Echoes of today’s electoral battle in Lutyen’s Delhi

Echoes of today’s electoral battle in Lutyen’s Delhi

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) swept Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand and gave a tough fight to Congress in Goa and Manipur. The mood at their Delhi HQ was one euphoria.

By Shruti Menon

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The usually calm and quiet Ashoka Road in Lutyen’s Delhi was a whole different creature as the results of the elections came in. Life-sized posters of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) President Amit Shah had been erected on Ashoka road where BJP’s headquarters is located as party supporters waited for early leads.
At around 9 am, leads for 243 seats out of 403 had begun trickling in from Uttar Pradesh (UP) where BJP and its allies were leading with 175 seats. Soon, crowds started to gather as news of the BJP’s wins began trickling in.
Vijay Goel, the Union Minister for Youth Affairs and Sports who lives right across BJP headquarters, was among the first ones to show up at the office before setting up chai and snacks for the supporters. Speaking to the media about early leads, he said that the party was confident of a win.

By around 10:30 am, when BJP seemed to have ascertained an absolute majority in UP, the celebration intensified as crowds began to swell. As did the deployment of police personnel. Chants of “har har Modi” and “Bharat Mata ki Jai” resonated from the BJP office and outside with people holding cutouts of Modi and Shah. The road had been barricaded and made inaccessible for the public as supporters danced to the beats of dhol.

As the number of supporters grew, the road was coloured in different shades of gulal while karyakartas distributed the victory laddoos and made a show of feeding them to the Modi cutouts. Apparently, Holi had arrived for the BJP two days in advance- the ‘kesariya holi’ as some supporters put it. But if you were witness to the celebrations there, you would rest assure that it wasn’t just one festival that was being celebrated with people dressed in Bhangra attire dancing to dhol, nagada and bigul as firecrackers burst.

By lunch time, the only thing you could hear besides the crackers and dhol were the slogans for Modi with people acknowledging the prevalence of a Modi-wave across the country. “Modi ki lehar poore desh mein hai aur rahegi,” (Modi wave is and will be alive in the country) said one of the supporters whose face was almost unrecognisable due to gulal.

Supporters waited in anticipation as they waited to catch a glimpse of Modi, who was expected to arrive at the headquarters by 4 pm. As they did, many other leaders including Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, BJP Delhi unit chief Manoj Tiwari and MoS Power Piyush Goel arrived to attend the Parliamentary board meeting, to appoint the chief ministers in the states where BJP had a clear majority (UP and Uttarakhand). While Modi chose to skip the meeting, the next in line of supporters’ anticipation was Shah. At 3 pm, when Shah arrived, supporters parted the Red Seas before Moses, making way for his car.

An ecstatic Shah stretched his hand out of his car to wave at his supporters as he proceeded to address the press conference.

Speaking to the media, Shah congratulated party workers for their support and conceded defeat in Punjab. He announced that the party would name the chief ministers tomorrow, on the basis of their performance and claimed to form the government in four states. However, the final results of the elections show Congress with more numbers than BJP in Manipur and Goa besides Punjab where they emerged as the clear winner under the leadership of Captain Amarinder Singh.

After BJP’s thumping victory in UP in 2014 Lok Sabha elections, today’s result proved that the Modi wave created then is still going strong. While many exit polls suggested a clear victory for BJP, many journalists had missed the presence of a lehar. lehar created during different planks of elections, by raising issues that were relevant to a particular demography. The lehar that was seen on Ashoka Road today as supporters chanted “Ab Dilli ki baari hai”.