Modi tsunami washes away Congress, regional satraps in UP (Roundup)

Lucknow, May 16 (IANS) The Modi tsunami Friday changed the contours of politics in Uttar Pradesh as the BJP and its allies won 73 out of the state's 80 parliamentary constituencies while all regional players were pushed to the sidelines or even wiped out, while the Congress only retained its pocket boroughs.

It was BJP all the way in the state with a stellar performance as it lapped up 71 seats on its own, while two other seats - Mirzapur and Pratapgarh - were won by alliance partner Apna Dal.

This is BJP's highest ever tally in the state's electoral history, much higher than the previous best of 57 in 1998.

Friday's victory is more significant since the 1998 win came in unified UP when the state sent 85 lawmakers to the Lok Sabha.

Party president Rajnath Singh, who won from Lucknow - long held by former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee - credited state unit president Laxmikant Bajpayi as well as national general secretary and Modi aide Amit Shah for ensuring the massive balloting in favour of party candidates.

Major winners for the BJP in the electorally crucial state included Murli Manohar Joshi (Kanpur), Modi (Varanasi), Rajnath Singh (Lucknow), Gen. (retd.) VK Singh (Ghaziabad), Uma Bharti (Jhansi), Satyapal Singh (Baghpat), Hukum Singh (Kairana) and Sakshi Maharaj from Unnao.

Former chief minister Kalyan Singh's son Rajveer Singh has also won from Etah.

The ruling Samajwadi Party (SP) received some serious drubbing, managing to win only five seats of the 80 it contested - far below the 21 it won in the 2009 Lok Sabha polls.

And also the seats it won were contested by members of the Mulayam Singh Yadav clan.

While the party supremo won from both Mainpuri and Azamgarh, his nephews Dharmendra Yadav and Akshay Pratap won from Badaun and Firozabad while his daughter-in-law Dimple Yadav, wife of UP Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, won from Kannauj with a victory margin of 21,500 votes. In the 2012 bypolls, she had won unopposed.

There was an eerie silence in the SP headquarters and no official statement has been issued by either the chief minister or Mulayam Singh. Close aides concede that the father-son duo are in a state of shock and would take some time to recover.

Another shocker - an even bigger one - was in store for Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati, whose party has been totally wiped out. Having been ousted from power in the state by arch rivals SP in the 2012 assembly elections, she had now cherished a larger role for herself in the national politics.

Her dreams were however shattered by Friday noon as the party started losing in all seats and by evening, her party candidates were down to zero, a tally she never anticipated or had in the past. In the worst case scenario during the formative years of the party under its late founder Kanshiram, the party held two seats.

That the BSP was under attack was apparent when in the middle phases of the elections, Mayawati started addressing press conferences, urging her captive votebank of Dalits not to get swayed by hollow promises of Bharatiya Janata Party's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi.

Congress was turned into a rubble, with just two seats that too won by its president Sonia Gandhi and vice president Rahul Gandhi.

While Sonia Gandhi won convincingly from Rae Bareli, Rahul Gandhi met a tough contestant in BJP's Smriti Irani and won with a much diminished vote count.

All union ministers from the state - Beni Prasad Verma, Salman Khurshid, R.P.N. Singh, Sri Prakash Jaiswal, Pradip Jain Aditya, and Jitin Prasad lost at the hustings.

Party ally, Ajit Singh's Rashtriya Lok Dal, also failed to open its account with both the party chief and his son, Jayant Chaudhary, as well as high-profile candidates, Amar Singh and Jaya Prada, crashing to humiliating defeats.