'Modi factor': The surprising reason behind the victory of BJP in Uttarakhand
Unbiased analyses of the voting pattern in most assembly seats revealed that the Modi magic had a deeper and wider impact on the hearts and minds of the masses
Successful implementation of the Narendra Modi Government’s pro-poor and social welfare-related schemes with a special focus on women’s upliftment has apparently contributed largely in getting BJP a comfortable majority in Uttarakhand with 48 seats. BJP’s rival Congress got 19 seats and 3 seats went to the independents, of the total 70 Uttarakhand assembly segments that went to polls on February 14, 2022.
Undoubtedly, the manner many of these PM flagship schemes and other centrally-sponsored plans like Pradhan Mantri Ujjawal Yojana, that helped free women from smoking chullahs (hearths) and give them access to LPG, provided clean drinking tap water, built clean toilets for those living in Uttarakhand’s far-flung and remote areas apart from making available free rations and medical facilities during the Covid pandemic across the Himalayan state, presumably did wonders and helped the saffron party bag 48 seats out of total 70 seats. This has not come as a surprise to the most cross-section of voters. Many of them said they were pretty confident of the support extended to BJP, primarily because of the “Modi factor".
“BJP’s was a more than expected victory in the current polls and was rather a foregone conclusion keeping in view Modi’s wider popularity graph and the way huge sections of women belonging to different sections and others, were benefited by these schemes," said a Dehradun-based housewife Sarita Negi.
This has also helped clear the apprehension lingering in the minds of many that the hill state may head for a hung assembly owing to the stiff fight between BJP and its rival Congress in the 2022 assembly polls.
Dispassionate and unbiased analyses of the voting pattern in most assembly seats revealed that the Modi magic had a deeper and wider impact on the hearts and minds of the masses. The way he addressed the huge gatherings during his recent trips to Dehradun, Kedarnath and Badrinath shrines considerably helped infuse confidence among folks to fight against Covid-19 and promised them to extend all possible help in the hours of crisis, drew support for the BJP in a big way.
The voting pattern also revealed that while the maximum number of voters seem to have extended their unflinching support to BJP owing to the Modi factor, cross-sections of male voters do not appear to have towed a similar line.
Despite the considerable impact of the anti-incumbency factor owing to wrong and unpopular policies formulated by former CM Trivendra Singh Rawat, people had just forgotten what the former CM did due to the predominance of the Modi factor in a big way. For the people of Uttarakhand, their direct connection with Prime Minister Modi cancelled the effect of anti-incumbency against the state leadership.
One of the interesting features of the voting pattern was that it also did justice and a fair deal by defeating those who did not deserve to be elected. According to independent observers, the defeats of former CM Harish Rawat from Lalkuna in Nainital and current Uttarakhand CM Pushkar Singh Dhami from Khateema in Udham Singh Nagar district, are glaring examples of how “Janta Sab Janti Hai" (voters know everything).
It is true, despite being one of Congress’ towering leaders, Harish Rawat had been virtually reduced to a spent force after he lost all previous assembly seats and also the Nainital Parliamentary seat in Uttarakhand. Similarly, Pushkar Singh Dhami, who was MLA from Khateema, had lost his reputation as an honest and upright CM after he had allegedly begun to go slow on certain corrupt members in his cabinet. The CM office in Dehradun, however, denied it saying these are baseless charges against Pushkar Singh Dhami. “If Dhami Ji was defeated from his Khateema seat, there must be some solid reasons for it," said a BJP functionary on the condition of anonymity.
D. S. Kunwar is a senior journalist based in Dehradun. The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not represent the stand of this publication.
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