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NEW DELHI: With BJP’s energetic campaign in the local polls in Uttar Pradesh paying off, the sweeping win comes as a welcome boost to the party in the midst of a tense campaign for the Gujarat elections, seen as a must-win contest for the saffron outfit.
The poll results with BJP winning 14 of 16 municipalities, signals the party’s continued hold on the popular imagination with rivals lagging by a long distance. It also reflects a remarkable run in civic elections over the past two years with BJP outshining rivals in Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Delhi and Himachal Pradesh besides doing well in Odisha and winning prestigious councils like Bengaluru.
The win immediately provided BJP chief Amit Shah to take a dig at Congress, saying that the party was chiming a slogan “Congress ave chhe (Congress is coming)” in Gujarat but had been wiped out in the Gandhi stronghold of Amethi.
“Those dreaming of winning in Gujarat have lost in Amethi,” said UP chief minister Yogi Adityanath. Finance minister Arun Jaitley said that the results reaffirmed people’s support for GST, with the new tax being seen as a sore point with sections of trade and business in Gujarat. PM Narendra Modi tweeted: “Development has won again. My thanks to the people of UP. This win will inspire us to work for public good.”
The success in the civic polls is a significant achievement for Yogi who has also been drafted as a key campaigner in Gujarat. The party is banking on Modi’s enduring appeal in Gujarat to argue that any setback will weaken the PM’s image as the frontrunner for 2019 polls — a tactic intended to counter quota warrior Hardik Patel’s appeal among the youth from his populous caste.
The win, following better tidings on the economy with GDP growth rate breaking a downward trend and inching up again, helps BJP argue that it is the best option for longterm stability and improved business prospects despite unease over GST implementation and caste issues agitating groups like Patels and Dalits.