Lok Sabha Elections Results 2019: What led to Congress Lok Sabha poll debacle in…

The BJP’s clean sweep in all the five Lok Sabha seats in Uttarakhand put focus on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s poll agenda — a mix of nationalism and development – that he pursued vigorously evoking a huge response from the people, political analysts said on Thursday.

Political observers say the poll results will also firm up chief minister Trivendra Singh Rawat’s position politically as he led the BJP’s poll campaign in the hill state. For the Congress, however, the poll results appear to be very disappointing for several reasons.

“The opposition party’s biggest embarrassment is the humiliating electoral defeat its tallest leader in the state suffered,” said Professor MM Semwal of HNB Garhwal (Central) University, referring to former chief minister Harish Rawat.

The Congress veteran was pitted against BJP state unit president Ajay Bhatt from the prestigious Nainital Lok Sabha seat.

“Besides, the huge margin of votes with which the well-known Thakur leader (Harish Rawat) suffered the poll defeat, shows the majority Thakur voters chose not to vote on caste lines this time,” Semwal said.

Incidentally, a similar voting pattern was also witnessed in the 2017 state assembly elections and also in the 2014 general elections.

“This time too, the people in this state voted en bloc to ensure that Prime Minister Narendra Modi gets to helm the country once again,” said Sunil Pande, a Haridwar-based political analyst.

Semwal said the Congress swept through all the five Lok Sabha seats in 2009 owing to the pro-poor policies like MNREGS (Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme) pursued by then prime minister Manmohan Singh.

“It (Congress) lost all the five Lok Sabha seats in 2014 due to his failure to check corruption and the rising prices of commodities.”

Pande said voters this time even ignored the Rawat-led BJP government’s “unsatisfactory performance” to reelect PM Modi.

Semwal said the Congress paid a heavy price because of its failure to highlight the state government’s failure to tackle issues like farmers’ distress and unemployment. He, however, opined that the BJP’s spectacular win in the Lok Sabha polls in the state will see CM Rawat emerge stronger, politically.

BJP state president Bhatt credited Modi for the BJP retaining all the five Lok Sabha seats in the state with a huge margin. “The entire credit for that goes to his development agenda and the pro-poor policies he pursued besides his befitting reply to the Pakistan-sponsored terrorism,” he said.

Pande said Modi’s decision to allow airstrikes on a Balakot terrorist camp in Pakistan touched a responsive chord in the state, which has a huge number of people serving in the army and the paramilitary forces.

Semwal said the pro-poor schemes introduced by Modi such as Ujjawala, under which free cooking gas connections were provided to the poor, helped him connect with them. “Besides, a slew of infrastructure projects he introduced in the hill state also got the BJP a massive mandate,” he said referring to the Chardham all-weather road project, the Rishikesh-Karnprayag project etc.

His colleague, Prof MC Sati, said the Congress was washed away by the “Modi wave yet again” because its leaders frittered away the opportunity to strengthen it organisationally after its poll debacle in 2014. “Its (Congress) state leaders, instead of strengthening the party organisationally, continued to indulge in infighting,” he said.

Congress chief spokesperson MD Joshi strongly denied that and said Modi failed to address the crucial issues like unemployment and farmers’ distress.

“Yet, the people got carried away by his ‘jumle baji’ (false promises),” he said. Joshi said the party leadership would look into the reasons, if its performance turned out to be below expectations, which would be unfortunate.

First Published:
May 24, 2019 17:57 IST

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