NEW DELHI: The results of the keenly-contested Assembly elections in five states - Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Mizoram and Telangana – were announced on Tuesday. While the ruling BP was decimated in two states – Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan, the saffron party appeared to be locked in a close battle with Congress in Madhya Pradesh. Congress led by Rahul Gandhi made an impressive comeback in Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh after nearly 15 years, however, it suffered humiliation in Mizoram where it was trounced by the Mizo National Front, and, in Telangana, where it was defeated by TRS led by Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao.
Zee News editor-in-chief Sudhir Chaudhary attempted to decode factors which led to BJP's defeat in three crucial Hindi speaking states and what the outcome of assembly elections meant for a 'resurgent' Congress party under Rahul Gandhi's leadership, in his popular TV show DNA.
PM Modi, BJP not 'invincible'
The results of the assembly elections in five states have "shattered the myth of the BJP`s ''electoral invincibility''. Saffron party's defeat in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh – three major Hindi speaking states - is a clear indication of the people's growing discontent and anger at the policies followed by the Narendra Modi government and BJP governments in various states that have imposed unbearable burdens on the people. These results have shattered the myth of the BJP`s electoral invincibility.
The outcome of the assembly elections are extremely heart-warming for the Grand Old Party, which was facing an existential threat ever since the rise of Narendra Modi and Amit Shah-powered BJP in the country. Another interesting aspect of the Congress victory was that it made an impressive comeback in three major Hindi heartland states, which send a large number of MPs to Parliament. The Congress crisis managers and it central leaders managed to hijack issues like farmers' distress, unemployment, polarisation of votes in the name of Ram temple, the alleged corruption in Rafale deal, killing of soldiers in J&K, demonetisation and GST etc, which have made the BJP dispensation unpopular among the masses. In total, Congress managed to win nearly 128 seats in rural areas in three states where over 30 ministers faced defeat. However, the party's move to forge an alliance with Chandrababu Naidu's TDP proved fatal in Telangana, where KCR's TRS made a clean sweep. Rao had dissolved the Assembly in September, eight months ahead of schedule, in a political gamble that paid off handsomely. By losing Mizoram, Congress was also completely wiped out from northeast.
Rise of Rahul Gandhi
The election results also point to the transformation of Rahul Gandhi from a ''reluctant'' to a mature politician. Congress party's successful comeback in three big states will make Rahul Gandhi more acceptable as a major Opposition contender to PM Modi in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
Impact on 2019 polls
Whether one agrees or not, the outcome of the assembly elections will have a bearing on the fast0-approaching Lok Sabha elections in 2019. The results are more of a referendum on Shivraj Singh Chouhan, Vasundhara Raje and Raman Singh – the three tallest leaders of BJP - but less on Narendra Modi. It also reflects the return of coalition politics in Indian polity. Regional satraps will have more bargaining chip in the days to come. The politics of ambitions has also returned and the same could be seen when Ashok Gehlot and Sachin Pilot came face to face after Rajasthan Assembly election results
Time to rethink for BJP
BJP's defeat in three key states will make it mission 2019 more difficult. In view of the changed political landscape in the country, winning the 2019 Lok Sabha elections will not be a cakewalk for the saffron party. Election results of five states also demonstrate that people have rejected BJP brand off politics its agenda of polarising the masses on religious lines and its anti-people policies. It is a verdict against a visible arrogance and over-confidence that has seeped win to the party. BJP's defeat in the Hindi-heartland is also indicative of the fact saffron party has been turned down by farmers and those living in rural areas.