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Big picture: Booster shot for BJP and the national rise of Kejriwal

Assembly Election Results 2022 Explained: While BJP's victory in the states can be attributed to the welfare schemes and its effective delivery system, cutting across caste and religious lines, Kejriwal's politics are appreciated by voters because of its focus on the welfare aspects.

Celebrations break out at the BJP office in Lucknow on Thursday. (Express Photo: Vishal Srivastav)

Going by the trends, the Assembly elections in the five states will make history. In Punjab, the Aam Aadmi Party is on its way to becoming the first regional party to win a second state, and in Uttar Pradesh, Yogi Adityanath is set to become the first chief minister to return to power after serving a full five-year term. The results of these elections also signal changes in national politics in the coming days.

The results also indicate the emphasis on welfare politics in the country. While BJP’s victory in the states can be attributed to the welfare schemes and its effective delivery system, cutting across caste and religious lines, Kejriwal’s politics are appreciated by voters because of its focus on the welfare aspects.

The AAP’s emergence in Punjab with a splendid performance is going to create ripples that could lead to realignments at the national level too. Political observers who watch AAP closely see this performance as an endorsement of Kejriwal as a prospective national leader against Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

This is more so because the current trends in Punjab indicate a further disintegration of the Congress and the collapse of the leadership of Gandhis at the national level, who have failed those who looked up to the Congress as a party that could bind the opposition against the BJP at the national level.

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The victory of the AAP in the border state despite all odds, and the coming together of all other parties against it in the last few days ahead of the voting, proves that Arvind Kejriwal has managed to earn the trust of the voters as a credible alternative to the established national parties, including the BJP, which otherwise continues its victory march in the other states that went to polls.

The spectacular win in Punjab could make Kejriwal move his focus to Gujarat which is going for polls later this year. AAP has already made considerable gains in the civic elections in Gandhinagar and Surat last year.

AAP workers celebrate in Bathinda. (Express Photo: Gurmeet Singh)

In Goa, the AAP was leading in three seats, and was expected to gain vote share in Uttarakhand too. The performance in these elections would make it closer to gaining a national party status.

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The results in Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Manipur and Goa will make the BJP jubilant, with the election outcome being seen as a referendum on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s popularity and the BJP’s governance record ahead of the next general election in 2024.

After the disappointment in West Bengal, the BJP’s return in Uttar Pradesh (with 249 leads and victories against the Samajwadi Party’s 108 at 11.40 am) will be a significant booster shot for the party. Home Minister and senior BJP leader Amit Shah said late last year: “The 2024 Lok Sabha elections that we have to win under Modi ji’s leadership, its foundation will be laid by the Uttar Pradesh 2022 Assembly polls.”

Be that as it may, the performance of Akhilesh Yadav’s SP, with about 32% of the vote, is not good news for the BJP, which has made efforts to keep the Hindu majority votes under a religious identity flag in the most populous state. The trends show that Akhilesh managed to break the BJP’s support base which it had managed to bring under Hindu identity in 2014 and continue to hold it in 2017 state elections and 2019 Lok Sabha, and take away a portion of non-Yadav OBC community support base.

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As of now, BJP leaders claim that its “development agenda” has worked marvelously in all the four states , except in Punjab where it says it did not have much stake in this election. However, the trend in Uttar Pradesh show that caste continues to be a significant factor.

The good news for the BJP in Uttar Pradesh are the signs of further disintegration of the BSP’s support base among the Dalits. Although it is not clear whether Mayawati has been able to hold her Jatav community votes – which forms 54 per cent of the total Scheduled Castes in the state — the outcome so far indicates that the BJP could have eaten into a portion of the Dalit votes in Uttar Pradesh.

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First published on: 10-03-2022 at 12:16:17 pm
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