The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) rode a Modi super-wave to a massive victory in Uttar Pradesh, with the party all set to end its exile of 14 years. Holi has arrived two days early for the party as it celebrates its most crucial win since winning the 2014 national election. Soon after the win, BJP president Amit Shah today said that BJP’s performance in the assembly elections was courtesy Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s pro-poor policies. Election results declared today showed a BJP victory in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand but a loss in Punjab.
Though Shah has given the credit to Modi, but one thing that cannot be denied here is that Amit Shah has once again proven that he is an unparalleled engineer of electoral strategies. The wave that led the BJP to sweep in Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections was carefully crafted by Shah over a long period of time when he camped at the Lucknow head office of the party and traversed the state for months, even landing in small towns in his chopper.
After losing Bihar, all eyes were fixed on Shah’s performance in UP, and he has proved that people don’t call him ‘Chanakya’ without any reason. Shah has once again retained the support of the caste groups that don’t get proper representation in Samajwadi Party (SP) and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP).
Today, the landslide victory of the BJP wasn’t expected. But after the result, it is Shah who deserves the crown. The crown should be placed firmly on his head as he is the one who has lead the BJP to one of its most iconic victories in Uttar Pradesh, a mandate that even surpasses the one given to Kalyan Singh in 1991.
After general elections 2014 he had been declared man of the match by Modi and was appointed as youngest national president of BJP. He delivered Maharashtra and Haryana to BJP after becoming president. Though he lost Bihar, but didn’t lose hope till the last day of campaigning in UP.
Shah reportedly put in efforts for almost a year to strategize the campaign strategy in a state that was previously not known to be a BJP bastion. Shah is said to have skillfully balanced the candidatures in the caste-ridden state, by fielding candidates from all castes.
The decision to make Keshav Prasad Maurya as the UP BJP chief has also proved to be a good decision of Shah, as the OBCs have voted in favour of the saffron brigade.
Elevation of Keshav Maurya, the MP from Phulpur was a part of this strategy. Induction of Mayawati loyalist Swami Prasad Maurya was yet another. Alliance with small political outfits like Suheldev Bhartiya Samaj Party and Apna Dal in East UP completed his strategic plan.
Another feather in Shah’s cap is the added advantage in mobilising the MBCs. Unlike the core BJP upper caste voters, the MBCs which constitute nearly 15 percent of the total electorate in UP as a community are aggressive and tenacious in electoral politics. Their support has played a major role in this landslide victory.
With scientific caste data, Shah also created permutations and combinations for each constituency. This was best depicted by the selection of candidates and a campaign guidebook distributed by the party to each candidate with constituency-specific issues and tactics. The BJP faced a lot of criticism for importing turncoats from the SP, the BSP and the Congress, but in the end all these decisions have proved to be fruitful for the saffron brigade.
These elections were always crucial for the BJP. There was a lot at stake for PM Modi and Amit Shah. But as they say ‘all’s well that ends well’. The lotus has bloomed in UP after a very long gap. It probably means that in 2019, PM Modi could become the first non-Congress Prime Minister to retain power.