As the results poured in Thursday, one man didn’t turn to the TV.
Sitting in the living room of his house, BJP president Amit Shah spent the better part of the morning on the phone, taking calls from party workers in the districts of the four states where counting was underway. Because he seemed more interested in the vote share of the party.
His only other interest this morning was the party’s performance in the bypolls outside the four states. Shah especially tracked the Uttar Pradesh bypoll results where eventually the ruling Samajwadi Party retained the Jangipur and Bilari Assembly seats, defeating the BJP challengers. But he took heart from the fact that even there, the party vote share had increased.
By noon, Shah was elated with the BJP progress in Kerala — a 14 per cent vote share — where it had an alliance with the Bharath Dharma Jana Sena (BDJS) led by Vellapally Natesan.
“In God’s own country, we have laid the foundation this election,” he told his partymen.
“When I arrived in New Delhi, I wanted BJP to have a permanent presence in the Coromandel states. Today is the shubh shuruaat (auspicious start) of the BJP’s grand dream.”
Within the party, no one was waiting for the formal results. Discussions had already begun.
Other than the anti-incumbency factor in Assam, the BJP attributed its stunning success to “100 per cent consolidation of Hindu votes. Otherwise, how is it possible to win in a state where Muslims are more than 30 per cent?”
The other quick assessment was on West Bengal: “We got fewer seats because of the lawlessness and bullying tactics of TMC workers at the booth level.”
But what was music to BJP ears was the word from the districts: “Congress saaf ho gayi” (Congress has been wiped out).