Waiting for March 10

WITH the seventh and the final phase in Uttar Pradesh polls concluding on March 7, all eyes are now on the results which shall be declared on March 10 for the five states which went to polls - UP, Punjab, Goa, Manipur and Uttarakhand. However, it would be the outcome in Uttar Pradesh that shall be of crucial importance. Union home minister Amit Shah and the BJP president JP Nadda have exuded confidence that the Hindutva party will form the government in UP as well as the three other states of Goa, Uttarakhand and Manipur. They also asserted that the party will also make significant inroads in Punjab.

In the 2017 elections, the BJP had won 312 out of 403 seats with a vote share of 40 percent. This was the saffron party’s best performance in the state since its debut there in 1980. But since then the party has not won two successive terms in the state. Would it do this time? The party says it will break the jinx this time. And it may well do so. The exit polls have given the BJP in the state a clear edge over its rivals, even though with a rider that the party might get 100 seats less than the previous time. And AAP is expected to win in Punjab. But the BJP leaders have boasted that they will even beat the 2017 tally. And given the performance of the party over the last seven years, this may not be an empty boast.  The party has grown from strength to strength despite some occasional reverses in one or the other state. Talking about the jinx, the party has already broken it at the national level in 2019 when it secured a far bigger victory than it did in 2014. In 2003, the BJP government led by Atal Bihari Vajpayee had failed to win a second term despite running the high-decibel Shining India election campaign.

Be that as it may,  the ongoing polls in Uttar Pradesh  are of profound significance not only for the future of the state but also for India as a whole.  In UP, the election is high-stakes contest between the BJP led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Samajwadi Party. Congress and Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party are not considered in the reckoning. A victory for the BJP will yet again reinforce the political invincibility of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and further power his political cult. Two days more to go.

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