Hindu nationalist leader Narendra Modi will be the next Prime Minister of India as his right wing Bharatiya Janata Party, riding on the back of a thumping performance in Uttar Pradesh, the key battleground state in Indian national elections, stormed back to power with the biggest victory the country has seen in three decades.
Modi will take oath on May 21 as the 16th prime pinister of India.
The National Democratic Alliance led by BJP was on course for winning the vote count in 325 parliamentary seats, far more than the majority of 272 required to rule in the 543-Lok Sabha. In fact, even on its own, BJP can form the government as it is ahead in 285 seats.
This is for the first time in three decades a party has got such a decisive electoral mandate since 1984 when Congress under the leadership of Rajiv Gandhi had got unprecedented three-fourth majority riding on a sympathy wave following the assassination of his mother Indira Gandhi.
Modi, the 63-year-old son of a tea vendor belonging to a socially backward caste, who had built a presidential-style campaign around him uncharacteristic of a party like BJP where personality cult is discouraged, won by a huge margin from both the constituencies - Vadodara in his home state of Gujarat whose chief minister he is for more than a dozen years, and the temple town of Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh where he defeated upstart anti-graft outfit Aam Aadmi Party chief Arvind Kejriwal.
“India has won. Bharat ki vijay. Good days are about to come”, a triumphant Modi, who singlehandedly led an indefatigable campaign travelling three lakh kilometres across India, tweeted as celebrations erupted across BJP offices across the country including the flower-festooned party headquarters in Delhi.
On the other hand, ruling Congress party, which has ruled much of the 67 years in independent India including the last ten years, is set to suffer its worst electoral defeat and looks set not to cross the three-figure tally of seats.
Congress conceded defeat with its spokesman Abhishek Singhvi saying “we are ready to sit in the opposition and play the role of a responsible opposition”.
The BJP’s previous best showing was in elections in 1998 and 1999 under the leadership of Atal Bihari Vajpayee and the party had governed India till May 2004 when it was voted out of power by Congress and its allies.
One message that clearly emerges from the results of this time’s elections is that while Congress has suffered massively due to anti-incumbency arising out of slowing economy, string of corruption cases hitting the party-led UPA government and mounting inflation, BJP has held on its own even in states where it is in power.
At the heart of BJP’s remarkable show lies its unprecedented victory in Uttar Pradesh, India’s most populous state with the highest number of 80 Lok Sabha seats, where the party is leading in 68 seats.
The traditional key players in UP Mayawati-led Bahujan Samaj Party was trailing massively and has registered leads in only three seats and Samajwadi Party is also struggling.
The BJP win in Uttar Pradesh is a personal triumph for Modi and his close aide Amit Shah who was appointed by the former as the chief strategist to revive the party from a morass in Uttar Pradesh where regional caste-based outfits like Samajwadi Party led by Mulayam Singh Yadav and Bahujan Samaj Party headed by Mayawati have ruled the roost for close to two decades. In the previous parliamentary polls in 2009, BJP had won just ten seats.
Congress is heading for a debacle in Uttar Pradesh with all its seven federal ministers, including Foreign Minister Salman Khurshid, trailing in their respective constituencies. In fact, the party, which had won 21 seats in 2009, out of total 80, this time is trailing everywhere in the state barring Congress president Sonia Gandhi and vice president Rahul Gandhi who are leading in Rae Bareli and Amethi respectively.
The trends of all 80 seats showed SP leading in only 10, BSP in 3 and Congress in 2. This means BJP is heading for its best ever performance in UP, while BSP and SP have been pushed back to 90s when they were in nascent stage.
While Congress candidate and union coal minister Sri Prakash was trailing in Kanpur behind BJP heavyweight Murli Manohar Joshi, rural development minister Pradeep Adita Jain is losing to BJP candidate and former Madhya Pradesh chief minister Uma Bharti.
Salman Khursid is in fifth position in Farrukhabad constituency.
India’s Civil Aviation Minister and Congress ally Ajit Singh, heading Rashtriya Lok Dal party, lost to BJP candidate and former Mumbai police commissioner Satyapal Singh. In fact, Ajit, who won from Baghpat five times earlier, came third. He had lost only once in 1998 in his entire political career.
Ajit Singh's son is losing in Mathura where actor-turned-politician Hema Malini has taken an unbeatable lead of over 50,000 votes.
Varun Gandhi won from Sultanpur on BJP ticket claiming his share of legacy in Nehru-Gandhi Bastion. His mother Maneka, also contesting as BJP candidate, is leading in Pilibhit. Mulayam Singh Yadav is leading in Mainpuri and his daughter-in-law Dimple is leading in Kannauj.
True to predictions by Modi, BJP is set to sweep all the 26 seats in Gujarat state, 25 in Rajasthan, 14 in Jharkhand, all seven in Delhi (the party had failed to win a single five years), ten of the 11 in Chhattisgarh, all four in Himalayan state of Uttarakhand (where it failed to win even one in 2009) and four in Himachal Pradesh. Both Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh are now ruled by Congress while the other above-mentioned states are governed by BJP.
In the northeastern state of Assam, BJP led in eight of the total of 14 parliamentary seats while Congress, which rules the state, is ahead only in two.
However, in adjacent West Bengal, it was Mamata Banerjee-led ruling Trinamool Congress which led in 33 of the total of 42 seats although BJP’s vote share in terms of percentage recorded a big surge in the state.
In the southern state of Tamil Nadu, AIADMK ruling the state, is ahead in 36 of the total of 39 seats.