Just hours into counting, it is clear that the Narendra Modi wave continues strong in Uttar Pradesh. A landslide victory for the party is almost certain, with CNN-News18 and India Today already calling the state in BJP's favour by a massive majority.
It seems that UP ke ladke — Akhilesh and Rahul – appear to be thoroughly beaten. Gujarati gadhas would be having a big laugh at their expense right about now. Akhilesh would be wondering what madness drove him to tie-up with Congress. Rahul, on the other hand, must be wondering whether there would ever be a 'Rahul wave' in the country.
What worked for the BJP in UP?
It seems that demonetisation, the overarching poll narrative of this election, has brought untold poll dividends for the Narendra Modi-led BJP. As the saffron party looks at a possible majority in Uttar Pradesh, it is quite clear that Modi has once again captured the popular imagination with his 'notebandi' move, the same way he had in 2014, with his call for 'acche din'.
Amit Shah's backroom manoeuvres, putting up a candidates' list sans a single Muslim candidate, Jat discontent and the party's internal rebellion have all been discussed ad nauseum. BJP may well be heading for its biggest victory ever in Uttar Pradesh, eclipsing even its tally during the Kalyan Singh days. This is a staggering result for Modi and could be largely put down to demonetisation.
Based on Narendra Modi's performance over the past few years, one thing is clear. While there are many people in the country who might not buy into the ideology of Hindutva, there are many who actually will vote for Modi on the strength of his work.
Economics versus politics
The impact of demonetisation on the informal sector has been much more visible as ‘cash is king’ in this sector. About 40-45 percent of Indian economy is estimated to fall under the informal sector, which constitutes almost 80 percent of the total employment.
According to certain estimates, 78 percent of transactions in the Indian economy are cash based. Unfortunately, this is also the segment that is largely excluded from the official data collection infrastructure’s reach. This could be why economists are looking at 7 percent – higher than expected – GDP growth numbers for the October-December quarter.
A number of indicators that should correlate with the GDP figures, such as bank credit growth, employment figures, manufacturing sector growth and earnings of consumer-focused numbers companies, have shown contrary trends till now. But the confusion and lack of correlation in numbers and statistics do not seem to have impacted people’s sentiments on the ground.
Evidence to suggest that the black money and fake currency problems have been addressed is yet to emerge and the shift to digital payments – another objective of demonetisation – still hasn’t taken a firm hold.
But, none of these may impact the poll results, as early trends show big leads for BJP in Uttar Pradesh. It seems that for a lot of people, the economics doesn’t really matter. For them, demonetisation is and always will be an attack on the ‘rich and powerful’ in the society.
Who could be the chief minister?
Now that the results almost certainly point towards a landslide BJP victory, here's a brief list of possible chief ministerial candidates for the state:
Rajnath Singh: A large number of people in Uttar Pradesh would like to bet on Union home minister and Lucknow MP Rajnath Singh as the possible Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh. The tallest BJP leader from the state, Singh relinquished the chief minister's post in March 2002.
Keshav Prasad Maurya: Another leader, comparatively younger in the race for the chief ministerial role is first-time Phulpur MP and state party chief Keshav Prasad Maurya.
Santosh Gangwar: Another Union minister (MoS Finance) is Santosh Gangwar whose candidature for the post of chief minister is less talked about. He was elected as MP in the 16th Lok Sabha by registering victory by a margin of over 2.4 lakh votes over his rival candidate in the 2014 General Election.
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Updated Date: Mar 11, 2017 15:21:40 IST