May 17, 2009 2:58:47 am
For a party nursing an aspiration for the Prime Ministers chair,Saturday was doomsday.
From 10.30 am,as news started to drift in of one candidate after another biting the dust,partymen began to desert the office. Both BJP ki lehar slogan and the Varun factor failed to work the wonders. And the star power of Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi found few takers.
Of the 25 Lok Sabha constituencies in which Modi campaigned,the party managed a victory only in three Agra and Meerut,where the BJP garnered victory and Amroha,from where ally Rashtriya Lok Dal candidate Devendra Nagpal won.
The news went from grim to grimmer with six-time parliamentarian from Bareilly Santosh Gangwar,five-time MP from Maharajganj Pankaj Malik and the partys national general secretary Vinay Katiyar from Ambedkar Nagar,all suffering defeat. In Bulandshahr,party veteran Ashok Pradhan lost as well.
Even news of Lalji Tandons victory in Lucknow,Varun Gandhis victory margin of over 2 lakh votes in Pilibhit,Murli Manohar Joshis win in Varanasi and Rajnath Singhs win in Ghaziabad failed to lift the gloom.
The resounding defeat in Pilibhits neighbourhood Bareilly proved that the Varun factor had actually helped seal the partys fate outside that constituency.
In Aonla,Varuns mother Maneka Gandhi barely managed to scrape through. Till noon,senior office-bearers avoided the media. After 2 pm,they finally accepted the peoples mandate has been against them.
Still,partys state president Ramapati Ram Tripathi pointed out: It cannot be denied that we have gained in Uttar Pradesh and voters have preferred national parties over regional ones.
Having made tall claims of touching a 40-plus tally in the state,Tripathi was at a loss when asked to comment on the partys not managing to retain even its traditional seats Maharajganj,Bareilly and Bulandshahar.
Election there was marred by the anti-incumbency factor. It was difficult for us to retain them, he said.
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