India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath Image Credit: ANI

Look at the above carefully — the two saffron mascots who scripted a dream victory for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) today retaining Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Goa and winning Manipur.

Yogi Adityanath, 49, who has stormed back to power now has an appointment with history — the first incumbent in 40 years to return to power and the second most important leader in the BJP after Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Yogi’s empathetic win has provided the tailwind for Modi to go in the big fight of the 2024 as the enthroned winner with a scattered opposition, particularly an emaciated Congress which looks more like a family cult of the Gandhis than a political party hungry for a win.

If Modi has a secret weapon in winning elections it can only be the Gandhi family. Rahul Gandhi led the party to two dismal general election losses, took responsibility and resigned in 2019 yet keeps the party in an iron grip.

Mother Sonia Gandhi is the Congress president on paper, yet all the shots are called by the Gandhi siblings who refuse to be held accountable. The Congress party resembles a zombie careening from loss to loss and held hostage to impulsive juvenile decision making.

If the Congress was actually a family firm, no one would care but currently the party sits on a 20 per cent vote share nationally and its pathetic performance reflects on the opposition against the BJP.

Punjab fiasco

The Gandhi siblings sacked Amarinder Singh as the Punjab Chief Minister four months before the elections, trying to earn kudos for appointing Charanjit Singh Channi — the first Dalit CM of Punjab.

Channi could never move away from tokenism as Navjot Singh Sidhu, Gandhi family favourite, kept attacking him. Both Channi and Sidhu played — ‘who will be the CM’ — without winning the elections and the Punjab electorate punished them by voting in the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP).

Arvind Kejriwal actually seems to have learnt from his mistake of not projecting a CM earlier and sold Punjab the “Delhi model” and erstwhile comedian Bhagwant Singh Mann.

Kejriwal is smoothly replacing the Congress party in several states and unlike the Gandhi siblings actually has a winning track record and resume. An extremely ambitious Kejriwal is the first regional leader who has managed to win outside his state — an important milestone in AAP history.

An ostrich act

The Congress, meanwhile, continues its impression of an ostrich with its head in the sand. Sonia Gandhi has called for a Congress working committee meeting and Rahul Gandhi has tweeted that it will “learn from these defeats”. He will have ample time to mull over serial defeats in his next foreign sojourn.

Priyanka Gandhi, with a 2.4 per cent vote share in UP, will have a political nightmare to contend with. She has got an egg on her face in her maiden political debut. Even her choice as the state chief, Ajay Lalu, lost the election.

Gandhi has managed to alienate the remaining Congress workers in UP where the party has been out for power for nearly 30 years. Gandhi refused to commit to UP by living in Lucknow and remained a helicopter political. UP was not impressed.

Everything said, Hindutva now seems to be the dominant ideology of Indian politics with the BJP today emerging as the main pole of Indian politics effectively replacing the Congress.