Modi@8: Eight spectacular state Assembly victories under Prime Minister Narendra Modi


modi8-logoThe BJP has been a political juggernaut since the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government came to power at the Centre in 2014.

The party, powered by Brand Modi, has scored massive victories in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand, while treading new ground in Assam and Manipur.

Let’s look at eight spectacular Assembly polls for the BJP since 2014:

2016 Assam polls

The BJP had for years been attempting to find its footing in the North East.

In 2016, it finally happened in memorable fashion when the saffron party, led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, loosened the Congress’ iron grip on Assam (which it had ruled for 15 straight years under Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi).

The BJP in the final tally won a massive 86 seats against a paltry 26 seats of the Congress.

Then BJP chief ministerial candidate Sarbananda Sonowal had credited the victory to the prime minister, telling hm that the BJP won the support of the people of Assam due to Modi's efforts at leading the country on the path of development.

Modi for his part labelled the BJP's win 'historic and phenomenal' and had vowed to do everything possible to fulfil the dreams and aspirations of the people of the state and take its development journey to new heights.

2017 UP polls

What more can be said about the BJP’s performance in the 2017 Uttar Pradesh polls?

Incredible. Stunning. Historic.

Ahead of the 2017 Assembly polls, Modi singled out Varanasi  as the focus on his attention. The result was the BJP proving the pollsters wrong (many were left perplexed) by scoring a massive 325 seats (including its allies) – a two-thirds majority – and sweeping aside its rivals the Samajwadi Party, Congress and Bahujan Samaj Party.

That sensational performance was the first time in nearly 40 years that a party crossed the 300-mark in India’s most populous state.

The BJP also doubled its vote share in the state – to over 40 per cent -- since the previous Assembly polls in 2012.

BJP followers celebrate the party’s resounding victory in Uttar Pradesh in March 2017. AFP

Meanwhile, its rivals were trounced thoroughly: the SP and Congress got just 54 seats (with a 28 per cent vote share) and the BSP falling to  just 19 seats (its worst-ever performance on its home turf).

Writing in Carnegie Endowment, Milan Vaishnav summed the mood of the voters in 2017 thus: “More than a vote for the BJP, this was a vote for Modi. The results create more political space for the BJP to govern, and they improve the party’s electoral prospects ahead of the 2019 general elections. Meanwhile, they also add momentum to efforts to recast the party in Modi’s mold.”

“The first and most obvious takeaway from the BJP victory is that Modi is the most popular politician in India, and by a long shot. There is simply no opposition politician, either in New Delhi or in the state capitals, that comes close. Indeed, right now Modi is able to garner more votes than any other democratic leader on the planet,” Vaishnav added.

2017 Uttarakhand polls

Since being created in 2000, Uttarakhand alternately elected to power Congress and BJP governments. While that trend would continue for the moment, what is important to note is the manner of victory for the BJP.

The BJP and Congress had in 2012 election, been almost at par. The grand old party only managed to take power in Uttarakhand with an assist from the PDF.

That changed in 2017, when the BJP, being lifted by the Modi wave, won an overwhelming victory. The BJP prevailed in 56 of 69 seats, while the grand old party was reduced in numbers to a paltry 11 in the Assembly.

BJP leaders credited Modi for the victory as well as the anti-incumbency factor against Chief Minister Harish Rawat.

Tripura 2018

In 2018, the BJP caused quite a stir in tiny state of Tripura by ending the 25-year rule of the CPM-led Left.

The achievement of the BJP of expanding its footprint in the North East was made even more impressive in light of the fact that the BJP drew a complete blank in the state during the previous Assembly polls.

In fact, since 1983 state elections, the BJP had never polled (barring 1998) over two per cent of votes.

BJP then National General Secretary Ram Madhav and former Tripura BJP chief Biplab Kumar Deb display victory sign as they celebrate with supporters after party's victory in Tripura Assembly elections results in Agartala on 3 March 2018. BJP's win marks an end to 25 years of CPI-M government rule in the state. PTI

The saffron party, along with its ally the Indigenous People’s Front of Tripura (IPFT) defeated the Left in its bastion: winning 43 seats, while reducing the CPM to 16 seats and the Congress to nil.

The Congress, which had won 10 seats and 36.53 percent votes in the last Assembly polls, got a mere 1.8 percent of votes.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had called the outcome an ideological victory and had even memorably paused his victory speech in Delhi after the loudspeaker of a mosque had called for azaan.

“Today, peace and non-violence has prevailed over fear. We will provide Tripura the good  government that the state deserves,” Modi later tweeted.

