The Congress’ position as a principal opposition party was at stake in this election with the party on the verge of oblivion. PM Modi used to ridicule congress by calling it PPP – ‘Punjab, Puducherry and Parivaar’ Party.
In keeping with recent developments, here are the 10 most important takeaways from the assembly results:
- The assembly election results have surely dented the BJP’s dream of a ‘Congress-Mukt’ Bharat and have left the BJP to introspect with what went wrong in three crucial states of the Hindi heartland. After all, Congress is now no longer a ‘PPP’ party.
- The three states of the Hindi heartland were key to the BJP’s national showing with the party winning 62 Lok Sabha seats out of 65 in 2014. This repeat of tally at present seems quite unlikely. Although much cannot be read into Lok Sabha elections from the assembly results, but surely with the government in these 3 states, the Congress party and organization will get stronger and be able to fight, plan and strategise for LS elections in a more structured and coherent way.
- The fact that there is disappointment and distress that has built across the very classes and social groups which voted for BJP in the past, has left party worried for 2019. There has been a drop across the board in terms of the party’s vote share and seat share. In fact, a large number of sitting BJP ministers lost their own seats in this election.
- These results will built a perception right before the LS elections and will speak volumes in all major national and political circles. A 5-0 defeat in assembly elections for a ruling government builds a huge perception against it and symbolizes that ‘all is not well.’
- The impression of invincibility that the BJP had acquired and projected under the leadership of PM Modi and Amit Shah has now been punctured. Ahead of the 2019 parliamentary elections, this delivers a momentum to the challenger that it the Congress and a reality check to the ruling BJP.
- BJP also needs to ponder that it has lost 2 of his most popular, 3-times serving Chief Ministers – Shivraj Singh Chauhan and Raman Singh. In every election PM and BJP used to give examples of ‘good governance’ by citing the names and work done by BJP under Chauhan and Singh in their respective states. But this won’t be possible now. BJP will no longer be able to cite these states as a role model.
- The Chhattisgarh result has come out as a big surprise in this election. The unexpected landslide sweep of Congress against a powerful face of Raman Singh raises a pertinent question here. All those people who are asking, ‘Modi V/S Who in 2019?’ should note the fact that it was also ‘Raman Singh V/S Who?’ in Chhattisgarh this time. The Congress fought without a face under collective state leadership and emerged as a formidable winner. More than one face, they focused on issues, manifesto and agendas of the people.
- Indian voters aren’t going to vote against Jawaharlal Nehru, or Indira and Rajiv Gandhi in 2019. They will be voting for or against the ruling government, not against someone’s family. So, step out of that illusion and instead of asking votes against Congress, BJP should seek votes for itself. It is time to talk about your own development work rather than asking and abusing about what happened in the past 60 years.
- People voted for ‘vikaas’ and ‘achche din’ in 2014, not for polarisation and communal distress. But today the narrative has shifted from vikaas, employment and farmers to gau–raksha, lynching and love–jihad.
- It can now be assumed that the 2019 contest is open and BJP can’t take it for granted. The direct face-off between the Congress and BJP in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh has given a new boost to the morale of Congress party. This is also Rahul Gandhi’s first real victory as president of his party. This win will not only boost the morale of Congress cadres but will also enhance their bargaining power with regional parties, generate more resources and strategise for elections in a much better way.
Featured image for representative purpose only.
Featured image source: Samir Jana for Hindustan Times via Getty.