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Posted at: May 24, 2019, 7:16 AM; last updated: May 24, 2019, 12:50 PM (IST)

PM magic steers BJP to more seats than 2014

Demolishes Opposition, terms it people’s victory

Vibha Sharma

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 23

The BJP led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi today swept the 17th Lok Sabha elections for a landmark second consecutive term, making inroads into hitherto uncharted territories of West Bengal, Odisha and Telangana, destroying caste citadels in UP and Bihar, dismantling dynasty strongholds and decimating rivals Congress and ‘mahagathbandhan’ in Hindi heartland.

With 243 seats in the kitty, the BJP was poised to win 303 of the 542 seats that went to the polls in seven phases, according to the partial vote count released by the Election Commission this evening. The BJP vote share soared past 50 per cent in 13 states and Union Territories, a feat which the rival Congress could manage only in Puducherry.

BJP’s master strategist Amit Shah played a pivotal role in ensuring that the party won more seats than it did in 2014 in an almost presidential form of elections.

The BJP, which had lately dropped down to 268 seats, surpassed its 2014 performance of 282 in the 543-member House, bringing true the prophecy of the architect of the landslide win. “I am completely sure that on May 23, we will form a strong NDA government with more than 300 LS seats. I am expecting an increase in the number of NDA seats, but the BJP is winning 300 seats independently,” Shah had told The Tribune last week, on the last day of campaigning.

The resounding endorsement of Modi’s popularity and achievements in five years saw celebrations break out at the party offices across the country. Social media went wild and ‘TsuNaMo 2.0’ set the Twitter on fire with memes celebrating PM Modi’s tremendous re-run. The oath-taking is likely to be held on May 29, sources said.

Interestingly, while political pundits ran down the “polarising” Modi and Shah, their carefully designed campaign around the emotive themes of national security and nationalism resonated, resulting in a massive rise in saffron vote share, breaking conventional barriers set around geography, caste lines, age, gender and economic status.

In politically critical UP, where the SP-BSP-RLD ‘mahagathbandhan’ was supposed to pose a stiff challenge, the BJP was able to do much better than what political pundits had predicted even though it stayed below its 2014 tally of 72 seats.

Shah’s strategic planning saw the party make significant inroads into West Bengal and Odisha, while reasserting position in Maharashtra and Karnataka. Only Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh appeared untouched by the saffron surge. In southern Telangana, where it was expected to fare poorly, the party actually managed to make a resounding mark.

Backed by Modi, Shah’s five years of diligence saw the organisation emerge as a formidable force. He was able to take controversial decisions like dropping tall leaders above the age 75 years.

Many factors worked in tandem, the chief being the projection of Modi as a decisive and strong leader in whose hands the country was safe. After Pulwama and Balakot strikes, the BJP kept highlighting national security as a key electoral issue, which was lapped up by voters.

Keeping in mind states where the BJP could have fared poorly, Shah identified around 120 seats in new catchment areas under his Coromandel plan — Bengal, Odisha et al — and northeastern states.

In spite of Assembly setbacks in strongholds like Gujarat, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh, the BJP leadership worked hard in these states. Even in Uttar Pradesh, where political observers predicted a decline in numbers, the party set a target of 50 per cent vote share.

Also, meticulous planning with allies helped the party expand its pan-India image. Barring AIADMK, allies like the Shiv Sena and the JD-U fared extremely well. Shah’s strategy of ceding seats to allies actually worked in favour of the alliance.

The party engaged its massive cadre base to spread across the message of the Modi government, besides using multiple programmes to mobilise beneficiaries of its welfare schemes.

Addressing the surging crowds gathered at the BJP headquarters to celebrate his return to power, Prime Minister Modi said he would not take any step with ‘badneeyat’ (bad intentions)  or ‘badirada’ (ill will). While governments are formed by majority, the country is run on ‘sarvmat’ (consensus). 

“Who said what in the past, we have to move forward. We have to treat our adversaries with ‘namrata’ (humility) and within the ambit of the Constitution,” he said 


Modi: Every moment devoted to nation

"People are chanting Modi, Modi. But this is not a victory of Modi, it is the victory of people who are desperate for honesty in the system. What’s past is past. We have to move ahead. We have to take everyone with us, even our opponents."— Narendra Modi, Prime Minister


Superhero of win

"Modi is the superhero of the super victory. Politics of casteism, dynasty and appeasement has been buried. In 17 states, BJP has got more than 50 per cent votes. It is victory of people." — Amit Shah, BJP president


Modi in footsteps of Nehru, Indira

After Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi, Narendra Modi is the third PM who has been able to retain power for a second term with full majority in the Lok Sabha. Nehru won around three-fourth of the LS seats in 1951-52. Subsequently, he was able to win 1957 elections as well as 1962 elections with full majority.

No Congress MPs in 18 states/UTs 

  • The Congress has scored a nil in 18 states and union territories in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. The Congress losers include eight chief ministers and the party's leader in the Lok Sabha

  • Among the big states, there are zero Congress MPs in Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat and Odisha

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