Assam 2021

The BJP in 2021 defied the anti-incumbency factor as well as the controversy over the Citizenship Amendment Act to retain power in Assam.

The BJP with this win also created a new record: the first occasion when a non-Congress alliance won a consecutive term in the state.

The BJP, AGP and UPPL won 60, 9 and 6 seats, while the Congress, AIMIM, BPF and CPI(M) won  29, 16, 4 and 1 seats respectively.

The party garnered a vote share of 33.21 per cent, while the Congress got the second-highest vote share at 29.67 per cent.

Among other major political parties, the Assam Gana Parishad got 7.91 percent votes while the All India United Democratic Front got 9.29 percent votes.

Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal defeated his nearest Congress rival and former Congress Minister Rajib Lochan Pegu by 43,192 votes to retain his Majuli seat for the second consecutive term.

Among the prominent candidates who won were state minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, who retained his Jalukbari constituency for the fifth consecutive term defeating his Congress opponent Romen Chandra Borthakur by a whopping 1,01,911 votes, improving upon his previous record of 85,935 votes in 2016.

Modi in the aftermath of the win tweeted:

UP Assembly polls in 2022

The BJP, led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi created history in Uttar Pradesh by returning to power with a massive majority: 250 out of 403 seats.

Political watchers ascribed much of that result to the double-engine governments of Modi at the Centre and Yogi Adityanath (who broke a 37-year jinx of state governments being switched) as well as ‘decisive intervention’ from Prime Minister Narendra Modi to quell the dissent against Yogi from certain sections of the BJP before it got out of hand.

While Yogi remained the face of the BJP in the state, it was the prime minister himself who led much of the campaign.

Indeed, a slew of BJP leaders were quick to heap praise on the prime minister, chalking up the win to the prime minister’s social welfare schemes and saying that the public mood was bent on development.

Modi, himself in an ebullient mood after the BJP’s big win, said the results for 2022 have decided the mood for the 2024 polls.

Uttarakhand polls 2022

Remember Uttarakhand’s proclivity of alternating between Congress and BJP since its creation in 2000?

Well, the 2022 polls put paid to all that.

Despite a flurry of obstacles including the BJP appointing three different chief ministers in 2021 (a little-known Pushkar Singh Dhami would take over just months prior to the polls), the state’s economy slammed by COVID and an agitation by Char Dham priests against a new regulatory board, the ‘Modi magic’ remained intact.

BJP supporters celebrate with colour after the party’s win in Uttarakhand Assembly polls, at BJP state office, in Dehradun on 10 March, 2022. PTI

The saffron party created history by successfully retaining power: it ended up with 45 seats in the 70-seat Assembly and a massive 44 per cent vote share.

The Congress, meanwhile, bagged just 19 seats and got a 37. 91 per cent vote share.

Union minister Sarbananda Sonowal, credited the BJP victory to the double-engine growth witnessed under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Dhami, who would taste defeat in his own Khatima constituency by around 6,500 votes, said, "New records are being made since PM Modi became PM. I am thankful to party and central leadership for giving an opportunity to a person like me of a humble background."

Manipur 2022

Much like Assam in 2021, the BJP returned to power in style in Manipur in 2022 but this time with a difference: securing a simple majority on its own power.

The saffron party won 32 of the total 60 seats in the 60-seat Assembly, while its estranged allies the Naga People's Party (NPP) and the Naga People's Front (NPF) won seven and five seats respectively. The Congress could only manage five seats.

Modi during the campaign had assailed the Congress and exhorted the people to vote against those that had made “bandhs and blockades the fate of Manipur”.

Chief Minister N Biren Singh said on Twitter that the poll verdict was a “the historic victory” and “a testament of the people’s faith in the dynamic leadership” of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the party’s “citizen-centric governance”

‘Brand Modi going strong’

As DK Singh observed in The Print in the aftermath of the polls: "Coming in the backdrop of the pandemic that cost thousands of lives and caused enormous economic hardships, as also the year-long farmers’ agitation, the results come as a revalidation of Brand Modi. Although the BJP had chief ministers in the four states it is leading in, Prime Minister Narendra Modi was the party’s face. It also puts to rest scepticism about his impact on Assembly polls."

"Given that except Yogi, none of the other BJP CMs were mass leaders, Thursday’s verdict comes as a resounding endorsement of Brand Modi," Singh added.

The BJP, it seems, is well poised for the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.

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Modi@8: Eight spectacular state Assembly victories under Prime Minister Narendra Modi
Modi@8: Eight spectacular state Assembly victories under Prime Minister Narendra Modi
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