Lucknow, March 7 (IANS): The Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) hopes for a revival in India's most populous state were dashed as Uttar Pradesh's 12.73 crore voters rallied behind the Samajwadi Party's (SP) to hand it a stunning victory over Mayawati's Bahujan Samaj Party.
Winning 224 seats, the Mulayam Singh Yadav-led party is set to form the government in the state with a comfortable majority in the 403-member assembly. Its performance comes as quantum jump to 2007 when it was voted out of power and got just 97 seats.
The BSP has been literally wiped out, securing 80 wins now against its unprecedented 206 seats in 2007.
Meanwhile, the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) with 47 seats has slipped from its earlier standing of 51 seats in 2007 but then it was in alliance with the Apna Dal.
The real loser is the Congress.
Though the party fared slightly better from its 22 seat tally of 2007 by getting 28 wins, the party faced humiliation with a complete rout in Amethi and Rae Bareilly - bastions of the Gandhi family, seats which are held in the Lok Sabha by general secretary Rahul Gandhi and party chief Sonia Gandhi respectively.
With heavy gains for the SP in the two Gandhi citadels, questions are being raised on the Gandhi charisma as not only Rahul and Sonia, even Priyanka Gandhi with her two children had camped here and canvassed for Congress candidates.
The shock for the Congress did not end here as despite the Muslim sub-quota promise and other promises to the minority community, the party fared badly in almost all Muslim dominated constituencies.
In Azamgarh, where the party invoked the Batla House gunfight of Delhi, the party failed to get even one seat out of five, and was either at the third or fifth position.
In Aligarh, the seat of the prestigious Aligarh Muslim University (AMU), the SP won the city seat while the Congress was pushed to the fourth position. In Deoband, another important Muslim centre, the Congress was at the third position and saw the seat going to the Samajwadi Party.
Union Law Minister Salman Khursheed who had raised the hackles of the Election Commission (EC) by promising 18 percent sub-quota for Muslims in jobs and colleges, if the party was voted to power, even "if he was hung by the poll panel" failed to get his wife and sitting legislator Louise Khursheed win the Farrukhabad seat.
Even the BJP despite its slightly better performance this time saw its strongholds crumble in face of the SP wave.
Lucknow, always held by the BJPm saw just one seat out of the nine come to it with party veteran Kalraj Mishra winning Lucknow East. This was the first time that the BJP went to polls without the charismatic former prime minister Atal Behari Vajpayee and the losses are for all to see. The BJP could not even hold to Faizabad and Ayodhya - where the Ram Janmabhoomi movement was born and picked up pace.
Independents and other small parties who won 16 seats in the 2007 state assembly polls have managed 14 seats this time.