Rajat Sharma


AKB The mandate given by the people of India on Tuesday shall be remembered for a long time in Indian political history. The BJP-led National Democratic Alliance won 292 seats, 20 more than the 272-magic mark, while Congress-led INDIA alliance won 234 seats, 38 short of the majority mark. Though NDA won, yet it gives a feeling of defeat. Though INDIA alliance failed to get majority, it gave a feeling of victory for them. For the first time since BJP led by Narendra Modi swept to power in 2014, it could not secure a majority on its own. BJP won 240 seats, much lower than the record 303 seats that it had won five years ago. Prime Minister Modi, who will take oath for the third time on June 8, will have to depend on the support of his NDA allies. Modi will be equalling Jawaharlal Nehru’s record of taking oath for the third consecutive time as PM. This is the first time since 1962 that a party at the Centre which completed two full five-year terms, will be forming its third consecutive government. Modi, in his third term, will have to depend on the support of his two main allies Telugu Desam Party, which has 16 MPs, and Janata Dal (United), which has 12 MPs. BJP’s seat tally may have declined, but its vote share remained almost the same that it got in 2014 and 2019. Despite losing two general elections consecutively, Congress entered the fray leading a combine of opposition parties, but failed to touch the three-digit mark. Congress won 99 seats. Though BJP’s seat tally is now reduced, its NDA alliance can easily form a coalition government. Two or three points must not be overlooked in the cacophony over the poll results: One, BJP made an almost clean sweep in Madhya Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Delhi, Gujarat, Odisha and Chhattisgarh. Another interesting fact is that BJP will be forming a government in Odisha for the first time ending Naveen Patnaik’s 25-year-old reign. It has already swept to power in Arunachal Pradesh on Monday, and will now be sharing power with Telugu Desam Party in Andhra Pradesh. The best outcome from this election is that not a single party has raised any question about tampering of electronic voting machines (EVMs). Nobody can complain that district collector, acting as Returning Officer, were pressurized to change the poll result. Nobody can now question the impartiality of the Election Commission of India. The entire world has seen how free and fair election was conducted in India. The world has seen India’s vibrant democracy in action and how government are formed or thrown out peacefully. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, while addressing party workers at BJP headquarters in Delhi on Tuesday evening said, “Today’s victory is the victory of the world’s largest democracy”. He hailed the Election Commission, its officials and security forces, saying “140 crore Indians should be proud of the credibility of the nation’s election process. I would request our media influencers, opinion makers and others to make the whole world aware of the country’s electoral process, because it has given India a new identity. He praised the Election Commission for showing the mirror to those who had cast doubts about the integrity of polls. Modi promised to root out corruption in all forms during his third term. The election results have proved all exit polls as incorrect, and the time has come to ponder whether it is at all necessary to splurge millions of rupees for conducting exit polls. BJP, as a party, should introspect why despite putting in so much effort and implementing public welfare schemes, its overall seat tally failed to touch the magic mark. Let’s have a look at some major states:

The results from UP were unexpected. BJP’s tally from the state fell from 62 to 33, while Samajwadi Party topped the list with 37 seats. Congress won six seats, but BSP failed to open its account. Both Rahul Gandhi and Sharad Pawar said, the voters of UP have done a magic. Union Minister Smriti Irani lost her Amethi seat to Congress candidate Kishori Lal Sharma by a big margin of 1,67,196 votes. Rahul Gandhi won his second LS seat from Rae Bareli by a huge margin of 3,90,030 votes defeating his BJP rival. BJP lost its strongholds in Purvanchal, western UP and central UP. Akhilesh Yadav’s strategy worked. BJP is yet to work out the exact reasons why it lost. It even lost Faizabad seat which covers Ayodhya, where Lord Ram’s temple was consecrated after 500 years. Leaders and ministers like Menaka Gandhi, Ajay Mishra Teni, Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti, Mahendra Nath Pandey, Sanjeev Balyan lost. All five members of Akhilesh Yadav’s family, including himself, won. Some BJP leaders are saying that poor performance of Bahujan Samaj Party candidates could be the main reasons for the losses. Prima facie it appears that the Dalit vote bank of BSP shifted its allegiance to INDIA alliance, and this hurt BJP’s prospects. OBC voters appeared to consolidate behind Samajwadi Party, because Akhilesh Yadav succeeded in making price rise, unemployment, Agniveer scheme, Constitution and reservation as emotive issues among the voters. BJP was commanding 50 per cent vote share in UP last time, but this time, its leaders failed to read the minds of the people, and its vote share shrunk to 42 per cent. On the other hand, Samajwadi Party’s vote share jumped from 18 pc five years ago to 34 pc this time, while Congress’ vote share increased from six pc last time to 10 pc this time. Mayawati’s BSP had its vote share almost halved from 19 pc five years ago to 10 pc this time. People are asking why despite Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath performed well in improving law and order and economic conditions in the state, BJP suffered a setback. The answer is simple: BJP made mistake in selecting candidates and did not keep caste equations in mind. On the other hand, Akhilesh Yadav worked with his allies with better co-ordination, and got votes from most of the castes.

