Yogi Adityanath is set to retain power in Uttar Pradesh in a huge triumph for the BJP that is poised to get a comfortable if reduced majority.
Uttar Pradesh, India’s most populous state, is home to more than 200 million people. The election in this state is touted as semi-finals to the general elections of 2024, with political pundits often saying that the road to the centre aka Delhi passes through Uttar Pradesh.
The Congress, despite an enthusiastic campaign by Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, has recorded its worst performance and could win two seats with a vote share of 2.5 percent.
The bitterly fought, long election season has been closely watched by the foreign media. Reporting on the BJP’s massive win, the New York Times said, “Uttar Pradesh, India’s most populous state, looks likely to stay in the Bharatiya Janata Party’s hands, despite the ravages of Covid and a plummeting economy.” The newspaper’s report was headlined “Modi’s party is winning the biggest prize in India’s state elections”.
Bloomberg headlined its report “Modi’s party retains hold in India’s key Uttar Pradesh state”.
Both the publications highlighted the rise of Yogi Adityanath, 49, in the last five years, following his unexpected pick for the chief minister's post after the BJP scored a landslide win in the 2017 Uttar Pradesh assembly polls. They also pointed out to how the BJP managed to retain Uttar Pradesh despite the devastating second wave of COVID-19 and the state of the country’s economy.
Bloomberg said PM Modi’s “support base remains strong despite high inflation, joblessness and a devastating second wave of COVID-19 infection”.
Adityanath “faced a tough fight from the opposition Samajwadi Party, taking heavy criticism for his handling of Covid-19 in Uttar Pradesh and a worsening economic plunge. During the deadly second wave of the pandemic, the state’s health system buckled, with reports of oxygen shortages,” the New York Times said.
The votes to the assembly elections in five states are being counted. 690 constituencies have voted, with the maximum in Uttar Pradesh (403 seats) followed by Punjab (117), Uttarakhand (70), Manipur (60) and Goa (40).
The BJP is also projected to retain power in Uttarakhand, Manipur and Goa. In Punjab, the Aam Aadmi Party appears to have swept the polls, leaving the ruling Congress at second spot.Uttar Pradesh is the biggest prize among the five states to have held polls in recent weeks. It sends the most MPs to parliament and has been the power base of most Prime Ministers.