In the end, March 10, 2022 panned out like it was predicted a few days earlier by exit pollsters. Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party swept Punjab and left the ruling Congress decimated, becoming the star of an election result day during which all eyes were actually on the Uttar Pradesh ‘semi-final’. In UP, CM Yogi Adityanath scripted history by not only breaking the ‘Noida jinx’ but also becoming the first chief minister of the state to return to power after completing a full five years in office.
In neighbouring Uttarakhand, the ruling BJP more than comfortably managed to retain majority, while in Goa and Manipur, the party expressed confidence of forming governments even though the states did not throw up crystal clear results.
For the Congress, this turned out to be yet another election that will raise serious and increasingly justifiable questions about the party’s relevance as the sole alternative to the BJP at the national level. The Bahujan Samaj Party was the other big loser, ending up — like the Congress — in single digits in UP.
That’s more or less the picture of result day 2022. Interested in the numbers? Read on.
ELECTION RESULTS 2022: THE NUMBERS
Counting was still going on late evening in Uttar Pradesh, with final results expected to be released early morning on Friday. As of 11:00 pm on Thursday, here’s how things stood:
UTTAR PRADESH (To win: 202): The BJP and its allies had won or were leading on 273 seats while the Samajwadi Party alliance was ahead on 125. The Congress and the BSP were in single digits at two and one.
PUNJAB (To win: 117): The Aam Aadmi Party had won on 92 seats. The Congress was at a distant second with 18 seats while the SAD alliance was at four. The BJP and its allies had won on two.
UTTARAKHAND (To win: 36): The Bharatiya Janata Party had won on 47 seats while the Congress won on 19 seats.
MANIPUR (To win: 31): The BJP had won on 32 seats. The National People’s Party won on eight seats, while the Naga Peoples Front had won five. The Janata Dal (United) had won six seats and the Congress five.
GOA (To win: 21): The BJP had won 20 seats while the Congress won 11.
KEY TAKEAWAYS FROM THE ELECTION RESULTS
– The Bharatiya Janata Party has beaten anti-incumbency in all the four states it was in power among the five states that went to the polls in this cycle. However, it’s the victory in the politically crucial Uttar Pradesh, which sends the highest number of MPs to the Lok Sabha, that will be the sweetest. The win will keep the party on course in its attempts to return to power at the Centre in 2024 and help it get over the unpleasant memories of the recent West Bengal debacle. With the victory, CM Yogi Adityanath has not just created history in Uttar Pradesh but has also consolidated his stature as one of the most powerful leaders of the BJP.
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– The Uttar Pradesh defeat indicates that Priyanka Gandhi Vadra still has some way to go before she can hope to fulfil her supporters’ dreams of being the Gandhi sibling who will actually bring the grand old party back from near-death. Meanwhile, the Punjab loss has shown that the Congress’s handling of the Navjot Singh Sidhu-Captain Amarinder Singh feud really was inept. The feud saw the departure of an indignant Captain Amarinder, the installation of Charanjit Singh Channi as CM, and Sidhu losing out on the chief minister’s chair (all three of them lost their respective elections today, by the way). The Congress is clearly in disarray and, as has been the case with a number of recent elections, results 2022 paint a very bleak future for the Congress.
– The Aam Aadmi Party captured imaginations on result day 2022, storming Congress’s northern fort. The Punjab victory finally gives wings to the AAP’s long-held dreams of becoming a power player outside Delhi. A decade after entering politics, Arvind Kejriwal can now realistically hope to become a national force. In doing so, Arvind Kejriwal will challenge Mamata Banerjee as both leaders look to fill the void in national politics created by the Congress’s continuing decline.
– The Samajwadi Party may have lost in Uttar Pradesh but Akhilesh Yadav won’t be entirely displeased with his party more than doubling its seat tally compared to the previous election. Akhilesh Yadav, who also won his first ever MLA election, will see this as a positive in his attempt to step out of the shadow of his father and uncles and efforts to revive the Samajwadi Party in Uttar Pradesh.
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– The Bahujan Samaj Party was nowhere in the picture in Uttar Pradesh. However, the outcome was unsurprising. BSP’s absence from the election campaign was a talking point all throughout, with many wondering if it was part of a tacit understanding with the BJP. Others asked whether Mayawati’s heart was really into politics anymore. The answers can be debated, but what is clear is that the BSP, for now, has become a spent force.
– In other notable mentions, the Trinamool Congress, anyway not a serious player in any of the five states, failed to make a mark in Goa where it contested for the first time. And, in Manipur we had what was perhaps the only unexpected development of counting day 2022: Nitish Kumar’s Janata Dal (United) winning six seats.
AND THAT’S A WRAP
The assembly elections 2022 (part one) have brought the BJP juggernaut back on track. The party won Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand handsomely and is likely to form governments in Goa and Manipur. However, it was the Aam Aadmi Party’s day. The party decimated the Congress in Punjab and has become a force to be reckoned at the national level.
What do these results mean for the politics of India? What will happen in Gujarat later this year? And at the Centre in 2024? We will leave that for analysts to examine in the coming days. But, for today, we’re going to call it a wrap!