The 17th Lok Sabha elections saw a decisive victory for the Narendra Modi-led NDA alliance, winning 354 seats, with BJP alone victorious on 303 seats. The extent of Modi dominance is evident while analysing the figures pouring in from the Election Commission for the country’s most populous state, Uttar Pradesh. In the state, Congress fielded 67 candidates and lost security deposit in 63 of them.
According to the Election Commission set rules and norms, if a candidate fails to get 1/6th of votes (16.67%) of votes polled in a constituency, such candidate stands to lose the security deposit. Based on this rule, only four Congress candidates in UP will get their security deposits back, the deposit for the remaining 63 will not be refunded. The 4 seats where Congress managed to save deposits were Amethi, Rae Bareli, Saharanpur and Kanpur. Sonia Gandhi won from Rae Bareli, the only seat that Congress won in Uttar Pradesh, where the SP-BSP alliance did not field a candidate. Smriti Irani pulled off a splendid victory against Congress president Rahul Gandhi in Amethi, though the latter managed to get 43.8% votes.
The seat of Saharanpur was won by the BSP candidate Haji Fazlur Rehman with 41.74 per cent. However, the ‘Boti Boti’ fame Imran Masood managed to save his security deposit as he secured 16.81 per cent votes in the Saharanpur constituency. BJP’s Satyadev Pachauri won the Kanpur Lok Sabha seat with an impressive 55.63 per cent voting while the Congress candidate Sriprakash Jaiswal scored 37.13 per cent of voting to save his deposit.
The state of Congress was particularly dismal in the western Uttar Pradesh where it lost deposits on 21 of the 22 seats contested. Raj Babbar lost the deposit after the results declared by the Election Commission showed that Babbar could only manage to poll 16.59 per cent of the total votes, just below the mark needed to get the security back. He was defeated by Rajkumar Chahar of BJP who got 64.32per cent votes. Even the Congress stalwart and former Union Minister Salman Khurshid experienced a mortifying defeat in his constituency Farrukhabad. Salman got a meagre 5.51 per cent of the votes and thus lost his security deposit.
Another motormouth Congress leader Acharya Pramod Krishnam who fought against BJP’s Rajnath Singh from Lucknow constituency lost his deposit as he secured only 16.12 per cent of the votes. Rajnath registered a stunning victory with 56.7 per cent poll percentage. Ajay Rai of Congress, who fought against PM Modi from Varanasi also lost his deposit as he won only 14.38 per cent of the votes. Once Congress stronghold, Congress candidates lost deposits in the Lok Sabha constituencies of Allahabad and Phulpur. Shukla got a paltry 3.59 per cent of votes polled in Allahabad, while Niranjan’s tally stood at a pitiably low of 3.35 per cent in Phulpur.
There were 13 constituencies where Congress didn’t field its candidate. They are- Ambedkar Nagar, Azamgarh, Baghpat, Ballia, Bansgaon, Chandauli, Etah, Firozabad, Kannauj, Machhlishahr, Mainpuri, Muzaffarnagar and Pilibhit. In some of these constituencies, Congress backed their alliance partner Jan Adhikar Party (JAP)’s candidates. Congress didn’t field candidates against Samajwadi Party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav in Mainpuri, Akhilesh Yadav in Azamgarh and Dimple Yadav in Kannauj.
The state of Uttar Pradesh has been a microcosm of India, in how the people voted for the saffron party and shunned the Congress party. Some of the seats where BJP lost to BSP-SP alliance, the battle was close. However, Congress defeats in most constituencies have been conclusive. Most of the Congress candidates who lost security deposits could manage to get single-digit vote percentage, with very few who could cross the 2-digit mark. Amit Shah’s claim of attaining more than 50 per cent vote share also proved true as most of the winning BJP candidates polled more than 50 per cent of the total votes.