions, a clear indication of command and control set up in the BJP.

Even the Prime Minister chose to let Amit Shah hold the stage in his presence.

The BJP had planned for the 2019 much ahead of its rivals. Shah ordered a scientific evaluation of 120 seats the party had lost in 2014. Special focus was made on seven states (Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Assam, Odisha, Tamil Nadu, Telangana and West Bengal) where the party was weak along with the Northeastern states.

The results in West Bengal, Odisha and the Northeast show that the BJP’s strategy worked perfectly as the party made impressive gains in these new territories.

Under his leadership, the BJP registered emphatic victories in Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Manipur, Maharashtra, Haryana, Jharkhand and Tripura. The party also lost in Bihar, Delhi and Punjab apart from Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan.

A glimpse of Amit Shah’s tenure as the party president is given on his home page where a detailed report card is given about his programmes, plans, travels and strategy signaling the emphasis on details.

The strict dos and don’ts for the party functionaries include restrictions on the use of private jets other than election campaigns and stays in expensive five-star hotels with the preference for state guest houses only.

HOW DIFFERENT REGIONS VOTED IN 2019 UNDER THE MODI WAVE 2.0

NORTH INDIA:

The five states and two Union territories in the North-Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh and Delhi-collectively send 46 MPs to the Lok Sabha. (We have excluded Uttar Pradesh which will be separately analyzed since it alone sends 80 MPs to the Lok Sabha.)

Of these 46 seats, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) won 32. The party was able to make a clean sweep in Uttarakhand (5 seats), Himachal Pradesh (4 seats), Delhi (7 seats) and Haryana (10 seats). Besides this, the BJP won two seats in Punjab, the lone seat in Chandigarh and three seats in Jammu and Kashmir. In Punjab, BJP’s ally Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) won two seats.

In the 2019 Lok Sabha election, Punjab was the lone Congress-ruled state where the party was able to protect its ranks. Of the 13 seats in the Punjab, the Congress was able to win eight.

Overall, of the 46 seats in North India, the BJP-led NDA won 34 while the Congress-led UPA won 11 seats. One seat was won by the AamAadmi Party.

Besides this, the BJP was able to increase its vote share in all five states and two Union territories in the North in comparison to its vote share in the 2014 Lok Sabha election. It had a vote share of more than 50 per cent in Uttarakhand (61.01 per cent), Himachal Pradesh (69.11 per cent), Delhi (56.60 per cent), Haryana (58 per cent) and Chandigarh (50.60 per cent).

In Jammu and Kashmir, its vote share has increased from 32.65 per cent in 2014 to 46.40 per cent this time, while in Punjab it increased from 8.77 per cent to 9.63 per cent.

5 SOUTHERN STATES

If the mandate in North India was an overwhelming support for the BJP, four of the five southern states showed that they prefer to repose their trust on someone other than the BJP or the alliance it heads-the National Democratic Alliance (NDA).

The southern states-Karantaka, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and Kerala-send 129 MPs to the Lok Sabha. Add to this one seat each in the Union territories of Puducherry and Lakshadweep and the figure is 131. Since elections in Vellore Lok Sabha seat were cancelled, the fight this time was for 130 seats.

The BJP-led NDA was able to win only 30 of these 130 seats. A majority of the seats in the South were won by the Congress-led UPA (58 seats), followed by Others (42 seats). Others include political parties who have not allied with the BJP or the Congress.

In Andhra Pradesh, the Chandrababu Naidu-led Telugu Desam Party (TDP) suffered a major setback as it failed to retain the seats it won in 2014. The YSR Congress was able to win 22 of the 25 Lok Sabha seats in Andhra Pradesh and limit the TDP to just three seats. In 2014, the TDP had won 15 Lok Sabha seats. The BJP which won two seats in 2014 could not win any this time.

In neighboring Telangana, BJP had a relatively better performance and emerged the second-largest party by winning four seats. The K Chandrashekhar Rao (KCR)-led Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) won nine of the 17 Lok Sabha seats in the state. The Congress won three and the remaining on seat was won by AIMIM.

Just like the 2014 Lok Sabha election, the BJP failed to open its account in Kerala this time too. Kerala has 20 seats and the Congress, despite being in the opposition in the state, was able to win 15 of them.

The Left parties (whose alliance is presently in power in Kerala) were able to win just two seats. Two seats were won by the India Union Muslim League (IUML) and one by the Kerala Congress (M). They are both part of the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA).

