By observing Vijay Utsav on 25 February to celebrate its big victory in the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) polls and phenomenal success in the panchayat elections in Odisha, the Bharatiya Janata Party has given a final big push to its campaigning strategy ahead of the last three phases of polling in Uttar Pradesh — the first of which is on Monday. The decision to observe Vijay Utsav across district headquarters in the country was not just to celebrate the party’s two consecutive successes in local polls, but also to send out a strong message ahead of the last three phases of polling in Uttar Pradesh that demonetisation or the noteban move mooted by Prime Minister Narendra Modi had no adverse impact on the people at grassroots-level. And, perhaps, help fence-sitters in deciding to vote for the BJP.
"Both the BMC and Odisha panchayat poll results have proved that the common man had nothing against the noteban. It was a misconception that was spread through rumours by the Opposition parties against our prime minister and the BJP. In a democracy, whatever political parties may say, it’s the public that takes the final call. The recent election results at the BMC and Odisha panchayat are a fitting reply by the public to those who had projected the noteban as an evil," a senior member in the Uttar Pradesh BJP in Lucknow told Firstpost.
Even Firstpost had reported from Ground Zero on 25 February how the Congress, Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party had failed to capitalise on the issue of demonetisation and failed to terrorise voters in UP with the 'ghost of demonetisation'.
The BJP also held a meeting during the celebrations to chalk out its campaign strategy for the concluding phases of the Uttar Pradesh elections, to strengthen its existing base, and convert the undecided among the electorate. "Besides bursting crackers and distributing sweets, a meeting was conducted here in Lucknow on how to go ahead in the remaining phases of polling and energise our party workers across the party line," a BJP source said.
BJP workers in Uttar Pradesh are seeing these dual overwhelming success as a big morale booster, especially when there is no apparent ‘Modi wave’ or ‘BJP wave’ visible in the state, unlike in 2014. According to many, although BJP’s performance in BMC polls was a bigger one and hogged the media limelight, the party’s stupendous success in Odisha was equally big. The state BJP in Odisha too celebrated Vijay Utsav with much gala and funfair. And, they had every right to do so given their performance as the party witnessed an exponential growth in its tally — almost nine times — from 36 during the last panchayat polls in 2012 to 306 this time.
"BJP has performed superbly in Odisha although it has failed to get noticed in the manner the party got in Maharashtra. Given the fact that Odisha is not a BJP-ruled state, the BJP’s tally grew nearly nine times from 36 in the last Zilla Parishad elections to 306 at present. Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik had predicted that it would get more than 650 seats out of total 853. But against its previous tally of 651, this time it has come down to 460," former president, JNU Students’ Union and political observer Sandeep Mahapatra told Firstpost.
Mahapatra was the only leader from right-wing students’ body — Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) — who had to date succeeded in breaking into the Left stronghold that is Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) as its president in 2000-01.
"What’s more noticeable is that the BJP has succeeded in bringing down Congress’ tally to 66 from 126 seats in 2012. The drubbing faced by Congress turns BJP as the primary Opposition in rural Odisha. Both the results also speak about the endorsement of the Modi government’s policies and public support for the demonetisation move," added Mahapatra.
The BJP witnessed many victories in 2017, including in the Chandigarh civic polls, but Maharashtra and Odisha are special for the saffron party. Especially, Odisha, as the party is a distant third force in the state. It remains to be seen whether the party succeeds in capitalising on these victories, in Uttar Pradesh, which will go for the fifth phase of voting on Monday.
Published Date: Feb 27, 2017 08:03 AM | Updated Date: Feb 27, 2017 08:03 AM