2019 LS polls: Modi wave takes wind out of mahagathbandhan sail in UP

Lucknow: The BJP and its ally Apna Dal(S) are set to win 64 of Uttar Pradesh’s 80 Lok Sabha seats, demolishing the challenge posed by the SP-BSP alliance, which is expected to get 15 seats between them.

The BJP has won 61 seats and its ally two seats in the politically crucial state, which sends the highest number of MPs to the Lower House.

The Samajwadi Party (SP) has won five seats and its alliance partner Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) nine. The Mayawati-led BSP and the BJP are leading in one seat each. Congress won the lone Raebareli seat of Sonia Gandhi.

The counting of votes is still underway in Uttar Pradesh and the Election Commission has declared results of 78 seats as of 9:00 AM Friday. In 2014 polls, the BJP had won 71 seats and its ally Apna Dal (S) two, while the SP had bagged five seats and the Congress two.

In three bypolls, the opposition had wrested Gorakhpur, Phulpur and Kairana from the BJP. This time, the Modi wave not only smashed the SP-BSP alliance, but also uprooted Congress president Rahul Gandhi from the party bastion of Amethi, where Union minister Smriti Irani won and avenged her defeat in 2014. Prime Minister Narendra Modi won from the Varanasi seat defeating his nearest rival Shalini Yadav of the SP by a margin of 4,79,505 votes, bettering his previous margin of 3,71,784 votes in 2014.

Sonia Gandhi retained Rae Bareli seat, defeating her nearest rival by 1,67,178 votes, the EC website said. SP-BSP had supported Sonia Gandhi on this seat in Uttar Pradesh, once its favourite hunting ground. SP founder Mulayam Singh Yadav won Mainpuri seat, while his son and SP president Akhilesh Yadav, who contested from Azamgarh, won by 2.59 lakh votes. But the scene was not so rosy for other members of the Yadav clan as Akhilesh Yadav’s wife Dimple and his cousin Dharmendra lost in Kannuaj and Badaun, respectively.

His another cousin Akshay lost from Firozabad, where Akhilesh’s feuding uncle’s presence as Pragatisheel Samajwadi Party-Lohia candidate queered the pitch of the SP. A notable SP victory was that of party veteran Azam Khan, known for making controversial remarks, from Rampur where he was fighting against actor-turned-politician Jaya Prada. He defeated his nearest rival Jaya Prada by over one lakh votes.

Mayawati’s BSP had drawn a blank last time, but this time her alliance with the SP appeared to have paid her dividends as her party won nine seats and was leading in one. Just ahead of the election, the SP and the BSP had cobbled together an alliance. The BSP contested 38 seats, the SP 37, leaving three for the RLD. The alliance did not put up any candidate in Amethi and Raebareli. But, despite the alliance, the RLD could not open its account with all the three candidates losing to the BJP.

Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh has retained Lucknow seat by defeating his nearest rival Poonam Sinha by over 3.4 lakh votes. Union minister Maneka Gandhi won from Sultanpur seat, defeating her nearest rival BSP candidate Chandra Bhadra Singh Sonu by over 14,000 votes. She won by a margin of 14,526 votes, the EC said.

Union Minister Mahesh Sharma retained his Gautam Buddh Nagar Lok Sabha seat, bagging 8.30 lakh votes and BJP leader Hema Malini retained her Mathura seat by defeating RLD candidate Kunwar Narendra Singh. The actor-politician defeated Singh by a margin of 2,93,471 votes. Union minister and leader of Apna Dal (Sonelal) Anupriya Patel won from Mirzapur by 2,32,008 votes. Reacting to poll results and party’s poor performance, SP chief Akhilesh Yadav in a tweet has said,

Janmat sweekaar. Uttar Pradesh ki sammanit janta va karyakartaon ko dhanyawaad (Mandate accepted. Thanks to the honourable voters of Uttar Pradesh and party workers).” Mayawati termed the Lok Sabha poll results unprecedented and raised doubts over EVMs.

“Several shortcomings of conducting elections through EVMs have come to our notice and there is opposition to EVMs all over the country,” she said. Union minister Smriti Irani, who was poised to wrest Amethi seat from Congress president Rahul Gandhi, quoted a line from a famous poem to assert that nothing was impossible. “Kaun kehta hai aasmaan mein suraakh nahin ho sakta,” she tweeted as she led by over 55,000 votes. As the news of Irani gaining lead trickled in, the BJP camp went into a jubiliation mood without waiting for the actual announcement of results.

UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath attributed the impressive show by his party to the “alert voters” who he said have rejected the ‘mahagathbandhan‘ (grand alliance) of opposition parties. “It is high time for the opposition to introspect and shun politics of negativity,” Adityanath told PTI, giving full credit to Prime Minister Modi and BJP president Amit Shah for the “historic victory”.

Meanwhile, as the polls results declared that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been re-elected, people in Varanasi claimed that Modi has once again got the blessings of Baba Kashi Vishwanath and Kal Bhairav – Kashi ke Kotwaal (the guardian of Kashi).