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BJP President Amit Shah held a press conference at the BJP headquarters in New Delhi at around 3.45 pm on March 11 and the thrust of his speech was simple: “People have rejected dynasty and appeasement politics.”

This oblique reference was not just to the Congress, but also to the Yadav family in Samajwadi Party (SP), one that saw ugly infighting just before the elections, resulting in, Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav’s uncle Shivpal Yadav being ousted and the founder of the party, Akhilesh’s father Mulayam Singh Yadav having to take a backseat.

Said Shah: “The results have been exciting.” Then, in the excitement of the occasion he said: “We have registered historic win in five states.” He had factored in Punjab, where Congress was winning. He later, of course, said that the BJP would be forming government in four states. That was a face-saver.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s first comment on the victory came in around 4pm, when he just said: “Overjoyed with the historic victory”. Earlier he had tweeted his congratulatory remark for Amarinder Singh of Punjab.

Shah justified Modi’s demonetization move saying: “The Demonetization move helped us to win UP elections. Those who did negative publicity against the BJP have got the answers.”

“People have rejected dynasty and appeasement politics,” he added. “We fought the elections for the betterment of the people of UP.”

He took his time to applaud his leader, Modi, saying: “There is no doubt that Narendra Modi has become the most popular leader in post-independence India.”

When a reporter asked him about BSP leader Mayawati’s comment that the EVMs had been tampered with, Shah just said: “I don’t want to comment on Mayawati’s comment.”

Mayawati had said at a separate press conference earlier in the day that she would be approaching the court and if she was not happy she would start a movement. She had complained that the EVMs were so configured that whichever button you press, the vote goes to the BJP.

Shah came back on track by saying: “These elections will be successful in bringing UP on track of development. The arrival of the BJP means restoration of law and order. Move past Hindu-Muslim, a voter is a voter; politics of development should take place.

“People accepted politics of performance; this historic mandate will take the country to new direction,” he said.

Back to the banks, he also said that while the banks had been nationalised earlier, “It was the BJP that took the banks to the poor of the country with the Jan Dhan Accounts.”

—Written with contributions from Sujit Bhar, Meha Mathur,
Sucheta Dasgupta, Prabir Biswas, Punit Mishra, Bhavana Gaur,
Kh Manglembi Devi, Ram Lagan, Amitava Sen and Anthony Lawrence

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