There isn’t anyone quite like Prime Minister Narendra Modi when it comes to electoral politics – and the Modi wave is far from being over. That was the narrative that emerged as the results of Assembly elections in five Indian states were declared on Saturday.
The BJP scored resounding victories in two states: In Uttar Pradesh, its margin of victory was the biggest since 1971, and in Uttarakhand, the party won 56 of the 70 seats. In the north-eastern state of Manipur too, the BJP made deep inroads, winning 21 of 60 seats, a significant gain from the zero it had managed last time around.
However, the elections also established that the prime minister’s dream of a Congress-mukt Bharat would take some time to come true. The Congress won Punjab quite comfortable and emerged as the single largest party in Goa and Manipur.
As expected, front pages of newspapers across the country were all Modi, with a perfunctory mention of the Congress’ face-saving victory in Punjab.
While The Indian Express led with “Modi March”, Hindustan Times called the prime minister the “king of the heartland”.
The Times of India’s headline pronounced that Modi had won the heart of Indians.
The Telegraph, which hasn’t been exactly hospitable to the Modi government, was generous in crediting the prime minister for the victory.
The major Hindi newspaper, Dainik Bhaskar also referred to the northern state as “Modi Pradesh”.
The Assamese daily Pratidin attributed BJP’s landslide victory to Modi’s “magic”.
Kerala’s highest circulating newspapaer, Malayala Manorama, however, chose to refer to the victory as a “BJP wave” – giving credit to not just the prime minister but the entire party machinery.
The iconic Bengali daily Ananda Bazar Patrika was more measured. “Ahead in analysis, the BJP,” the paper noted without any fanfare at all.