It was a day of surprises, a day of ups and downs, a day when the mood that was felt on the ground until then felt like farce with the results.
Travels through the Purvanchal region of Uttar Pradesh – Eastern Uttar Pradesh – had given a certain sense but it was debunked with the results. The issues of inflation, stray cattle, farm laws, and unemployment gave a sense of anger and an impression that a change was desirable. But Thursday’s results have made those issues appear hollow.
As young Jay Mishra would say, “Baat rashtravaad ki hai – It’s about nationalism.”
Uttar Pradesh elections have established that every sentiment is irrelevant. The mudda – issue – is “Hindutva ka rashtravaad” – Hindu nationalism – and slogans of “Har har Modi, har ghar Yogi”. The 2022 assembly elections have cemented the narrative that began in the guise of ideology in 2014.
Meanwhile, at the Samajwadi Party's office in Lucknow, the mood had become a downer by 11 am. The Vikramaditya Road leading to the office was empty and was simmering with a wailing silence. Supporters and party workers were sitting and closely watching the election results on their phones outside the office.
It was only 11 am but the Bharatiya Janata Party was swinging between 200-220 seats and SP was swinging between 170-180. A sympathiser there gave up on the numbers in hopelessness.
“Overconfidence once again punctured them," said an SP sympathiser.
By 1 pm, the mood at the SP office became grim as numbers for BJP started to climb and settle. There was desolation, anger, and disbelief. The news vans that were covering the results were forced to wrap up and leave. The gates to the office were tightly closed with a dismal number of supporters continuing to chant and sloganeer in some hope. But as numbers continued to slide, the supporters started to disperse to nearby tea stalls. There were tears in their eyes and disbelief on their forehead that was soaking in misery that they had not imagined. Overconfidence began to be discussed in hushed tones of disbelief.
It became clear that the mood on the ground, the josh, the anger, the undercurrent, the neck-to-neck expected fight had become irrelevant to the mammoth numbers - once again!
Wiping tears, many SP loyalists felt that they lacked micro-management on the ground. Others felt that over-allegiance to the alliance and late ticket-distribution were their faults. Soon all flaws and faults started to come to the fore.
As SP went into a hush, BJP headquarters boomed with the colours of joy, victory, and history. The myth of Uttar Pradesh that no party or chief minister repeats their term had been shattered. Yogi Adityanath had made history. His agenda and politikeering had got him Uttar Pradesh again.
This was an election where the mood among the supporters - the bhakts - was "aayega to Yogi hi".
By 2 pm, the victory had been established for BJP irrespective of whatever mood and emotions were baked. The party managed to regain its control over UP, a state through which the road to Delhi is said to pass.
While there was "hawa" - wind - for no one, there was an undercurrent that was dominant. The results have shown that this undercurrent was for BJP.