New Delhi: A ‘Modi tsunami’ began to blow over India since early Friday morning, no sooner had counting of votes begun to call the world’s largest democratic exercise in history. The Bharatiya Janata Party grabbed early leads and went on to consolidate them minute by minute, forcing on the ruling Congress-led UPA its worst performance ever.
The results delivered for the BJP was the biggest victory margins in the country’s polity since 1984. And with the Congress’ tally of 43 seats (and the UPA’s 58), the BJP will not even have a strong Opposition in Parliament. The BJP alone snatched 283, and the NDA juggernaut finally halted at 337.
NDA constituted Shiv Sena (19), TDP (16), LJP (6), Sad (4), RLSP (3), SWP (2), AD (2), NPF, AINRC, NPP and PML 1 each.
UPA’s NCP got 5, RJD 4, IUML 2, JMM 2 and KECM 1.
Others managed 144 with Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa accounting for 36 and Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee 34. BJP got 18, TRS 11, CPM 9, YSRC 8, SP 5, AAP 4, AIUDF 3, PDP 3 and JDU and JDS 2 each. Bahujan Samaj Party failed to even open an account.
All regional lords, who were hoping to be wooed by the NDA, were either wiped out or had no idea what to do with their MPs. It would be easier to remember these elections on the basis of those who have not been wiped out, said a political expert with tongue firmly in cheek.
This is the strongest anti-incumbency mandate delivered by India, and the BJP’s gains — of nearly 200 seats from last time — is exactly the number deducted from the Congress’ last tally.
At a victory rally in Vadodara, Narendra Modi called himself ‘Mazdoor No 1’ who will surrender his ‘time and body’ to work for the wellbeing of the people of India. Modi struck all the right cords and promised inclusive growth for the country. “Sabka saath, sabka vikaas,” he said, emphasising that he would “walk with everyone to bring development for everyone”.
Party chief Rajnath Singh told the media: “The India success story is not over. It will be rewritten.”
Later in the day, both Sonia and Rahul Gandhi claimed they were responsible for the defeat. “I hold myself completely responsible,” said Rahul Gandhi. Sonia said: “There is win and defeat in a democracy. I congratulate the new government. I hope it will not compromise with key issues. I accept this mandate given by the people.”
The Congress’ face these elections Rahul Gandhi was initially trailing from Amethi and that seemed to sum up the party’s fortunes for the 16th Lok Sabha. Rahul later won by 1.7 lakh votes. Congress chief Sonia Gandhi won from Rae Bareli by over 3 lakh.
Narendra Modi won Vadodara by an emphatic margin of 5.7 lakh votes. “This is historical. You have made me part of history with these unprecedented numbers,” Narendra Modi told the people of Vadodara.
His rival in Varanasi Arvind Kejriwal, however, pared down his margin in that constituency to below a lakh. Modi loyalist Arun Jaitley, however, lost to Congress’ Captain Amarinder Singh from Amritsar in his debut Lok Sabha fight. But since Jaitley is a Rajya Sabha member, he is in the contention for an important Cabinet berth.
Later, a very emotional L K Advani said: “There has never been an election like this before in India. I want all political parties to learn from this poll.”
The anti-corruption crusader Aam Admi Party, which had based its campaign solely on a Modi-bashing agenda, was also decimated barring in Punjab where they won in 4 constiteuncies.
It was clear from the beginning that India had voted for development during the five-week bitterly fought elections. The mandate swept aside caste ‘Mayajaals’, smashed through regional strongholds and even triumphed in states like Assam, Kerala and West Bengal where BJP votes had been unheard of.
The first victory came in from Baghpat where RLD’s Ajith Singh ceded ground to former Mumbai police commissioner and BJP candidate Satyapal Singh.
The BJP swept Delhi, Uttar Pradesh (BJP broke all records by leading in 73 of the 80 seats), Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan et all. Among regional satraps, AIADMK chief J Jayalalithaa and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress (34 out of 42) decisively won their respective states. But Mayawati, Nitish Kumar, Mulayam Singh and Omar Abdullah fell by the wayside. Laloo Prasad Yadav made some sort of a comeback in Bihar but his wife Rabri and daughter Misa lost.
The BJP fared well too in the south of the Vindhyas, except in Tamil Nadu where Chief Minister Jayalalithaa trampled on all opposition, bagging 37 of the 39 seats. In the two states of Andhra Pradesh, the BJP did well in Seemandhra with partner Chandrababu Naidu’s TDP.
In Karnataka where BJP had opened its south account for the first time, it was way ahead of the Congress.
In Kerala, Congress-led UDF was leading the LDF by a slim margin.
Here is the BJP/NDA’s tally in key states and Union Territories:
Uttar Pradesh: 73/80
Madhya Pradesh: 27/29
Arunachal Pradesh: 1/2
Himachal Pradesh: 4/5
Dadra Nagar Haveli: 1/1
Daman & Diu: 1/1
Andaman Nicobar Islands: 1/1
Jammu and Kashmir: 3/6
Counting began Friday in India’s general election at 8 am and postal ballots were the first to be tallied at the 989 counting centres nationwide, with electronic voting machines analysed afterwards. We shall continue to bring you live election results and news till the last seat is declared.
