For four years and a bit, every time there has been a major state election, the dominant narrative is to call it a ‘test’ for prime minister Narendra Modi and his Sancho Panza, Amit Shah. The truth is, barring defeats in Bihar and Delhi in 2015, and a ‘stolen’ mandate in Goa in 2017, the BJP leadership has successfully passed almost every election test ( in Punjab, it was the BJP ally, the Akali Dal, who was the big loser).
To understand vox populi on the Uttar Pradesh assembly election, India Today's Rajdeep Sardesai takes you through the 'Land of Awadh'.
We meet voters to understand will the alliance between Akhilesh Yadav's Samajwadi Party and Congress replicate the success of 2012? Or will Narendra Modi and the BJP will be able to build up on the momentum of the spectactular 2014 Lok Sabha elections? Or will Mayawati remain as the x-factor?
In the 2015 Delhi elections, Arvind Kejriwal didn't just demolish his opposition; he also defeated the media. That might seem a strange thing to say since the general impression for a long time has been that Kejriwal and his AAP party are a creation of the media, and television news in particular. The fact is, February 2015 is not December 2013. Then, we couldn't get enough of Kejriwal: he was popping in and out of tv studios and every move, every soundbite of his, was tracked with relentless energy. 'Would you do it with any other chief minister?' I recall Narendra Modi asking me once in a phone conversation.
There is nothing quite like an Indian election: it is, to borrow from The Times of India's slogan, 'the dance of democracy'. Yesterday, was yet another remarkable moment in India's electoral history. There was a general feeling ahead of counting day that AAP was in the lead. My own figure in the office sweepstakes was a half century for AAP. But no one, least of all Arvind Kejriwal himself, could have imagined 67 out of the 70 seats.
On the face of it, a Narendra Modi’s politics is as different from Mayawati’s as a Gujarati dhokla is from a Lucknowi seekh kebab. One is a Hindutva icon, the other is the Dalit mascot. One is a chief minister of a fast-track state, the other of a state still struggling to catch up with the rest. One prides himself on being a CEO-like politician, the other is credited with a transferable votebank. One is trying to live down his image as a hate figure for minorities, the other is trying to live up to her status as a symbol of caste empowerment.