As counting for Uttar Pradesh election results 2017 takes place, it is amply clear that BJP will not only emerge the winner, but will also bag three-fourth of the total 403 seats. It is for the first time that BJP will be in a position to form a majority government in UP on its own.
It is said "nothing succeeds like success". But still there are at least seven reasons behind the BJP's stupendous success.
1. MODI'S CHARISMA
The Modi wave has clearly swept UP. Prime Minister Narendra Modi's charisma seems to have worked wonders. Modi was instrumental in BJP's victory in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. Despite the lapse of 33 months, Prime Minister Narendra Modi's charisma more or less remains intact.
His speeches clicked with the voters, his jam-packed rallies appeared to be seas of humanity at almost all the places and his roadshows in his Lok Sabha constituency of Varanasi proved to be unstoppable juggernauts.
BJP had garnered 42 per cent of votes and won 71 of the 80 Lok Sabha seats in 2014. In the just-concluded state Assembly elections, the party got 40 per votes and has won two-third of the seats. A "TsuNamo" is clearly at work.
2. CASTE MANAGEMENT
Mayawati-led BSP banked on Dalit and Muslim votes while Akhilesh Yadav-led Samajwadi Party focused on garnering the votes of Yadavs and Muslims. In a smart strategy, BJP wooed non-Jatavs, non-Yadav OBCs and upper castes. This has clearly paid off.
3. REVERSE POLARISATION OF VOTES
While BSP and SP focused on wooing the Muslim voters, BJP went for consolidation of the Hindu voters. In the first two phases comprising 140 seats, BJP strategically lied low because Muslims dominate a large number of seats. Muslims comprise even about 60 per cent of the total population in some constituencies.
Any attempt by BJP to consolidate the Hindu votes in the first two phases would have proved counter-productive. It could have consolidated the Muslim votes. Instead of splitting their votes between SP and BSP by resorting to tactical voting, the Muslims would have gone for en bloc voting in favour of either of the two parties. This would have been against BJP's interests.
BJP waited for the first two phases (on February 11 and 15) to get over. Prime Minister Narendra Modi started polarisation of votes from the third phase onwards. He made the "kabristan vs shamshan" remark at an election rally in Bahraich on February 19, the day third phase of voting was in progress.
This helped the Hindu votes to get consolidated. Even though Muslims polarised, they could not harm BJP much.
4. SOCIAL MEDIA AGGRESSION
BJP was ahead of all the other parties in the fray as far as its presence on social media is concerned. The party adopted all modern tools, be it campaigning, disseminating information or even making surveys. This kept them ahead of its rivals SP, BSP and Congress.
5. INFIGHTING IN SAMAJWADI PARTY
Akhilesh Yadav, who will step down from the chief minister's chair in a few days, emerged as the winner of the Yadav 'PariWar' by usurping his father Mulayam Singh Yadav's post of SP chief and defeating his uncle Shivpal Yadav. It, perhaps, gave a false sense of triumph and a façade of victory for Akhilesh. However, on the ground and outside the ruling Yadav family, it did not click. The internal fight in the Yadav family only tarnished Akhilesh and SP's images.
When Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the demonetisation initiative at 8 pm on November 8, it was viewed with scepticism by the Opposition. Soon, they, particularly West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Mayawati sought to whip up passions against the note ban. Mamata and Kejriwal went to the extent of saying that it could lead to violence.
However, the situation on the ground was totally different. Instead of feeling angry, even though the people faced inconvenience, they supported demonetisation. BJP won or performed impressively in all the Assembly and Lok Sabha bye-elections and several civic and panchayat elections which were held after the demonetisation move, the latest being the municipal elections in Maharashtra and panchayat polls in Odisha.
While the Opposition, including Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi kept gloating over the note ban, the voters seem to have supported it, or at least they just did not care about it.
7. DIVIDED OPPOSITION
SP and Congress stitched a pre-poll alliance to take on BJP which had proved invincible in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. However, in the absence of BSP and Ajit Singh-led RLD, this alliance was not a formidable one. It lacked the strength of the mahagathbandhan of JD (U), RJD and Congress in Bihar.
With BSP and SP as rivals, the Muslim votes got divided. Had these four parties come together, they could have stopped the division of not only the Muslim votes but also those of Jats, Dalits and upper castes.