The BJP won a historic mandate five years on this day under the leadership of its prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi. Five years later, the BJP is seeking a return to power with Modi as Prime Minister, but there is no perceptible wave.
Ahead of the last phase of Lok Sabha elections, both BJP-led NDA and the opposition are making claims of their victory. The counting of votes will take place on May 23.
The political equations and the political situation has changed significantly over the past five years with the BJP now the dominant political force in the country. It has expanded in the last five years making governments in states such as Haryana and Tripura where it was regarded as a third force. It has lost some others while also regained some others.
The BJP-led National Democratic Alliance is now in power in 17 states and it has grown in strength in the Rajya Sabha, becoming the single largest party of the Upper House. It won a massive majority in Uttar Pradesh, the most populous state of the country.
But the opposition has been gaining strength in the assembly polls over the past year. While the Congress put up a strong performance in Gujarat assembly polls, it ousted BJP from power in all the three states in the Hindi heartland – Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, where elections were held last year months ahead of Lok Sabha polls.
The opposition is keen to maintain the momentum and oust the BJP from the Centre. The BJP’s challenge has also increased because of Bahujan Samaj Party, Samajwadi Party and Rashtriya Lok Dal coming together in Uttar Pradesh.
The results will reveal if BJP has been successful in its strategy to expand in states such as West Bengal and Odisha to compensate the likely loses in Hindi heartland.
Southern India, however, continues to pose a strong challenge for the BJP: In Andhra Pradesh, Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu is a friend-turned-foe over the special status for the state, though Karnataka offers some solace, as the JD(S) and Congress alliance remains fragile. In Telangana, the party is far behind the ruling TRS and Congress. In Kerala, the party’s attempt to cash in on voters’ emotions over the Sabarimala issue will be tested on May 23, and in Tamil Nadu, the party has allied with AIADMK in a bid to garner more support post-election.
Modi in a tweet recalled this day (May 16) when his BJP secured a full majority on its own five years ago. Sharing a photograph of the day, Modi said in the last five years, he worked to fulfil aspirations of the people and promised to continue serving the people.
“A memorable moment from this day, 5 years ago. With the blessings of 130 crore Indians, we’ve worked to fulfil aspirations and build a strong, secure and developed India. Today the passion is higher and endeavour greater. We will continue serving people & their realising dreams,” he posted.
On May 16, 2014, the BJP emerged victorious with 282 seats by itself.