In Bihar, NDA alliance performed better than INDIA bloc. Both BJP and Janata Dal(U) won 12 seats each, while its ally Chirag Paswan’s LJP (R) won five seats. RJD, the main challenger, could win only four seats, while its allies, Congress and CPI-ML won three and two seats respectively. The BJP-led NDA won 30 out of a total of 40 seats in Bihar. JD-U chief Nitish Kumar has emerged as a kingmaker at the Centre. On his part, RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav toiled hard during the campaign despite suffering from an injured leg. Thousands of people, mostly youths, crowded his election meetings, but this could not be converted into votes. Tejashwi cannot blame EVMs any more, because in neighbouring UP, EVMs functioned perfectly. The biggest message from Bihar results is that “a tiger named Nitish Kumar Abhi Zinda Hai”, and the poor people of Bihar still consider him their leader. Those who had written off Nitish Kumar politically for aligning with BJP were proved wrong and the people have given their mandate. Nitish Kumar will now perform an important role in NDA at the Centre.

Results from Rajasthan were a setback for BJP, which had last year won the assembly elections. Five years ago, BJP had won 24 out of a total of 25 Lok Sabha seats, but this time BJP could win only 14 seats and the Congress won eight. Congress suffered a major loss in Jalore, when former CM Ashok Gehlot’s son Vaibhav Gehlot was defeated by BJP rival Lumbaram by more than 2 lakh votes. BJP won the seats of Jaipur, Udaipur and Rajsamand by big margins. BJP leaders say, infighting in the party cost the party at least ten seats. Caste equations were not kept in mind in at least four seats. Similarly, in Haryana, BJP, which had made a clean sweep of all 10 LS seats five years ago, lost five seats to Congress, which won from Ambala, Hisar, Sirsa, Sonepat and Rohtak. In the last elections, Congress in Haryana was divided, but this time there was infighting in Haryana BJP. Congress leaders claimed anti-incumbency as the reason, but the question arises: Why wasn’t their anti-incumbency factor in Gujarat, MP and Chhattisgarh?


In the key state of Maharashtra, Congress-led Maha Vikas Aghadi won 29 out of a total of 48 seats, leaving BJP-led Mahayuti to win only 18 seats. Congress was the biggest beneficiary. It contested 17 seats and won 13. NCP(Sharad Pawar) contested 10 and won eight seats. Shiv Sena (UT) contested 21 seats and won nine. Shiv Sena (Eknath Shinde) won only seven seats, while NCP (Ajit Pawar) could win only one seat. Maharashtra voters appeared to be sympathetic towards Uddhav Thackeray, and they did not approve of split in Shiv Sena. Secondly, BJP had more seats, but its leader Devendra Fadnavis was made to work as deputy chief minister and Eknath Shinde was made CM. This demoralized BJP workers and supporters and the results are there for all to see. In West Bengal, Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee ruled the root. Her party won 29 out of a total of 42 seats, while BJP’s tally was reduced from 18 to 12. After the results were out, Mamata Banerjee claimed the results would have been far better had Narendra Modi not been in power and if official machinery had not been used against her party. West Bengal’s results shocked most of the people. Almost all the experts failed in predicting Mamata’s victory. Election strategist Prashant Kishore, who had worked with Mamata and helped her win the assembly elections, had predicted that BJP would fare better this time, but his prediction failed.


BJP scored a historic victory in Odisha assembly elections, dislodging Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik’s 25-year-old grip on power. BJP won 78 out of a total of 147 seats and is going to form a government on June 10. Patnaik’s Biju Janata Dal took second position with 51 seats. Naveen Patnaik himself lost from Kantabanjhi seat, and barely managed to win his traditional Hinjili seat. Naveen Patnaik was rarely seen in public, he could not speak Odia language fluently despite being the CM of Odisha for 25 years, and his consecutive win for five terms was nothing short of a magic. He and his party appeared to be invincible, but BJP did the impossible. This was due to unity among all BJP leaders in the state. In Andhra Pradesh, Chandrababu Naidu, who forged an alliance with Pawan Kalyan’s Jana Sena party and BJP, swept the assembly polls. TDP won 135 seats, Jana Sena won 21 and BJP, for the first time, won 8 seats. Chief Minister Y S Jaganmohan Reddy’s YSR Congress was decimated. It could win only 11 seats. In the Lok Sabha elections, Chandrababu has emerged as the kingmaker, with TDP winning 16, BJP three and Jana Sena party winning 2 seats. YSR Congress could win only four LS seats. In NDA, Naidu’s TDP has the largest number of MPs after BJP.

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