Saffron sweep for BJP in UP, Modi wave swamps rivals

In a spectacular saffron sweep, the Bharatiya Janata Party is heading for a landslide victory in assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh, India’s largest state and the epicentre of the country’s politics.
Latest trends indicate that the BJP, which heads the ruling coalition at the Centre, looks set to gain over 300 seats in the 403-seat assembly in UP.
It’s clearly a big moment for Prime Minister Narendra Modi who campaigned extensively across the seat and staked his personal reputation in the UP elections. Mr Modi’s charisma and his rallying slogan of “Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas” (inclusive development) seems to have smashed the entrenched caste arithmetic that had traditionally worked in favour of regional parties like Samajwadi Party and BSP in the past. The electoral victory in Uttar Pradesh bears the Modi stamp, but it could not have been possible without 24×7 strategizing and organisational skills of BJP president Amit Shah.
The BJP’s victory is also seen as a big endorsement for Mr Modi’s controversial demonetisation, which was aimed at cleansing black money out of the system. Demonetisation was widely criticised by some opposition parties, but the BJP’s victory in India’s most populous state is expected to silence all critics.

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Exit polls upbeat about BJP’s prospects in UP

Exit polls broadcast by Indian television channels have projected India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi ahead in the key state of Uttar Pradesh while Congress is poised to return to power in the northern state of Punjab after a ten-year hiatus.
Most of the exit polls are unanimous that BJP is expected to return to power in the Himalayan state of Uttarakhand the coastal state of Goa.
The BJP also appears set to win north-eastern state of Manipur from the Congress. If that happens in actual counting of ballots on March 11, this will be the second state in the region to have a BJP government after Assam.
However, here is a word of caution: Indian exit polls often go off the mark.
The high-pitched Assembly elections in the five states of UP, Goa, Punjab, Uttarakhand and Manipur concluded on March 8 with the last phase polling in Uttar Pradesh and Manipur. The polling in all other states – Goa, Punjab and Uttarakhand – came to an end earlier.

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Why Sardar Patel matters: An Icon of National Unity

An extraordinary leader, freedom fighter and architect of the integration of India, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, better known as “Iron Man of India,” remains an enduring icon of patriotism, nationalism and the spirit of public service. In a fitting tribute to this giant, India will be launching week-long celebrations on Sardar Patel’s birth anniversary on October 31, which has been aptly designated as Rashtriya Ekta Divas or National Unity Day.
A quintessential self-made man, Patel’s life story exemplifies the sheer power of will, hard work and sincerity as he scripted a new life for himself first as a lawyer, and then as a freedom fighter and nation-builder amid trying circumstances.
Given his formidable organizational abilities and unflinching commitment to nation-building, Sardar Patel was appointedas the first deputy prime minister and home minister of independent India, the crucial posts which brought out the best in him and help create an integrated and unified India as we know it now. Patel the Unifier is justly remembered for his iron will and firmness with which he facilitated the integration of over 500 princely states into the framework of federal India.
A pragmatist and realist to the core, Patel was a sharp observer of the international scene and advocated a realistic foreign policy in place of a symbolic idealism. He consistently advocated that no move must be adopted that would compromise the territorial integrity of India, and in particular, cautioned against internationalizing the Kashmir dispute. “I should like to make one thing clear, that we shall not surrender an inch of Kashmir territory to anybody,” Patel famously said.
Sardar Patel may have lived only two and a half years after India’s independence, but in those few months, he shaped the narrative of a modern, strong and self-reliant India. Often compared to Germany’s legendary leader Otto van Bismarck for his key role in the integration of princely states into India, Patel contributed to nation-building in myriad ways.
Decades after his death, Sardar Patel’s absolute love and devotion for India continues to inspire all those who are engaged in the resurgence of India. Tributes and honours continue to pour in for this legendary figure to this day.

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