BJP Fares Poorly in UP, Khanduri Loses in Uttarakhand

New Delhi
BJP Fares Poorly in UP, Khanduri Loses in Uttarakhand
The results of the Assembly elections were nothing to exult about for BJP with the party faring poorly in Uttar Pradesh and its chief minister B C Khanduri losing in Uttarakhand although it grabbed Goa from Congress.

In Punjab, the party rode back to power because of ally Akali Dal even though its tally declined from 19 in 2007 to 12 this time in the 117-member House. The BJP also managed only two seats in Manipur in the 60-member Assembly.

The biggest jolt to the BJP has come in UP where its expectations were high but these hopes were dashed as it could manage only 49 seats, two less than the 2007 total of 51.

BJP Nitin Gadkari and Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj accepted that the results had not come upto their expectations and there was a need to introspect.

"In Uttar Pradesh, the results have not been upto our expectations.... There was a polarisation of votes between two parties. The people were against Mayawati and so chose Samajwadi Party as the alternative," Gadkari said.

He reasoned that since there was resentment against BSP rule and the electorate wanted to choose a party which was in a position to get the majority, the voters felt their vote would go waste if they voted for any other party other than the SP. He said the party does not hold anybody responsible for its performance in UP.

Swaraj said there was a need for serious introspection about the BJP performance in UP.

Interestingly, the BJP was more focused on dismissing Congress in UP, stating that the party had made it a prestige issue with Rahul Gandhi in the forefront but performed badly.

Swaraj termed the "dismal performance" of Congress in the assembly polls as the "second consecutive defeat" of Rahul Gandhi.

"Congress and the media had created a big hype about Rahul Gandhi. Congress had made it a prestige issue. These results show that this is the second consecutive defeat for Rahul," she told PTI.

She said the mandate in the elections is against "corruption, price rise and communal politics" of Congress.

Asked about the BJP's performance in the elections, she said the results were "not unexpected for us in Punjab and Uttarakhand, but we could not do well in UP. It has been a mixed bag for us. We could have done better in UP."

Gadkari, however, put up a brave face and maintained that the results were a victory, barring the outcome in UP.

However, there were murmurs within the BJP that had Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi campaigned in UP, the party would have gained. Asked about Modi, Gadkari said his good wishes were with the party in UP.

"He was busy with his Sadhbhavana fasts and other pre-occupations, so he was unable to campaign in UP. But the good wishes of all our leaders was with us," Gadkari said.

Swaraj said though Modi did not campaign in UP, he prayed for the party's good performance in the state.

The party top brass also disagreed that not projecting a chief minister had led to this lacklustre performance in UP.

"A leader does not matter much in BJP. We work as one organisation. It was a well-thought out strategy not to project a chief minister," Gadkari said.

A section within the BJP was of the opinion that Uma Bharti should have been projected as the chief ministerial candidate but others felt this would have led to dissensions as she is not from UP.

Of the four leaders under whom the BJP fought the polls was party's UP President Surya Pratap Shahi. He lost the polls from Pathardeva.

Other upsets include losing the Ayodhya seat which the party had not lost since the Ram temple movement upsurge in 1991.

The BJP saw the results in Punjab and Goa as achievements with the party retaining the SAD-BJP government and wresting Goa from Congress. Gadkari dismissed Congress win in Manipur as insignificant, saying the state does not play a major role in national politics.

"History has been made in Punjab as no party has been able to retain power in the state. This is the first time this has happened," Gadkari said.

However, in Punjab most of the credit for the win goes to the Akali Dal, the BJP's senior ally in the state. The party accepted this, giving due credit to the leadership of Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal.

Though the BJP had denied tickets to seven sitting MLAs in Punjab, it could win only 12 seats this time. Party general secretary Jagat Prakash Nadda, who was in-charge of the Punjab elections, said some of the sitting MLAs- who were ministers in the Badal cabinet- had lost this time.

In Uttarakhand, Chief Minister B C Khanduri- around whom the BJP campaign "Khanduri hai zaruri" (Khanduri is a must)- failed to win from Kotdwar seat. Though the party recovered some of the lost ground in the last six months after Khanduri replaced Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank, the latter is said to have sabotaged the party's prospects in these polls.

Goa seems to have been the only silver lining for BJP where the party managed a simple majority of 21 on its own.
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