The BJP-led NDA secured more than 350 seats and the Congress-led UPA 54 seats, failing yet again to win the required number of seats to get the Leader of Opposition status in the Lok Sabha.
The Bharatiya Janata Party stormed to power for a second term on Thursday by winning more than 300 seats on its own in the 543-member Lok Sabha. The BJP-led NDA secured more than 350 seats and the Congress-led UPA 54 seats, failing yet again to win the required number of seats to get the Leader of Opposition status in the Lok Sabha. The party also failed to open its account in 18 states. The BJP, however, made a clean sweep in northern and western states, barring Punjab. It gained immensely in Mamata Banerjee’s West Bengal by winning 18 seats.
It is natural that the top leaders get all the credit they deserve for a victory as super-sized as this. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah deserve all the praise for leading the BJP to power for another term with a clear majority. However, there are many more leaders who tirelessly worked behind the scenes and managed the party’s cadre on the ground to gain majority. Also, Amit Shah’s skills in managing the world’s largest political party and keeping its workers disciplined and focussed speaks volumes about how tactfully the entire BJP campaign was designed.
Leaders like Kailash Vijayavargiya, Bhupendra Yadav, Prakash Javadekar, Sunil Bansal, Anil Jain and Anil Baluni did a commendable job pushing the party’s tally beyond its highest ever tally of 300. Others like Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis, Haryana’s Manohar Lal Khattar and Uttar Pradesh’s Yogi Adityanath also led a fiery campaign against their opponents in their respective states. Former Madhya Pradesh CM Shivraj Singh who lost power to Congress’ Kamal Nath last December engineered the party’s comeback in the state.
In West Bengal, the result was a setback for Mamata Banerjee in West Bengal where reports of violence marred the entire poll process in the state. The BJP, on the other hand, was confident since day one of the election that it will improve its tally in this eastern state and set a target of winning 22 out of 42 seats. The man who engineered BJP’s giant leap in West Bengal was Kailash Vijayavargiya. A staunch leader of Hindutva ideology, Vijayavargiya was appointed as the state in charge for West Bengal in July 2015. Vijayavargiya played a crucial role in uniting the party leaders by burying their differences in the state. He projected the BJP as an alternative to TMC and made it a fight between Mamata’a Muslims appeasement vs BJP’s development agenda. Vijayavargiya also serves as the party’s general secretary.
Anil Baluni, who is BJP’s in-charge of media cell, immersed himself in a hectic schedule planning the party’s media management pan India. It was his responsibility that the telecast of Modi’s 144 rallies didn’t clash with those of other prominent leaders. He was also the one who arranged Finance Minister Arun Jaitley’s daily media interaction in the national capital. Baluni is also a Rajya Sabha member.
Anil Jain, a Rajya Sabha MP from Uttar Pradesh, is not a leader who is known to common people but is an important party functionary. He ensured that BJP’s performance in Haryana and Chhattisgarh contributes to the party’s overall gain. A surgeon by profession, Jain is the BJP’s in charge for Haryana and Chhattisgarh and was the man who suggested that the party drop all sitting MPs from Chhattisgarh. The move was accepted and fresh candidates were chosen to contest the Lok Sabha elections following the BJP’s decisive defeat in the assembly elections. He ensured that the party gains from division of votes in Jat community and disenchantment with Congress. Besides, Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar who has close ties with the RSS effectively persuaded the people to vote for the saffron party.
In Uttar Pradesh, the BJP again delivered a decent result despite the challenge posed by the alliance of the Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party. The saffron party bagged 62 seats along with its allies and stumped the SP-BSP-RLD combine which was expecting a reversal of fortunes on the basis of a caste matrix. However, voters rose above the caste barrier and posed their faith in the BJP. The campaign of the BJP was managed entirely by Sunil Bansal who happens to be BJP’s Uttar Pradesh general secretary (organisation). An RSS functionary who enjoys close ties to Amit Shah, this was his third election in the state after 2014 general elections and 2017 assembly elections.
Party’s national general secretary, Bhupendra Yadav played a crucial role in BJP’s thumping win in Bihar and Jharkhand. He handled the party’s logistics and planned Modi’s rallies in close coordination with his office. He is today considered as a war room strategist. Yadav had led the party to victories in assembly elections of Rajasthan (2013), Gujarat (2017), Jharkhand (2014) and Uttar Pradesh (2017). Yadav is also election in-charge for Bihar and has earned a nickname ‘committee man’ within the party for his skills in convincingly managing the leaders wherever it is tricky.
Prakash Javadekar who has been active in politics since his college days and was a member of ABVP played an effective role in uniting the leaders in Rajasthan where the party had lost power to Congress just a few months ago. Javadekar is currently election in charge of the Rajasthan unit of the party. He established a direct link with ground leaders and listened to the grievance.