Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) secured a landslide win in the general elections as the counting of votes ended late on Thursday.
BJP got absolute majority this time, a first in 50 years.
Of the 542 parliamentary seats where elections were held, the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) won 353 seats. For BJP alone, the tally was 303 seats, for the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) 92 seats, for Congress alone 52 seats and for others 98 seats.
The Congress chief Rahul Gandhi conceded defeat to BJP’s Smriti Irani in Amethi constituency in Uttar Pradesh although he won the Wyanad seat in Kerala by a huge margin.
At a brief media conference on Thursday evening, Rahul said he respects people’s mandate and congratulated Modi for his party’s victory.
The presser came amid reports that following the party’s poor show, Rahul expressed his wish to step down as president. Senior party leaders, however, said this will decided only when the Congress Working Committee meets on Saturday.
Among other big losers from Congress were Digvijay Singh from Bhopal, Shiela Dikshit from North-East Delhi, Sushilkumar Shinde from Solapur, Bhupinder Singh Hooda from Sonipat, Ashok Chavan from Nanded, Harish Rawat from Nainital, Mallikarjun Karge from Gulbarga, Jyotiraditya Scindia from Guna, Veerappa Moily from Chikkaballapur and Milind Deora from Mumbai South.
BJP’s saffron wave swept almost the entire India except in Kerala and Punjab where Congress did extremely well. In Tamil Nadu, UPA partner DMK won most seats.
BJP made significant inroads in Bengal where its seats rose to 18 from two in 2014 elections while Trinamool’s seats came down to 22 from 34. Congress managed to win or take lead in just two constituencies while the Left could not get a single seat.
This came a big blow to Trinamool Congress chief and Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee who had vowed to “throw Modi out of India” if the Opposition alliance came to power.
Defying the challenge from regional Samajwadi Party (SP) and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), who were wooing minority votes, BJP did extremely well in the decisive Uttar Pradesh state by winning 62 of the 80 seats. SP-BSP alliance won a total of 15 seats. BJP’s ally Apna Dal secured two seats while Congress got just one.
Most media reports had predicted only some 45 seats for BJP. The saffron party had won 71 seats in the 2014 general elections when SP and BSP were going it alone.
The two socialist parties, who were key partners in the so-called ‘Mahagadhbandan’ (MHB) or Grand Alliance formed in the run-up to the 2019 general election, performed better than in the 2014 election.
BSP, which could not secure even a single seat last time, won the seats of Jaunpur, Ambedkar Nagar, Shrawasti, Amroha, Lalganj, Ghosi, Ghazipur, Saharanpur, Bunor and Nagina. SP won Azamgarh, Mainpuri, Moradabad, Sambhal and Rampur seats.
In Rajasthan, BJP made history by winning all the 25 parliamentary seats. The party secured all seats in Himachal Pradesh and Delhi too.
Among the big winners in elections were Narendra Modi (Varanasi, BJP), Amit Shah (Gandhinagar, BJP), Sonia Gandhi (Raebareli, Congress), Rajnath Singh (Lucknow, BJP), Ravi Shankar Prasad (Patna Sahib, BJP), Nitin Gadkari (Nagpur, BJP), Shashi Tharoor (Thiruvanathapuram, Congress), Pragya Thakur (Bhopal, BJP), Farooq Abdullah (Srinagar, BJP), Harsimrat Kaur Badal(Bathinda, SAD), Supriya Sule (Baramati, NCP) Babul Supriyo (Asansol, BJP), Manish Tewari (Anandpur Sahib, Congress) and Asaduddin Owaisi (Hyderabad, AIMIM) .
Among the big losers were Deve Gowda (Tumkur, JDS), Mehbooba Mufti (PDP, Anantnag), Prakash Ambedkar (Solapur, BBA) and Anant Geete (Raigad, Shiv Sena).
The Congress has to do some introspection as the emergence of Rahul Gandhi as party chief and Priyanka Gandhi as general secretary in-charge of eastern Uttar Pradesh hardly made any impact on the party’s electoral fortunes.
The ‘grand alliance’ experiment by 20-odd opposition parties proved to be a disaster as they were overwhelmed by the Modi wave which even a large section of media never expected after 2014 polls.