Be it Yogi or Himanta, people did not follow the 'Hindu Hriday Samrat', 'double engine' did not work in the Lok Sabha elections

Ananya Shroff
8 Min Read

New Delhi: The results of the Lok Sabha elections 2024 have come out. This time the results were not very auspicious for the BJP. The NDA alliance has definitely got the majority, but the BJP could not get the majority on its own. The biggest setback for the BJP came in UP. BJP has got only 33 seats in UP. At the same time, Samajwadi Party won 37 and Congress won 6 seats. From 2014 till now, UP has been the most helpful in bringing BJP to power. But the way the results changed this time is a shocking truth for Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath. Here the Yogi factor has suffered a setback, which has been known across the country on the basis of strong law and order, development, Hindutva agenda. In the election campaign, BJP was seen presenting the Yogi-Modi factor and the model of double engine government. But in the results, the 'double engine' faltered this time and Akhilesh Yadav's 'PDA' formula worked. Apart from this, BJP had also expressed a lot of confidence in Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma. Sarma's Hindutva image is becoming very popular in the last several elections. Both Yogi and Sarma have been addressed as Hindu Hriday Samrat. But in this election, the public has shown less trust in both the leaders.

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Yogi's stature has increased in the last five elections in UP
Yogi has led the BJP to victory in five consecutive elections in UP. This includes the 2017 and 2022 assembly elections, the 2019 Lok Sabha elections and two local body elections. Yogi has been credited with the spectacular victory of the BJP in these elections, so experts believe that he will also have to take responsibility for this disappointing performance. However, he cannot be made a scapegoat. The candidates were selected ignoring the anti-incumbency wave and growing resentment against him and this has emerged as the main reason for the defeat. A party insider said that Yogi clearly said that the responsibility of candidate selection lies with the central leadership.

'Yogi has been the savior for BJP'
“Yogi is seen as the saviour of the BJP. He had no role in the selection of candidates. Those who won despite the growing anger against them, when they introspect on the reasons for their success, will certainly credit the Modi factor as well as Yogi's contribution,” said an observer. This time, in every election rally in Uttar Pradesh, Prime Minister Narendra Modi not only praised the Yogi model of law and order, which created a favourable environment for investment in the state. Modi also kept talking about Yogi's development model. Another expert says that it is a matter of credit for Yogi that he has been one of the most popular campaigners of the party, he has held about 170 rallies not only in UP but also outside. Earlier he had visited all 75 districts. But this was clearly not enough and this will harm his position at the top level of the party. It can be a matter of debate how extensively he is campaigning.

Was Kejriwal's plan successful?
However, the narrative set by Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal in the middle of the campaign is back in news. While addressing rallies, Kejriwal claimed that after BJP's victory, Yogi will be removed like many other BJP CMs. According to UP watchers, the Delhi CM tried to fabricate a false narrative that all is not well within the BJP and the top leadership is wary of Yogi due to his rising popularity and this might influence a section of voters.

The signs are not good for Himanta Biswa Sarma
On the other hand, there is also discussion about the role of Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma as a big star campaigner of BJP. The results of the Lok Sabha elections were not good for him. Despite his important role in all the major national campaigns of the BJP, the performance of the party and the NDA in the Northeast, especially Manipur, raises questions about his future. In his home state Assam, the party retained the same number of seats as in 2019, but failed to improve its performance. Although Sarma was not directly involved in the election campaign in the Northeast except Assam, the election results of this region have now raised questions about his ability to do something in his own area.

Good image created in BJP
This could be a turning point for Sarma's political future. While his national image has undoubtedly grown within the BJP, the party's setbacks, especially in Manipur, could lead to a re-evaluation of his influence and position within the party. Whether the central leadership retains the same level of trust in him, and how they use his political capital in the future remains to be seen. Sarma's political journey began with the Congress party. However, he lost his first assembly election in 1996. But this did not deter his rapid rise in the party and he held important ministerial positions in the Assam government. Recognising the changing political environment, he decided to switch to the BJP in 2015, a decision that proved to be crucial in the party's historic win in Assam the following year.

How did Sarma's stature grow?
Ahead of the 2016 Assam assembly elections, Sarma proved his worth as the BJP's most trusted backroom strategist. His shrewd moves helped nine Congress MLAs join the BJP, giving a huge boost to the party's prospects. This strategic move worked, as the BJP tasted its first electoral victory in Assam, which has long been considered a Congress bastion. Recognising Sarma's contribution, then BJP president Amit Shah assigned him the key role of convenor of the newly formed North East Democratic Alliance (NEDA). The alliance strengthened the BJP's foothold in the region by bringing almost all regional parties of the Northeast under one umbrella.

Sarma's strategic skills helped the BJP win over 43 Congress MLAs in Arunachal Pradesh, paving the way for the party to form government in the state. This achievement led to the formation of the first BJP government in Manipur and a historic ouster of the Left Front from power in Tripura, where it had dominated for decades. A wave of political change swept the Northeast and NEDA/NDA governments were also formed in Nagaland, Meghalaya and Mizoram. However, now there are new twists in this success story.

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