Karnataka was the lone state in South India which voted in the same manner spirit as North India did i.e. an overwhelming majority to the BJP. Of the 28 Lok Sabha seats in Karnataka, the BJP won 25. One each was won by the Congress, Janata Dal (Secular) and an Independent candidate.

Results of the 38 Lok Sabha seats in Tamil Nadu saw a revival of the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), a Congress ally. From a tally of zero seats in 2014, the DMK has emerged as the third-largest party in the Lok Sabha by winning 23 seats. The Congress too improved its performance in Tamil Nadu and won eight seats.

On the other hand, the AIADMK (a BJP ally and the ruling party in Tamil Nadu) was routed on these elections. Five years ago, it had won 37 seats but this time it won just one. Tamil Nadu was another big state where the BJP failed to open its account. In 2014, it had won one seat here.

The UPA was also able to win the Lok Sabha seats in Puducherry and Lakshadweep.

In terms of vote share, BJP crossed the 50 per cent mark in Karnataka where it currently has a vote share of 51.40 per cent. In 2014, its vote share in the state was 43.37 per cent. The Congress, which won nine seats in Karnataka in 2014, has this time suffered a loss of 9.27 percentage point in vote share. In 2019, its vote share stands at 31.88 per cent.

In Tamil Nadu, the BJP’s vote share has fallen from 5.56 per cent to 3.66 per cent between 2014 and 2019. In these Lok Sabha elections, the Congress and its ally DMK were able to capitalize on the loss suffered by the AIADMK. The Congress increased its vote share from 4.37 per cent in 2014 to 12.76 per cent this time, while the DMK improved its figures from 23.91 per cent to 32.76 per cent.

Results of the 2019 Lok Sabha election however did bring some good news for the BJP as it gains in Kerala. Its vote share has increased from 10.45 per cent in 2014 to 12.93 per cent in 2019. The Congress’s vote share too has seen a surge from 31.47 per cent to 37.27 per cent. These gains were possible because the Left parties’ vote share has shrunk in Kerala.

The BJP currently enjoys a vote share of 19.5 per cent in Telangana, which is the third highest after TRS (41.29 per cent) and Congress (29.5 per cent).

Meanwhile, both the national parties have negligible presence in neighboring Andhra Pradesh where Telugu Desam Party (39.6 per cent) and YSR Congress (49.1 per cent) are the key players.

UTTAR PRADESH: INDIA’S GIANT STATE

Uttar Pradesh has been numerically the most important state in any Lok Sabha election in India. The reason is simple: it sends 80 MPs to the Lok Sabha, the most by any state.

In the 2014 Lok Sabha election, the BJP routed regional parties like the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and the Samajwadi Party (SP). The BSP could not win a single seat and the SP’s Lok Sabha strength was limited to five MPs. The Congress won two seatsRahul Gandhi from Amethi and Sonia Gandhi from Rae Bareli. The remaining 73 seats went to the BJP-led NDA (of which BJP’s own tally was 71).

The Lok Sabha election of 2019 wasn’t exactly a repeat of 2014 but the BJP continued to maintain its foothold in Uttar Pradesh. Of the 80 seats, the BJP won 62 and its ally Apna Dal won two.

Unlike the 2014 Lok Sabha election when SP and BSP fought separately, this election saw a coming together of two parties which were hitherto arch rivals. The SP-BSP alliance was formed keeping caste equations in mind. It was intended to stop the BJP from repeating its 2014 performance.

On May 23 when results were announced, the alliance failed. It could win only 15 seats in Uttar Pradesh, a state which for the past two decades has alternatively been ruled by these parties. The BSP won 10 seats while the SP maintained its tally of five. Besides failure in improving its numbers, what came as a major setback for the SP was the defeat of Dimple Yadav in Kannauj. (Dimple Yadav is the wife of SP president Akhilesh Yadav.)

For the Congress, Uttar Pradesh proved to be a graveyard. The most humiliating defeat was in Amethi where Congress president Rahul Gandhi lost to BJP’s Smriti Irani by more than 55,000 votes. This was a seat which had historically been a stronghold of the Nehru-Gandhi family.

To improve its performance in Uttar Pradesh, the Congress for the first-time fielded Rahul Gandhi’s sister Priyanka Gandhi Vadra. She was appointed the party’s general secretary for UP (East) and held rallies across the region. However, despite marshalling all its resources, the Congress could win only one seat in the state Sonia Gandhi from Rae Bareli.

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