With spectacular showing in U.P., Modi consolidates his grip over a new BJP

BJP has become a mass-based party with a charismatic leader.

Updated - March 11, 2017 04:59 pm IST

Published - March 11, 2017 12:01 pm IST - NEW DELHI

The BJP’s spectacular showing in Uttar Pradesh is bigger than its victory at the height of the Ram Janmabhoomi movement in 1991. What does that mean for the BJP as a political party?

It asserts, yet again, that it is now firmly in the grip of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The collegial way in which the party was run is history and it is unlikely to be revived under the reign of Mr. Modi.

His decisions on demonetisation in November, a decisive move to transcend the party’s traditional vote bank of upper castes and the trading communities, and to camp in his parliamentary constituency of Varanasi for the last three days of the polls have paid off. His political judgment and connect with the voters is unlikely to be questioned again for a long time.

The move to a more OBC-centric BJP, that appeals to rural voters and the poor, is the biggest takeaway from the result. When Prime Minister Modi warned his party members at the Allahabad national executive of the party in mid-2016 that he would be going after black money holders, those who attended the meet did not expect him to go ahead with something like demonetisation. But he went ahead with it.

Party president Amit Shah, after having appointed Keshav Prasad Maurya, a non-Yadav OBC, as the State unit president, proceeded to give out 150 seats to candidates belonging to under-represented communities.

These are all pointers to a new BJP under Modi-Shah. It has become a mass-based party with a charismatic leader.

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