After witnessing BJP’s mighty 4/5th sweep in Uttar Pradesh, Omar Abdullah said today in a tweet that there is no leader with pan India acceptability, who could take on Modi.
He suggested the opposition to forget about the 2019 General Elections and be hopeful for 2024 elections. It wasn’t Modi’s wave or a ripple, it’s a tsunami, he added. To understand the gravity of this statement, we must know that after the Vajpayee government, BJP won only a few state elections, that too in the Hindi Heartland only. Back in 2009 after the massive defeat in the General elections, nobody would have expected this kind of comeback for a centre-right party like BJP, which was limited to Hindi speaking states. Even Kalyan Singh led to a 221 out of 425 seat victory at a time when UP included Uttarakhand back in 1991. But this time the tally stands at 325 out of 403 in UP and 57 out of 70 in Uttarakhand with no chief ministerial candidate. One reason: Modi.
The word ‘Modi’ now resonates with success, with victory and people’s love and faith. Clearly, the people of UP have voted to strengthen Modi in the Center, and not just good governance in the state. Modi is synonymous to BJP and vice versa.
With 29 states and 11 major languages in our country, only one political figure is known, recognized and widely acknowledged across the length and breadth of India. Modi. With the help of his extraordinary reach, BJP is spreading far and wide to places nobody thought it would.
With a first BJP government in the North East, Assam paved BJP’s way to the farthest corners of our country in 2016. Manipur is the latest addition to BJP’s baby steps in the North East, after the Chief Minister of Arunachal Pradesh Pema Khandu changed his government’s affiliation to BJP in December 2016.
BJP, once known as the party of the Hindi speakers, shows no signs of stopping, even though it felt that way after Bihar and Delhi elections. In fact, It is slowly increasing its roots in every state, including Kerala, West Bengal, the North East and even Odisha.
Why has it successfully replaced Indian National Congress as the single nation wide party?
The answer lies in the last 2 seasons of state elections and 2014 general elections. With only 44 seats in Lok Sabha in the 16th Lok Sabha, Congress had very little going for it and it faced a lot of ridicule because of bad leadership. In 2016 it lost 2 more states and surrendered Assam to BJP. Assam was BJP’s first step in the North East (not the BJP led North East Democratic Alliance). Today it has lost Uttar Pradesh (the largest state in terms of number of Lok Sabha seats), Uttarakhand and Manipur too as BJP looks poised to form the government there. However, it took back Punjab, which was not a surprise to many.
Indian National Congress, the original pan India party which started off with 364 / 490 seats in 1951 Lok Sabha, has been reduced to 44 in 2014. Today it leads government in Karnataka, Himachal Pradesh and Puducherry only, excluding Bihar where it’s a junior party and the North East. In the North East, Mizoram and Meghalaya is under Congress’ rule. That makes 5 states on its own and 2 jointly.
The days of Congress appear to be over. It had an unbelievably successful run of 70 years after the independence. It has no strong leadership to have hopes of bouncing back. No good regional leaders in most states. The very base as well as the morality of its workers is shaken. Many great leaders, who toiled for the party their entire lives, have left it, like Rita Bahuguna Joshi (who by the way, won today).
Punjab 2017 result has given it 5 extra years of last breaths. Congress is on a ventillator support officially. Party Leader Sonia Gandhi’s idea of not pushing a strong leader like Chidambaram as PM during UPA can also be held responsible for Congress’ inevitable doom. It shot its own legs when it declared another incompetent Gandhi to run the party as well as become its star campaigner. From 388 / 430 seats in the first UP elections, to contesting 105 seats and winning in single digits only, it is time for Congress to hang up its hat. It is no longer a nation wide party.
Considering Manipur and Goa as done deal, BJP is now in power in 12 and jointly in 5 of 31 state governments in India. In non Hindi speaking states, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Arunachal Pradesh and Assam (Also Manipur and Goa) are in BJP’s hands.
BJP is the only nation wide party left with a globally respected leader whose hard hitting decisions like demonetization forced people to stand in queues for hours, and yet his charm continued to gain their support. He started the political fandom which was unheard of before him. He is the brand name: Brand Modi. It’s doubtful if his charisma will end anytime soon. This will continue to benefit BJP and it won’t be long before the saffron colour can be seen all over the country.
Fun fact: BJP is the world’s largest political party in terms of primary membership.