Voters in Maharashtra and Haryana appear to have factored in the impact of farm distress and economic slowdown while exercising their franchise in the Assembly elections.
At least the muted results in favour of the BJP suggests so, exposing the limited appeal of issues such as abrogation of Article 370 and aggressive nationalism.
Both Haryana and Maharashtra are largely a mix of urban and agrarian regions, that were faced with unemployment and farmer's distress. Though the BJP's shrill campaign featuring Jammu and Kashmir and Pakistan may have appealed to a certain section of voters, it failed to strike a chord in rural areas.
In Marathwada and Vidarbha regions of Maharashtra, reeling under drought, the BJP-Shiv Sena combine lost at least 10 seats to the Opposition NCP-Congress alliance. High profile candidates such as Pankaja Munde lost the prestigious Parli seat to her cousin Dhananjay Munde of the NCP.
In Beed, Jayadutta Kshirsagar, who quit the NCP to join Shiv Sena, lost his traditional seat to his nephew Sandeep Kshirsagar, who was the NCP candidate this time.
“These results have proved once again that the divisive politics and fake patriotism of the BJP miserably failed to win the confidence of the people who were reeling under unemployment, economic slowdown & oppression,” AICC General Secretary K C Venugopal said here.
Senior Congress leader Anand Sharma described the Assembly election mandate as a “moral loss” for Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the entire BJP leadership.
“The election results are also a comment on the anti-democratic, anti-constitutional decision of scrapping of Article 370,” CPI General Secretary D Raja said in a statement.
The mandate is definitely a shot in the arm for the Opposition and a strong message for them to get their act together and play their role with greater aggression.
The results were also an indication that voters exercise their franchise differently in national and state elections, given that they have come just five months after the landslide victory for Modi-led BJP in the Lok Sabha elections.