MODIfied India buries Congress under saffron landslide
GUWAHATI: 23rd May, 2019 will go down in the history books as a red-letter day for Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). It was a clinically clean sweep by the saffron party which won with a clear majority in the parliament winning 303 seats all by itself out of the 545 Lok Sabha seats as compared to its tally of 282 seats in 2014. The National Democratic Alliance (NDA) led by the BJP has touched 353 seats - more than the 336 seats it had secured in 2014.
The BJP-led NDA government became the only non-Congress government to retain power in the history of Indian politics with full majority. After Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi, Narendra Modi became the third prime minister of India who retained power for a second term with full majority in Lok Sabha.
With its impressive performance, the BJP has squashed its opponents with the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) standing at 94 seats and the Mahagatbadhan at 14 seats. It was for the first time that the BJP came back to power after completing a full term. The only time that the party had managed a full term was in the 1999 general elections under Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee but had failed to secure a second term after losing to the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance in 2004.
The party’s dominance in the northern part of the country and heavy inroads in West Bengal, especially in North Bengal which was a Trinamool Congress Bastion, has propelled the party back into power with full majority.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi retained his turf at Varanasi with a margin of 4.5 lakh votes while BJP President Amit Shah won the Gandhinagar seat in his home state Gujarat by over 5.5 lakh votes. “Together we grow. Together we prosper. Together we will build a strong and inclusive India. India wins yet again,” PM Modi tweeted on Thursday morning as trends showed the results going in favour of the BJP.
In the evening, PM Modi along with party president Amit Shah was extended a euphoric welcome at the BJP national headquarters by party workers and supporters. As the duo walked towards the office, rose petals were showered at them. Modi said that the verdict signalled the birth of new India’s hopes and aspirations and showed that the political use of secularism had run its course.
BJP President Amit Shah said the Congress had failed to open its account in several states and parties that showed contempt for the Prime Minister’s hard work paid the price for their arrogance. The verdict was a fitting response to politics of appeasement and caste and dynasty, said Shah.
On the other hand, the UPA, under the leadership of Rahul Gandhi, could gain only 94 seats (with just 52 seats for the Congress alone) in this election compared to 60 seats with Congress wining 44 by itself in 2014. The Congress was able gain maximum grounds in Punjab and Kerala while it was wiped out of Karnataka and Odisha. The Congress was reduced to a single seat in the 80-seat Uttar Pradesh despite an intense campaign by Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, general secretary tasked with the campaign in UP along with Jyotiraditya Scindia.
The only seat the party kept was Sonia Gandhi's Raebareli.
After the big loss rumours came in that party President Rahul Gandhi is expected to resign on 25th May at the Congress Working Committee (CWC) meeting, the party's top decision-making body.
Rahul loses Congress bastion Amethi, wins big in Wayanad
Amethi and Congress have been synonymous in the history of independent India. But, in 2019, Congress President Rahul Gandhi lost the party's 39-year-long stronghold to Bharatiya Janata Party's Smriti Irani by a margin of 55,120 votes. He had represented the constituency three times in a row. Rahul Gandhi secured 4,13,394 votes compared to Irani's 4,68,514 votes.
Smriti Irani, on 24th May morning, tweeted thanking the people of the Amethi constituency, on her victory over Congress president Rahul Gandhi which was this election's show-stopper. "A new morning for Amethi, a new pledge. You placed your trust in development, grateful to Amethi," said the BJP leader.
Back in 2014, Gandhi had won the seat with 4,08,651 seats defeating his closest rival Smriti Irani who had secured 3,00,748 votes. The win margin was 1.07 lakh votes.
Gandhi was trailing behind Irani from the start although after a little jump, he dipped again to lose the seat. Analysing the voting trend that the Congress-stronghold presented, one must begin to ask some serious questions behind the defeat of Rahul Gandhi on his own turf.
The main issues in Amethi for the party’s loss was the lack of development in the Congress bastion since independence, the lack of proper roads and safe drinking water, deplorable housing conditions, zero infrastructural facilities in education and health in this constituency, even though the Congress claims to hold it as high priority.
However, the resounding victory of Rahul Gandhi in Kerala’s Wayanad constituency has healed the defeat in Amethi. Rahul Gandhi has won the seat by a spectacular margin of 4,31,770 votes, which is a record in the electoral history in the state of Kerala. Gandhi secured a whopping 7,06,367 votes against PP Suneer of the Communist Party of India, who secured 2,74,597.
BJP fails to open account in deep South
Although the Bharatiya Janata Party gained in Karnataka, the party could not make much of an impression in the other states in the southern part of the country. The Congress and Janata Dal (Secular) lost to the saffron party in Karnataka. The BJP secured 25 seats, which is the party's best ever performance in the state. Karnataka has contributed the highest number of seats for the party in the south.
On the other hand, the Congress and its coalition partner the Janata Dal (Secular), has given the worst performance with both wining just one seat each with Janata Dal (Secular) patron HD Deve Gowda losing Tumkur seat to GS Basavaraj of the BJP by a margin of 13,339 votes. GS Basavaraj polled 5,96,127 votes while Deve Gowda got 5,82,788 votes. Other than Karnataka, Telangana is the only other southern state where the BJP has gained seats in four parliamentary constituencies.
The saffron party failed to gain any seat in Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh. The exceptional performance of the YSR Congress Party led by Jagan Mohan Reddy gained 22 seats out of 25 and the DMK sweeping 23 out of 39 seats in Tamil Nadu, has proved to be a tough area for the nationalist party to penetrate. The last Left bastion in the India, Kerala, saw the United Democratic Front (UDF) led by the Congress gaining foothold with 17 seats out of 20 and an absolute failure on the part of the BJP to gain a single seat.
The strong ‘Hindutva’ ideology and reflection of the BJP as a Hindi dominated party gave away the hope of winning in these ultra regionalist states in the country.