With three big states (Rajasthan, Punjab and Karnataka) under its belt and a good showing in one (Madhya Pradesh), Congress is slowly emerging from the lows of 2014 but with Mizoram gone it is out of power in all the seven states in the northeast. BJP’s reduced state footprint will make its 2019 battle tougher. If voter preferences in these five states stay the same till the 2019 elections, BJP could lose over 30 of 62 (of 65) seats it holds. Here are the 2019 projections based on the election results of these five states:
‘Pappu’ no more?
Winning two BJP states and emerging as the largest party in one in a year after taking over as Congress President will boost his stature as PM Narendra Modi‘s main rival for the top office.
It’s not just Congress vs BJP
Both BJP and Congress contested Telangana and Mizoram and both lost. While K Chandrasekhar Rao’s Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) swept the former, Mizo National Front will form the government in Mizoram with a comfortable majority. In 2019 too, regional parties will have a big role to play, in some states bigger than BJP and Congress.
BJP’s loss didn’t equal Congress’s gain
In Madhya Pradesh, BJP was battling a three-term anti-incumbency and in Rajasthan a 30-year trend of incumbents being voted out. Yet Congress’ lead in the two states isn’t as big as what the party expected.
Blog: Alarm bells for BJP
Last-minute alliances don’t work
The grand (last-minute) alliance of Congress, TDP and CPM in Telangana bit the dust, though the rationale looked good on paper. On the other hand, an early alliance with the AIMIM worked for TRS (Telangana has one of the largest Muslim population in the country). The same thing happened to the forced alliance of Ajit Jogi and BSP in Chhattisgarh that came together at the last minute because BSP’s negotiations with Congress went haywire. On the other hand, not teaming up with BSP didn’t affect Congress much.
Leaders win polls, lose them too
Not having a clear leader may have been a factor in Congress+TDP’s rout in Telangana and having two contenders a factor in lower-than-expected Rajasthan numbers. But having a strong unquestioned leader is no guarantee of a win either as BJP’s Raman Singh showed in Chhattisgarh.
2019 is an open contest
Generally, winning parties have a higher chance of retaining the states they win in assembly elections if the national elections are held within a year but given the narrow difference in the number of votes (and seats) BJP and Congress won in MP and Rajasthan, that may change.
Farmers need more than loan waivers
Agrarian distress was on top of Congress agenda in MP and Rajasthan; hence the promises of a loan waiver. Yet, Congress lost in the farm unrest hotspots of MP.
Mayawati is still around
Her bet of not allying with Congress may not have worked in Chhattisgarh but she is in striking distance of becoming the kingmaker in Madhya Pradesh. Her lessons from these polls and the clout in UP may shape alliances and outcome.