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Modi takes the wind out of Mahagathbandhan sail

Source: PTI
Last updated on: May 24, 2019 01:11 IST
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Riding on the crest of the Modi wave, Bharatiya Janata Party and its ally in Uttar Pradesh on Thursday dished out a grand performance in Uttar Pradesh, halting the efforts of the fledgling 'mahagathbandhan' to challenge the saffron brigade in the crucial Hindi heartland state.

IMAGE: BJP party workers celebrate after their party marched to a landslide victory. Photograph: Atul Loke/Getty Images

As counting progressed past midnight, the BJP and the Apna Dal-Sonelal consolidated their position, winning 64 seats together out of the 80 seats at stake.

The Bahujan Samaj Party won 10, while its alliance partner the Samajwadi Party won five.


Congress won the lone Raebareli seat of Sonia Gandhi.

In 2014 polls, BJP had won 71 seats and its ally Apna Dal-S two, while Samajwadi Party bagged five seats and Congress two. In three bypolls, the opposition had wrested Gorakhpur, Phulpur and Kairana from the BJP.

This time, the Modi wave not only smashed the SP-BSP alliance, but also uprooted Congress president Rahul Gandhi from the party bastion of Amethi, where Union minister Smriti Irani was leading comfortably to avenge her defeat in 2014.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi won from Varanasi seat defeating his nearest rival Shalini Yadav of SP by a margin of 4,79,505 votes, bettering his previous margin of 3,71,784 votes in 2014.

Sonia Gandhi retained Rae Bareli seat, defeating her nearest rival by 1,67,178 votes, the EC website said.

SP-BSP had supported Sonia Gandhi on this seat in Uttar Pradesh, once its favourite hunting ground.

Samajawadi Party founder Mulayam Singh Yadav won Mainpuri seat, while his son and SP president Akhilesh Yadav, who contested from Azamgarh, won by 2.59 lakh votes.

But the scene was not so rosy for other members of the Yadav clan as Akhilesh Yadav's wife Dimple and his cousin Dharmendra lost in Kannuaj and Badaun, respectively.

His another cousin Akshay lost from Firozabad, where Akhilesh's feuding uncle's presence as Pragatisheel Samajwadi Party-Lohia candidate queered the pitch of the SP.

A notable SP victory was that of party veteran Azam Khan, known for making controversial remarks, from Rampur where he was fighting against actor-turned-politician Jaya Prada. He defeated his nearest rival Jaya Prada by over one lakh votes.

Mayawati's BSP had drawn a blank last time, but this time her alliance with the SP appeared to have paid her dividends as her party won 10 seats.

Just ahead of the election, the SP and the BSP had cobbled together an alliance. The BSP contested 38 seats, the SP 37, leaving three for the Rashtriya Lok Dal. The alliance did not put up any candidate in Amethi and Raebareli.

But, despite the alliance, the RLD could not open its account with all the three candidates losing to the BJP.

Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh has retained Lucknow seat by defeating his nearest rival Poonam Sinha by over 3.4 lakh votes.

Union minister Maneka Gandhi won from Sultanpur seat, defeating her nearest rival BSP candidate Chandra Bhadra Singh Sonu by over 14,000 votes. She won by a margin of 14,526 votes, the EC said.

Union Minister Mahesh Sharma retained his Gautam Buddh Nagar Lok Sabha seat, bagging 8.30 lakh votes and BJP leader Hema Malini retained her Mathura seat by defeating RLD candidate Kunwar Narendra Singh. The actor-politician defeated Singh by a margin of 2,93,471 votes.

Union minister and leader of Apna Dal-Sonelal Anupriya Patel won from Mirzapur by 2,32,008 votes.

Reacting to poll results and party's poor performance, SP chief Akhilesh Yadav in a tweet said, "Janmat sweekaar. Uttar Pradesh ki sammanit janta va karyakartaon ko dhanyawaad (Mandate accepted. Thanks to the honourable voters of Uttar Pradesh and party workers)."

Mayawati termed the Lok Sabha poll results unprecedented and raised doubts over EVMs.

"Several shortcomings of conducting elections through EVMs have come to our notice and there is opposition to EVMs all over the country," she said.

Union minister Smriti Irani, who was poised to wrest Amethi seat from Congress president Rahul Gandhi, quoted a line from a famous poem to assert that nothing was impossible.

UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath attributed the impressive show by his party to the "alert voters" who he said have rejected the 'mahagathbandhan' (grand alliance) of opposition parties.

"It is high time for the opposition to introspect and shun politics of negativity," Adityanath said, giving full credit to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah for the "historic victory".

Meanwhile, as the polls results declared that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been re-elected, people in Varanasi claimed that Modi has once again got the blessings of Baba Kashi Vishwanath and Kal Bhairav -- Kashi ke Kotwaal (the guardian of Kashi). 

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