Despite the SP-BSP alliance roadblock in its way, the BJP and its ally put up a great performance in Uttar Pradesh, halting the efforts of the fledgling 'mahagathbandhan' to challenge the party in the crucial Hindi heartland state.
As counting progressed past midnight, the BJP and the Apna Dal (S) consolidated their position, winning 62 seats together out of the 80 seats at stake. The BSP won 10 seats, while its alliance partner SP won four and was leading on one. Only Sonia Gandhi won Congress a seat in Uttar Pradesh, where the party had five stronghold seats.
In 2014 polls, BJP had won 71 seats and its ally Apna Dal (S) two, while Samajwadi Party bagged five seats and Congress two. In three bypolls, the opposition had wrested Gorakhpur, Phulpur and Kairana from the BJP.
This time, the Modi wave not only smashed the SP-BSP alliance, but also uprooted Congress president Rahul Gandhi from the party bastion of Amethi, where Union Minister Smriti Irani won by a margin of more than 55,000 votes.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi won from Varanasi seat defeating his nearest rival Shalini Yadav of SP by a margin of 4,79,505 votes, bettering his previous margin of 3,71,784 votes in 2014.
Sonia Gandhi retained Rae Bareli seat, defeating her nearest rival by 1,67,178 votes, the EC website said.
Priyanka Gandhi’s entry was being seen as Congress’ move to manage decent votes in the state, at least manage as many seats as they did in 2009. That however, did not work in the grand old party’s favor.
Samajawadi Party founder Mulayam Singh Yadav won Mainpuri seat, while his son and SP president Akhilesh Yadav, who contested from Azamgarh, won by 2.59 lakh votes.
But the scene was not so rosy for other members of the Yadav clan as Akhilesh Yadav's wife Dimple and his cousin Dharmendra were trailing in Kannuaj and Badaun, respectively.
A notable SP victory was that of party veteran Azam Khan, known for making controversial remarks, from Rampur where he was fighting against actor-turned-politician Jaya Prada. He defeated his nearest rival Jaya Prada by over one lakh votes.
Mayawati’s BSP had drawn a blank last time, but this time her alliance with the SP appeared to have paid her dividends as her party won 10 seats.
Just ahead of the election, the SP and the BSP had cobbled together an alliance. The BSP contested 38 seats, the SP 37, leaving three for RLD. The alliance did not put up any candidate in Amethi and Raebareli.
(With inputs from PTI)