The Congress-owned National Herald in a post-poll analysis has admitted that the BJP's huge victory in Uttar Pradesh (UP) has been made possible "above all" because the saffron party “displayed a hunger for victory that others didn’t”, which was also “helped immensely by its foot soldiers and ‘Parcha Pramukhs’, each of whom was made responsible for mobilising 10 voters.”
Refusing to recall even once the allegation of manipulating electronic voting machines (EVMs), supported by Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala, National Herald, revived on November 14, 2016 as a digital edition, said, the BJP's strong tally of 324 was the result of “long and hard work” of Amit Shah in a “virtually wave-less and issue-less election.”
The National Herald is owned by the Associated Journals Ltd (AJL), launched in 1938 as a daily newspaper as a vanguard of the Freedom Movement by Jawarharlal Nehru. AJL is under the control of Young Indian, owned by four Congress leaders, Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi, Motilal Vora and Oscar Fernandes. Sonia and Rahul each control 38% stakes, while while Vora and Fernandes control rest of the 24% stakes.
Also crediting the BJP with “marketing genius”, the National Herald analysis said, “Demonetisation may have been a terrible idea and put the economy on a reverse gear, but Modi expertly sold it to the poor as something done for their benefit. The Opposition just failed to communicate to the poor.”
Noting that the claim that "the Opposition was batting for the rich with black money carried more weight with the voters”, the unsigned analysis praised Amit Shah’s “organisational ability”, saying, “The BJP president is credited with visiting almost every block headquarter in UP, reaching out to various community leaders, eating with them and smoothening their ruffled feathers.”
“Which other party president has done as much?” wondered the National Herald quoting an analyst, adding, “The organising and negotiating skills of Shah, vastly underrated by rivals played an important role in the victory. Leaders of other political parties went on Rath Yatras and held road shows, but Shah had more connect with the ground.”
Also attributing the victory to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “larger than life image”, which critics “scoffed” at wondering why was he devoting so much time to a state election, the analysis said, “the 23 rallies addressed by him clearly helped”, adding, what went against the Congress-Samajwadi (SP) Party alliance included “anti-incumbency, lawlessness, corruption”, in addition to SP's family feud.
“The BJP had little difficulty in calling the Congress-SP alliance opportunistic since the Congress had been campaigning very hard against the state government before the alliance was forged”, the National Herald opined, adding, “It clearly put off both SP and Congress workers and ‘friendly fights’ and indifferent workers would have taken a toll.”
“Demonetisation”, admitted the Congress site, may also have hit the Congress-SP "war chest”, yet the fact is, the analysis insisted, BJP “beat others hollow when it came to communication strategy and reach and ability to convey its message clearly and without any clutter.”
Then, it pointed out, “making Keshav Prasad Maurya the state BJP chief and projecting him as the key OBC face in Uttar Pradesh”, helped the party poach “major backward leaders from other parties such as Bahujan Samaj Party’s Swami Prasad Maurya”, even as “aggressively cultivated both Yadavs and non-Yadavs, besides targeting non-Jatav Dalits. ”
Finally, the analysis said, “Fielding not even a single Muslim in the state rallied insecure sections of the majority community”, which was further helped by promises of a Ram Mandir, anti-Romeo squad, a new Sanskrit University, Modi’s speeches beginning with Jai Shri Ram, his “insinuation that “more graveyards were built for Muslims than cemeteries for Hindus”, and so on.
Stating that all this helped polarise voters, the analysis underlined, this had happened against the backdrop of “100 low-intensity communal incidents”, quoting observers to say that “while most of these incidents were largely ignored by the media, they could have been manipulated to incite and consolidate one group or the other. ”