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The year that ended BJP’s 14-year exile in UP (2017 In Retrospect) 

Lucknow, Dec 30 (IANS) Uttar Pradesh was a parched land for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for 14 long years. Ever since the then Chief Minister Rajnath Singh lost the plot in the 2003 state assembly elections, the saffron party found itself on the sidelines of the country’s politically most crucial state.

In election after election, the BJP was battered by regional satraps like Samajwadi party (SP) chief Mulayam Singh Yadav and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) supremo Mayawati. In 2017, its political “vanvaas” (exile) ended and the party romped home with its highest seat tally ever — 312 in a house of 403.

Building on the stunning victory of the 2014 Lok Sabha election, where the party won 73 of the 80 seats on offer, the BJP’s well-oiled organisation and a frenzied campaign by Prime Minister Narenda Modi, party President Amit Shah and many regional leaders ensured the end of the exile and a return home in style.

The party promised a dejected population the moon and swayed them in its favour. People, fed up with the BSP and the SP misrule, had little option. The development Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav’s brought was for all to see but apparently the electorate was miffed with the SP’s internal feud and the decision to join hands with Rahul Gandhi’s Congress.

The results were catastrophic for the SP and the Congress, the former slipping to its lowest-ever tally of 47 and the latter doing no better than its last showing.

The BJP’s “Dalit nahin Daulat ki beti” (Not a Dalit but the daughter of wealth) credo gained currency during the campaign and the BSP, which was largely being viewed by the media and political observers as a serious contender for the throne, was reduced to an abysmal 19 seats. The corruption charges stuck to Mayawati, already rattled by many desertions in the party. 

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