Setback for Gandhis in backyard

Setback for Gandhis in backyard

Setback for Gandhis in backyard

The BJP swept the Assembly segments in Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Lok Sabha constituency of Varanasi and made deep inroads into strongholds of Gandhi and Yadav families, giving the saffron party leverage to tout that UP has rejected dynasty politics.

Showing faith in Modi as they emphatically did elsewhere in the state, voters overlooked the sluggish pace of development and local resentment over choice of two candidates to hand over all five Assembly seats of the pilgrimage city to the BJP and its NDA ally Apna Dal (Soney Lal).

"As an MP from Kashi, I am overwhelmed by the strong faith and love showered by the people there on me. I bow to the people of Kashi,"  Modi said after the results. Party president Amit Shah said the landslide victory by the BJP showed that people have rejected "politics of caste, dynasty and appeasement" and voted for "politics of performance".

In this election, the voters in Uttar Pradesh went a step beyond the 2014 Lok Sabha poll.
While the electorate was harsh on the Samajwadi Party in 2014, it had then spared former chief minister Mulayam Singh Yadav's family giving them five parliamentary seats.
But in the Yadav land that spreads over 10 constituencies of Mainpuri, Etawah and Kannauj, the BJP has managed a 50% strike rate in this round of elections.

Of these five wins, the BJP came up with its best performance in Kannauj, represented by SP leader Akhilesh Yadav's wife Dimple Yadav in the Lok Sabha.

The BJP pocketed three of the four Assembly segments. In Etawah, Akhilesh's estranged uncle Shivpal Yadav retained his Jaswant Nagar seat but the remaining two went to the BJP.

The BJP's show was even better in Gandhis' pocket borough in central Uttar Pradesh. The party won six of the 10 Assembly seats that come under Congress president Sonia Gandhi's constituency of Raebareli and Rahul Gandhi's Amethi.

Only the mother and son had managed to hold on to their forts in 2014, when the BJP and its ally Apna Dal won 73 of the 80 UP parliamentary seats.

BJP candidates have now won Varanasi Cantonment, Varanasi South, Varanasi North and Sevapuri. And the party’s ally Apna Dal snatched back Rohania, which it had lost in a by-election after its leader Annupriya Patel won the 2014 Lok Sabha elections and moved on to became a junior minister in the Modi government. Modi had to put in extra effort in the holy city to tide over a negative perception built due to the dusty, dug-up roads and the party's choice of candidates for two seats, which led to resentment among the local leaders and cadre.

Despite heavy deployment of ministers and top leaders including Amit Shah, Modi altered his electioneering schedule fixed by the party and took upon himself to maximise gains.He camped for three days ahead of the last phase of polling in Varanasi and adjoining districts, conducted two roadshows and rallies despite criticism from the opposition that this showed that the party was under pressure.

Despite resentment within the party, BJP leader Neelkanth Tiwari, who had replaced seven-time MLA Shyamdev Roy Chaudhary “Dada”, won Varanasi South. Similarly, Saurabh Shrivastava romped home defeating Congress candidate Anil Shrivastava in Varanasi Cantt.