Updated: March 12, 2017 12:54:37 am
Prime Minister Narendra Modi guided the BJP to a massive two-third majority in Uttar Pradesh and a solid victory in Uttarakhand while Congress managed to bag Punjab and finished on top in Goa and Manipur in the country’s biggest mandate since the 2014 Lok Sabha polls. The BJP called the results a historic mandate and said it would take the country to new direction. “The historic mandate given to the BJP will give a new direction to Indian politics. It will end the politics of caste, dynasty (parivarvaad) and appeasement,” BJP President Amit Shah said.
From being the third largest group in the 403-member Uttar Pradesh assembly, the BJP, powered by an aggressive campaign spearheaded by Modi, catapulted to winning a whopping 324 seats — a never-before showing by any party in the country’s most populous state. The Samajwadi Party-Congress allaince managed to win just 55 seats, while Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party was reduced to just 19 seats in the mega state. While Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav gracefully accepted the defeat and handed over the resgnation to Governor, Mayawati attributed the rout to the tampering of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) by the BJP, a charge which was rejcted by the Election Commission
Proving to be a liability for the SP in UP, the Congress suffered an equally humiliating defeat in neighbouring Uttarakhand too. The BJP ousted it from power, winning 57 of the 70 seats, some of the winners being disgruntled Congress veterans who had joined the saffron outfit. The Congress was left with just 11 MLAs, with outgoing Chief Minister Harish Rawat losing both the seats he contested. “It is a monumental setback. We are disappointed with Uttar Pradesh,” Congress spokesman Sanjay Jha said. Added Congress leader Sandeep Dikshit: “Our party is looking confused.”
In Goa, however, the BJP performed badly as they were reduced to 13 seats with Congress finishing with 18 seats out of 40 seats. Both the parties have claimed to form the government in the coastal state. Goa Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar, who failed to retain his assembly seat, resigned after failing to steer his party BJP to victory. He submitted his resignation to Governor Mridula Sinha as results indicated that BJP would fall well short of halfway mark. The regional parties Goa Forward and the MGp now hold the key for the next government. New entrant Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) was also routed.
In Manipur again, both Congress and the BJP fell short of majorty. With 26 winners, the Congress led the BJP (22 winners) in the troubled northeastern state of Manipur that it rules. But with both groups falling short of a majority in the 60-member house, smaller parties will play a key role in government formation.
The Congress, however, had plenty to celebrate in Punjab where it returned to power comfortably after a decade in the opposition, crushing both the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal-BJP combine as well as the AAP that was confident of winning in the border state. Led by former Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, who turned 75 on Saturday, the Congress won as many as 77 of the 117 seats, leaving the AAP with just 22 seats but as the main opposition in the assembly. The Akals and BJP had just 18 seats, with as many as 10 ministers worsted in the battle.
After the results, Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi congratulated Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the BJP’s victory in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand and thanked the people of Punjab for giving the Congress a mandate for the state’s “bright future”. He said the party stands resolute and committed to its values of a united India and will continue its fight to win people’s hearts. “I congratulate Shri Narendra Modi and the BJP on their victory in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand,” he said in a tweet. The Prime Minister responded to him and thanked him for his wishes. “Thank you. Long live democracy!” Modi tweeted back.
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