New Delhi: It was a race that promised to be a marathon but ended in a flash like a 100-metre sprint. Within a few minutes after 8 am on Thursday morning when postal ballots and EVMs were opened to find out the Lok Sabha election results 2019, the Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance surged way ahead of its rivals. In less than an hour, it became clear that Narendra Modi 2.0 was decimating the opposition across west, north, central and even east India.
The message of a muscular, secure India coupled with a dose of Hindutva, nationalism and corruption-free aspirational society secured BJP over 300 seats alone, a mandate which is once again bigger than the one in 2014. The IAF air strikes on terror camps in Pakistan's Balakot coupled with surgical strikes in September 2016 projected the 68-year-old Narendra Modi as a leader who went all out to protect and avenge any cut inflicted on India.
At 11:30 pm with all the 542 Lok Sabha seats reporting, the BJP had already won in 219 constituencies and was leading in 84 others for a combined tally of 303 with the NDA kitty swelling to 354. Just like the "Abki Baar Modi Sarkar" slogan in 2014, the "Abki Baar 300 Paar" phrase along with chowkidar did the magic as the Modi-Shah duo along with their allies painted India saffron yet again as every slogan and plan the rival tried to execute failed to cut any ice with the voters.
It was a victory of gigantic proportions and Modi became the first prime minister after the late Indira Gandhi in 1971 to retain power with an absolute majority. Jawaharlal Nehru, in 1957 and 62, is the only other prime minister to have retained power with an absolute majority.
Modi, who dropped chowkidar from his Twitter handle after the massive mandate on Thursday afternoon, along with BJP president Amit Shah proved to be in a completely different league. The duo delivered the knockout punch to their rivals even before the match started. Modi secured Varanasi by over 4.79 lakh votes and in several states like Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Haryana and Delhi, the BJP completely wiped out the opposition.
Two states where the BJP was expected to face a tough time, too, saw the Modi phenomena steamrolling the opposition as the result of Lok Sabha election 2019 bettered the one achieved in five years back in 2014. West Bengal, ruled by Trinamool Congress' mercurial leader Mamata Banerjee and where the BJP had two seats in the last Lok Sabha election, along with Uttar Pradesh, which was awash with saffron in 2014 as the NDA bagged 73 seats, had on paper two formidable rivals.
While Trinamool Congress had maintained a formidable grip in West Bengal since 2011, the Samajwadi Party-Bahujan Samaj Party-Rashtriya Lok Dal claimed a caste alliance that would stop the Modi juggernaut. But both crumbled like a pack of cards as the BJP surged to 18 seats in Mamata's backyard while annihilating the UP Mahagathbandhan by bagging 61 seats, just a little lower than its tally in the last Lok Sabha election and much better than what most analysts and exit polls had predicted. West Bengal verdict saw the BJP establishing itself as the only party capable of challenging TMC's hegemony.
Even Congress president Rahul Gandhi conceded defeat to BJP's feisty Smriti Irani in his family pocket borough of Amethi much before the last vote was counted. However, he managed to win from Wayanad by a big margin.
Only a handful of major states like Kerala, tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh survived the Modi tsunami. In Tamil Nadu, though, BJP ally AIADMK bagged one seat while the DMK-Congress alliance plucked 37 others. Voting in Vellore Lok Sabha seat of Tamil Nadu was cancelled over the use of money power.
As in 2014, Congress failed to win even 10 per cent of Lok Sabha seats as it was at 52 with 39 wins and 13 leads. If the party does not win at least 54 Lok Sabha seats, it will not get the Leader of Opposition post for the second consecutive time. Indeed, an inglorious record for a party which has been in power at the Centre for almost 60 years. The party failed to win any seat in 19 states and union territories including Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Haryana, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Delhi, Jammu and Kashmir, Andaman and Nicobar, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Mizoram, Sikkim, Tripura, Chandigarh, Dadar Nagar Haveli, Daman Diu and Lakshadweep.