Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah celebrates party's victory (Photo Source: PTI)
The Opposition leaders’ hopes of a hung parliament and them emerging as ‘kingmakers’ were razed to the ground as Prime Minister Narendra Modi led his BJP to a super-sized victory for a second term in office, with his message of nationalism, security, Hindu pride and a New India being wholeheartedly embraced by voters across large swathes of the country.
The victory margin left the combined opposition in the dust, with the Congress Party topping the group winning or leading in 52 seats, according to the partial results. Sealing its phenomenal electoral victory, the Narendra Modi-led BJP alone crossed the 300 mark and was leading in one seat as counting for votes for 542 Lok Sabha seats neared its end.
The results have less or more left the regional heavyweights to rethink over their future course of action, particularly their future prospects to make footprints in the national landscape.
Let’s take a look at how the Lok Sabha 2019 results have cast a shadow on the ambitions of the regional satraps:
Mayawati (Bahujan Samaj Party)
The results have been a disappointment for the four-time Uttar Pradesh chief minister, who former prime minister P V Narasimha Rao famously called a “miracle of democracy” when she became the CM the first time in 1995.
The BJP has trumped her BSP's alliance with Akhilesh Yadav's Samajwadi Party in the state. Yet her own party has done better than in 2014 Lok Sabha polls when it drew a complete blank. This time round, it won a decent 10 of the 38 seats that it contested as part of the alliance in Uttar Pradesh.
That she put at stake everything could be assessed from the fact that she not only joined hands with arch rival Samajwadi Party but also campaigned for her sworn political foe and SP patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav in Mainpuri, even asking her supporters to back him, forgetting past bitterness.
Mayawati never said it in so many words. But the BSP supremo threw enough hints during the poll campaign that she considered herself to be in the race for the prime minister's post, should the opposition manage to contain the BJP.
But, the poll results have not only put her prime ministerial ambitions on hold but also cast a shadow on her attempts to regain the lost ground in the state.
Akhilesh Yadav (Samajwadi Party)
The Samajwadi Party’s dismal performance in the 2014 Lok Sabha and 2017 Assembly elections has continued. While Akhilesh Yadav won from Azamgarh, his wife Dimple Yadav and uncle Dharmendra Yadav lost from Kannauj and Badaun respectively.
While forging the SP-BSP alliance in the state to take on the Bharatiya Janata Party, Yadav put ego aside, happily playing the “bhatija” (nephew) to Mayawati “bua” (aunt).
Akhilesh Yadav had tried his hand at coalition building in Uttar Pradesh in the 2017 assembly elections as well, teaming up with Congress leader Rahul Gandhi.
Some fondly called the two relatively young scions “UP ke ladke” (the UP boys) when they appeared in public wearing matching black waistcoats. It didn't work out that time either with Yogi Adityanath, backed by Narendra Modi as PM, winning a majority in the assembly.
While Akhilesh has been among those regional leaders who are not vying for the prime ministerial post, he has been willing to return as chief minister of the politically crucial state.
But, with the ‘bua-bhatija’ bonhomie failing to make much difference to BJP’s prospects in UP, Akhilesh now finds the ground slipping beneath his feet.
Mamata Banerjee (Trinamool Congress)
Bengal witnessed a saffron surge on Thursday as the BJP inflicted a deadly blow to state's ruling Trinamool Congress by winning 16 of the 42 Lok Sabha seats in the state and leading in two other. TMC won 19 seats and was leading in three others till last reports came in.
The saffron party gave the TMC a run for its money even in terms of vote share having polled 40.25 per cent of votes counted so far. The TMC has clinched 43.28 per cent.
Her strident denunciation of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's policies, including his insistence on pressing ahead with contentious issues like the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill and the National Register of citizens, had catapulted her to the forefront of the forces arrayed against the BJP and the NDA in the election.
However, with the Modi government retaining power, Banerjee’s unrealistic prime ministerial ambitions have taken a hit. Moreover, experts believe that the BJP will vigorously reinforce its strategy in Bengal and prep for the assembly elections.
Arvind Kejriwal (Aam Aadmi Party)
Delhi chief minister and AAP president Arvind Kejriwal’s party lost on all seven seats in the national capital and came third in most of the constituencies. The party appeared to be bleak in Punjab too where it was leading on just one of the 13 Lok Sabha seats.
With the AAP facing almost decimation in the Lok Sabha polls, hordes of its cadres and MLAs may dump the party for greener pastures.
Chandrababu Naidu (Telugu Desam Party)
Naidu found himself at the crossroads as his TDP faced a rout in the assembly as well as Lok Sabha polls, dashing his hopes of emerging kingmaker at the national level.
With Naidu losing the polls in Andhra Pradesh, he will not sit as leader of the opposition in the Assembly, where Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy is sitting as the chief minister.
Out of the 25 Lok Sabha seats in Andhra Pradesh, TDP is leading only in three, while in the assembly, out of the 175 seats, TDP is leading in 22 and has won two seats. The YSRC is headed for a landslide victory in the state.