The year 2014 was decisive in Indian politics, with the advent of saffron wave in the country, and the BJP sweeping the Lok Sabha General Elections and conquering states under the leadership of Narendra Modi who was declared as the prime ministerial candidate in 2013.
By the time, India saw the 2019 General Elections, ‘Brand Modi’ had become huge with the BJP’s spectacular wins in Assam, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand assembly elections. The BJP received a huge mandate in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, breaking the 2014 record.
Let’s look at the assembly election wins by the BJP in the last eight years:
2016 Assam Election
The BJP won 86 seats in the 126-seat Assam assembly in 2016 with then sports minister Sarabanda Sonowal ending the 15-year-old rule of Congress leader Tarun Gogoi. Congress secured meagre 26 seats. This was a significant victory for the BJP who had made its foray into the Northeast with the Assam win.
Sonowal thanked PM Narendra Modi for the Assam win, and said the people of the state supported BJP because of Modi’s efforts on development for the country.
Modi had said, “I am sure that Sarbananda ji will leave no stone unturned for the development of Assam.”
Epic Win in Uttar Pradesh in 2017
The BJP won the Uttar Pradesh election with a massive mandate, riding on the ‘Modi wave’, by securing 324 seats out of the 403 seats in the state assembly –- the biggest majority of any party in the state since 1980.
Former finance minister late Arun Jaitley called the mandate as people’s endorsement of demonetisation, which he stressed was pro-poor and reformist.
Modi had singled out Varanasi as the main focus of his attention ahead of the polls. The Samajwadi Party and Congress got 54 seats and the Bahujan Samaj Party secured 19 seats, its worst performance so far in the UP assembly election.
Many said the BJP’s win in the 2017 UP polls was a mere reassertion of the 2014 Lok Sabha results. Describing the mood in the polls, Milan Vaishnav, in Carnegie Endowment, wrote, “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 Conquest
The BJP put out a strong performance in the 2017 Uttarakhand polls, and won 57 seats out of the 70-seat assembly, while the Congress secured only 11 and other parties got two seats.
The state, which alternately votes for the BJP and Congress, supported the former in 2017, riding on the Modi wave while in the previous election the Congress managed to get power with the help of the PDF. Narendra Modi and anti-incumbency against chief minister Harish Rawat led to BJP’s win the state.
Tripura Triumph in 2018
The BJP had always said without the tribal vote it cannot win Tripura. A month before winning 43 seats while reducing the CPM to 16 seats, the BJP tied up with the IPFT (Indigenous People’s Front of Tripura). The tribal party won eight out of nine seats it had contested.
The BJP’s victory in Tripura opened its channel to expand its footprints in other northeastern state. The party, which has never polled over 2% of votes since 1983 state elections, ended the 25-year rule of Left in the tiny northeastern state. The Congress, however, got 1.8% of votes in 2018 compared to 36.33% votes in the previous assembly polls.
“Today, peace and non-violence has prevailed over fear. We will provide Tripura the good government that the state deserves,” Modi had tweeted.
The major architects of the Tripura win were: Maharastra-born RSS pracharak Sunil Deodar who took a call for BJP to take on CPM chief minister Manik Sarkar; Biplap Deb who was pitted by the party as a young face; Ram Madhav – a full-time RSS worker since 1981; Himanta Biswa Sarma, who quit Congress to join the saffron party in 2015. Sarma was the key person in stitching alliance with the Indigenous Peoples Front of Tripura.
Assam Ascent in 2021
The BJP win in 2021 in Assam underscored the fact the massive protests in the state against the Citizenship Amendment Act in 2019 did not have any impact on the election results. A new record was created where a first 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.
Although the government was praised for its handling of Covid-19 pandemic, but it is not clear if that was the key factor in leading the BJP to the goalpost. But strong regional leaders like Himanta Biswa Sarma and Sarbananda Sonowal helped BJP win greatly in the election.
Modi had tweeted, “The people of Assam have again blessed the NDA’s development agenda and the pro-people track record of our Government in the state. I thank the people of Assam for the blessings. I appreciate the hard work of NDA Karyakartas and their untiring efforts in serving the people.”
BJP UP-swing 2022
Once again, the BJP created history under PM Modi by winning over 250 seats in the 403-seat assembly in UP, thus, stamping its second consecutive win in the state, breaking the three-decade jinx of state governments returning to power.
PM Narendra Modi praised Yogi Adityanath’s achievement as he won the Gorakhpur seat by more than 1 lakh votes, and suggested that UP’s victory would pave way for the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.
“The false propaganda regarding EVMs and election material over the last few days have been rejected,” Yogi Adityanath had said apparently targeting Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav over EVM tampering allegations.
‘Modi Magic’ Remained Intact in Uttarakhand 2022
This time again, the hill state voted for the BJP throwing off its trend of choosing alternately between the Congress and saffron party. Despite appointing a slew of chief ministers, including Trivendra Singh Rawat and Pushkar Singh Dhami, in just a few months, the BJP secured 47 seats in the 70-member assembly.
The “double engine” narrative and “Modi magic” worked for Dhami who lost from Khatima this year.
The work done by the Centre and state government during the Covid-19 pandemic that disrupted the state’s economy, which heavily depends on tourism from Char Dham Yatra and Kumbh Mela among others, received a positive response. Vaccination in the remotest part of the hill state was achieved; access to cooking gas, financial aid to girls, free ration, work under MGREGA translated into votes for the BJP.
Manipur Mandate 2022
The BJP returned to power in Manipur by bagging 32 seats in the 60-member assembly on its own while the Congress managed to secure only five seats. The Naga People’s Front and Kuki People’s Alliance won five and two seats respectively.
Incumbent chief minister N Biren Singh, who won from Heingang seat defeating rival Congress, took to Twitter to thank Narendra Modi for the “historic victory” and his “dynamic leadership”.
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