Virendra Singh Rawat / Lucknow

In run up to the Uttar Pradesh assembly elections, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the biggest mascot of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), had coined the catchphrase “Yogi is UPyogi for UP” to underline the plausible vitality of chief minister Yogi Adityanath for an unstinted development of the country’s most populous state.

Given the poll performance of the saffron party in the high stakes UP elections following the counting of votes on Thursday, Modi’s assertion seem to have caught the fancy of UP electorate, who rallied around and voted the BJP back to power in the state.

Armed with a stupendous victory under his wings, Adityanath has also created a record of sorts. It is after a gap of more than 30 years that a ruling party has managed to return to power in UP.

It was in the 80s that Congress regime led by Narayan Dutt Tiwari had retained power in UP. In later years, the party in power was either voted out or the challenger cobbled up numbers to provide an alternative government before the end of the respective five year term.

Meanwhile, of total 403 assembly segments in UP, the BJP and its allies – at the time of filing this report – had netted lead or victory on 268 seats, followed by 128 by Samajwadi Party (SP) and its allies.

The Mayawati led Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and Congress, whose campaign was spearheaded by party general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, have come a cropper and witnessed a further slide in their political fortunes. The BSP and Congress reflected lead/win on one and two seats respectively.

The UP poll results have given a decisive blow to the opposition narrative built around farmers and Jat anger, apart from the plausible hardships during the pandemic and subsequent job losses and economic challenges.

The M-Y (Modi-Yogi) factor of BJP has trumped the vaunted M-Y (Muslim-Yadav) template of SP propelled by Akhilesh Yadav, who had created a rainbow coalition of smaller parties and also inducting a galaxy of caste leaders from other outfits including BJP and Congress.

BJP rebels Swami Prasad Maurya and Dara Singh Chauhan, apart from O P Rajbhar, who had quit the BJP led coalition to ally with the SP, have utterly failed to deliver the self acclaimed body blow to the saffron party.

Meanwhile, celebrations have already broken out in the state capital and in other places including Ayodhya and Varanasi by the jubilant BJP leaders and workers. The hard work and toil over the past few months have been repaid by the stupendous victory in the UP assembly polls, a beaming party worker Deepak Mishra quipped in Lucknow.

Interestingly, Adityanath had earned the sobriquet of ‘Bulldozer Baba’ owing to the stern use of bulldozer by the civic and law enforcement agencies to evict land sharks and illegal occupants from government properties during his five year term (2017-22) in the state.

The BJP supporters could be seen ferrying bulldozers during the party rallies, while others were spotted wearing bulldozer shaped headgears.

Similar scenes were witnessed on Thursday when enthusiastic BJP cadres and workers took out victory processions comprising bulldozers, which had become a visible symbol of Adityanath’s hard task master persona with regards to law and order.

This was the first time that Adityanath had fought an assembly election. He was a candidate from the Gorakhpur urban constituency. Currently, he is the member of the UP Upper House or Vidhan Parishad.

Modi-Yogi to set up grand finale of UP polls

In these elections, about 150 million people were eligible to vote in UP. The UP assembly elections were scheduled in seven rounds viz. Feb 10, 14, 20, 23, 27 and March 3 and 7.

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