The party has increased vote shares in states that are not its strongholds
NEW DELHI (TIP): Announcing the BJP’s historic victory, party president Rajanth Singh quoted former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s famous lines, “Andhera Chatega, Suraj Nikalega, Kamal Khilega [the darkness will dissipate, the sun will shine and the lotus will bloom]” and with unmistakable pride added: “Aaj kamal khil chuka hai aur asha ki nayi subah ho gayi hai [the lotus has bloomed and there is a new dawn of hope].”
What the party has accomplished in Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh is not as is its performance in States such as Tamil Nadu (5 per cent of votes polled), Odisha (21 per cent) , Jammu and Kashmir (32 per cent), Assam (36 per cent), and West Bengal (16 per cent). By winning Ladakh in Jammu and Kashmir for the first time, it has also stormed into the Congress and the National Conference bastion.
This improved performance in areas that were not BJP strongholds is being attributed to the acceptance of Narendra Modi as a national leader and Prime Minister. “This is the love of the people from across the country that reflects in the increased vote share even in areas like the North East, East and South. Mr. Modi’s leadership converted the mood in these areas to a pro-BJP wave,” said senior leader Ravi Shankar Prasad. He said the “political witch-hunt” and “motivated campaigns” against Mr. Modi were not enough to block his ascend.
“His promise of good governance attracted people to him. He was seen as the embodiment of hope and change.” The BJP’s revised election strategy in the Lok Sabha polls had been to cover the last mile. Extensive campaigns were undertaken in distant parts of the country and people were promised employment, development, security and growth. Separate manifestoes were drafted for each of the North-Eastern States and at rallies in the region Mr. Modi focused on development, protection of border areas, illegal immigration and even the ecology.
For instance, in Manipur, where the party has a vote share of 11 per cent, construction of arterial roads has been promised, the contentious issue of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958 has been touched upon and decentralisation of administration has been spoken of. In West Bengal, between the Left and the Trinamool, it has managed to carve out a space for itself. Here again, the promise is of growth and a better economy.
The BJP may not have bagged seats, but by securing 16 per cent of the votes it has made a beginning. Similarly, with a vote share of 10 per cent in Kerala, 32 per cent in Jammu and Kashmir, 36 per cent in Assam, 21 per cent in Odisha, eight per cent in Meghalaya and 11 per cent in Manipur, the BJP is no longer confined to the North, West and Central India and is staking its claim as a true national party.