Leading Indian newspapers on Friday focused on the Bharatiya Janata Party sweeping victory in four out of five states in the Assembly elections, with many saying it was a ringing endorsement of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Others said this was a victory of the communal polarisation politics of the BJP.

The Indian Express blared “BJP, AAP, BJP, BJP, BJP” in its front page to demonstrate how the saffron party dominated the Assembly elections in Manipur, Uttarakhand, Goa and Uttar Pradesh, and losing to the Aam Aadmi Party only in Punjab.

On the resounding victory of the Arvind Kejriwal-led party in Punjab and the Congress’ collapse in the state, the newspaper referred to the Gandhi’s dynastic politics, stating, “Thrones have been shaken.”

The Congress managed to win only 55 of the 690 seats spread across the five states. In Uttar Pradesh, the party won just two seats in the 403-member state Assembly.

Credit: The Indian Express

The Telegraph’s front page carried a headline openly mourning the results and referred to the BJP being the heart of communal politics. Referring to Uttar Pradesh as “Hindutva Pradesh”, the headline read, “Quiet flows the Shav Vahini of secularism”. Shav Vahini means river of corpses. Images of corpses filling up the Ganges river, which is considered Holy by the Hindus, had shocked the country during the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic between April and June last year.

The BJP also won all the eight constituencies in the Lakhimpur Kheri district, where eight people, including four farmers, were killed after Union minister Ajay Mishra’s son allegedly ran over them during a protest in October against the Centre’s three new contentious agriculture laws.

Uttar Pradesh is a considered a political bellwether and sends the most legislators to Parliament than any other state. The BJP managed to win the polls in the state despite the Modi government’s much-criticised handling of the coronavirus pandemic, soaring unemployment and inflation.

Credit: The Telegraph

The Times of India went with “BJP breaks cycle in UP, AAPheaval in Punjab”. The Aam Aadmi Party emerged as the juggernaut in Punjab, winning 92 seats. The incumbent Congress won only in 18 constituencies.

The paper said the “Modi magic” has helped the “saffrun” continue in all the four states.

Credit: The Times of India

The Bharatiya Janata Party has made history for the first time in 37 years by returning to power in Uttar Pradesh for the second consecutive term. This is the first time Adityanath is becoming the chief minister as an MLA. Previously he contested as a member of the Legislative Council. The Deccan Chronicle documented the party’s win, saying “Yogi powers saffron push.”

Credit: Deccan Chronicle

The Hindu’s front page used a photograph of Adityanath with party workers celebrating his win. The paper also said Uttarakhand Chief Minister and BJP candidate Pushkar Singh Dhami lost to Congress’ Bhuwan Chandra Kapri by a margin of 6,579 votes in the Khatima seat. The BJP, however, won 47 seats in Uttarakhand’s 70-member Assembly.

Credit: The Hindu

The BJP won the Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections by a huge margin. It bagged 255 seats in the 403-member Assembly. The Akhilesh Yadav-led Samajwadi Party won 111 seats. Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party managed to get only one seat.

The Hindustan Times headline said: “SAFFRON HOLI IN HEARTLAND”.

“Modi magic delivers again as the most coveted state gives a historic pro-incumbency verdict,” the paper added.

Photo credit: the Hindustan Times

In Gujarat’s leading dailies Sandesh and Gujarat Samachar, front pages focused squarely on Modi, with near-identical headlines: “With Modi Magic, the saffron flag flies in four states”.

While Sandesh cheered the BJP’s “magnificent victory” in all five seats in Modi’s Parliamentary constituency of Varanasi, a headline in Gujarat Samachar pointed out that that the BJP won “all eight seats in Lakhimpur despite heavy opposition”.

Credit: Sandesh
Credit: Gujarat Samachar

In the Marathi press, Loksatta’s headline read, “BJP’s wave, the rest flattened”, while Lokmat went for a more dramatic headline. With reference to the BJP’s victory in four states, it said, “The lotus is not a flower, it is fire, fire!”

The headline about the Aam Aadmi Party’s win in Punjab read, “AAP said clap!”

Credit: Loksatta
Credit: Lokmat

Tamil newspapers, Daily Thanthi and Dinamalar, had similar headlines, calling the BJP’s win in the four states a “amogha vettri” or “special victory”.

Daily Thanthi showed a cartoon of Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Adityanath celebrating on a boat and Samajwadi Party’s Akhilesh Yadav holding on to a wheel in a sea, labelled Uttar Pradesh.

Credit: Daily Thanthi

Dinamalar said that the Congress in Punjab has been swept aside by the AAP, while the Shiromani Akali Dal and the Bahujan Samaj Party have disappeared without a trace.

Credit: Dinamalar

Amar Ujala’s Lucknow edition had a banner headline: “Kanoon ka Yogiraj”, or Yogi’s reign over law. It alluded to the widespread perception in Uttar Pradesh that the BJP government under Adityanath had successfully cracked down on crime. This was one of the main planks of the BJP’s campaign in the state.

Credit: Amar Ujala

The front page of the Dainik Jagran declared, “Yogi hi upyogi” or Yogi is the most useful leader, by borrowing a campaign line deployed by Modi in one of his first election meetings in Uttar Pradesh.

The cover image showed Modi and Adityanath riding a bulldozer, a popular reference to the hardline stance adopted by the BJP government against criminals. An article headlined “Bulldozer, labharthi, Modi-Yogi ka jaadu” attributed the BJP’s victory to the crackdown on crime, welfarism and the combined leadership of Modi and Adityanath.

Credit: Dainik Jagran

The Lucknow editions of the country’s leading Hindi dailies foregrounded Adityanath. Amar Ujala led with a banner headline that screamed, “Kanoon ka Yogiraaj” – Yogi’s lawful reign. The lead story explained the headline, which attributes the mandate to two things primarily: welfare measures and better law and order.

Credit: Amar Ujala

Dainik Bhaskar went with a banner image of Adityanath celebrating by throwing coloured powder with his colleagues in the state BJP. The headline is a play on a well-known Bhojpuri Holi song.

Credit: Dainik Bhaskar

Dainik Bhaskar’s Dehradun edition had a more subdued front page. The main headline said: “Lotus blooms in UP, Uttarakhand, Goa and Manipur.” Lotus is the symbol of the BJP.

An article pointed out that Uttarakhand had lived up to its record of defeating the incumbent chief minister in his constituency, even though the BJP had won comfortably in the state.

Credit: Dainik Bhaskar

The newspaper’s Delhi edition emphasised the scale of the BJP’s victory in Uttar Pradesh, with a headline that said “Maha-Rajyogi”.

Credit: Dainik Bhaskar

Urdu newspaper from Mumbai, Inquilab, ran with a somewhat sarcastic headline, pointing out that unemployment and inflation were rendered “nazar andaz” or ignored by the voters as the BJP swept to power in four states.

In Kolkata, the Bangla Anandabazar ran a full front page of the BJP win, pointing out that Modi had engineered a “saffron storm”. However, it too, on page eight, pointed out how “from Lakhimpur to Hathras, there was no impact on the vote”.

Credit: Anandabazar