The 16, Ashoka Road office of the BJP was all drums since morning, with ‘laddoos’ in full supply. Senior BJP leaders Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi and Prakash Javdekar began playing drums to celebrate the massive BJP win in the Lok Sabha elections. The BJP had ordered three tons of ‘laddoos’ on Thursday.
As it became increasingly clear that the Congress was heading for a crushing defeat, some 15-20 party workers began raising slogans in favour of Rahul Gandhi’s sister, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra at the party headquarters.
Carrying placards that said, “Waqt ki pukar, Priyanka Gandhi’, they also shouted slogans seeking Priyanaka’s entry into politics amidst the dull atmosphere that otherwise prevailed in the party office.
The workers mood once again reflected what many in the party and many political analysts have felt for long — that Priyanka possesses the charisma and the political sharpness that can perhaps revive the sagging fortunes of the Congress.
Priyanka, in fact, campaigned for both her brother Rahul Gandhi and her mother Sonia Gandhi in Amethi and Rae Bareli, respectively. She managed to grab eyeballs particularly with her sharp riposts to comments made by BJP leaders and in particular its prime ministerial candidate, Narendra Modi.
With the Congress set to register its worst ever performance in the Lok Sabha polls, the mood in the Congress office at 24 Akbar Road was visibly morose.
None of the senior Congress leaders except for Satyavrat Chaturvedi had turned up at the party headquarters until 10 am. But he wasn’t willing to speak to the large number of mediapersons present there.
The person left fielding media queries was the far junior Ragini Nayak leader who is counted among the party’s younger leaders.
The President communicated on Thursday to the Ministry Of Home Affairs that he should be informed of the entire election process results post 3 pm on Friday. Yesterday, the MHA led by home secretary Anil Goswami had contacted The President’s secretariat and they were told to get in touch post 3 pm on Friday afternoon.
The centre-state division in the home ministry was all geared up and watching the election results coming in carefully. The Ministry has to make all the administrative arrangements in close coordination with the President secretariat which include the swearing in of the new government, MHA sources said.
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The story so far:
Today’s election results has delivered the verdict on an intense campaign that was seen by many as a direct battle between the Gandhis, who head the Congress, and Narendra Modi, the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate.
Rahul Gandhi’s bid to give his party a third consecutive term was called lacklustre even by allies, and his speeches at rallies up and down the country in recent months were far paler than Mr Modi’s electrifying campaign, during which the BJP leader repeatedly derided Rahul, 43, and his mother Sonia for keeping India poor.
Rahul fronted the campaign for the Congress. He is party vice-president.
Exit polls showed the Congress may be saddled with its worst-ever performance.
By some measures, the Congress’ first family was in decline long before the Parliamentary election; it has not won a majority in decades.
But few would write off the clan completely even though today’s result was humiliating. Sonia Gandhi, described as the power behind the prime ministerial throne occupied by Manmohan Singh, also delivered Congress its worst result to date in 1999. She then led the party to victory in the next two elections.
During this election, Narendra Modi contrasted his humble past as the low-caste son of a tea seller.
In one recent newspaper interview, he said the Gandhi family’s leadership could come under threat if the party failed to win 100 of Parliament’s 543 seats, as some polls predicted. With the party barely crossing 50, that remains to be seen.
The scale of Narendra Modi’s antipathy to the Gandhis was on display at the start of the campaign last year, when he launched the construction of the world’s tallest statue, a Rs 2,030 crore, 182-metre tall homage to Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, Prime Minister Nehru’s deputy and Home Minister, who was often at odds with him.
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Narendra Modi sees Sardar Patel as a symbol of an India imagined without the dynasty, who would have led the country down a different, right-wing path if he had not been thwarted by the socialist and atheist Nehru.
“Every Indian regrets Sardar Patel did not become the first prime minister. Had he been the first prime minister, the country’s fate and face would have been completely different,” Modi said at the time.
Narendra Modi has said that if he was elected, his government would not practice “vendetta” politics or witch-hunts.
Going by his record in Gujarat, Narendra Modi prefers to move methodically against his opponents – often with the help of close aide Amit Shah, who held multiple posts in the Gujarat government and led his campaign in strategically vital Uttar Pradesh.
After Modi took office as Chief Minister of Gujarat in 2001, political analysts say Shah, a former stockbroker, helped him consolidate power by squeezing Congress loyalists out of non-state institutions, such as the state’s banking and dairy cooperatives, which are economically powerful and influence the lives of millions of voters.
Modi is now the longest-serving chief minister in Gujarat’s history, a fact that has helped lure high-profile defectors away from Congress ranks. In the last two years, hundreds of Congress workers have switched sides in the state, including some of its top leaders.
In the hours after the exit polls came out, Congress leaders were quick to shift the blame for any potential loss away from Rahul’s handling of the campaign.
“There are no leadership changes, there are no nights of the long knives, there’s no mindless recrimination, and as a political party that has known defeat before we work towards victory again,” said Mani Shankar Aiyar, a former minister and family loyalist.