Results 2018: Raj, C'garh, MP to Cong

Rahul Gandhi and Narendra Modi. (PTI file photos)

Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was on course to lose a big chunk of the key Hindi heartland on Tuesday as the party’s election-winning machine came to a grinding halt in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh.

At 6 PM, the Congress moved ahead with 116 out of 230 seats in Madhya Pradesh and the BJP fell back with 105 seats; in Rajasthan, the Congress reached a majority with 103 out of 199, with the BJP at 71 leads; and Chhattisgarh appeared to be BJP's lost cause, with just 17 leads compared to the Congress’ 63 in the 90 seats up for grabs.

The BJP is in power in all three states, and won as many as 62 seats from them in the Lok Sabha.

In Telangana, Chief Minister K Chandrashekara Rao’s TRS was coasting to a win with 87 leads out of 119 , and in Mizoram, the Mizo National Front had 26 leads out of 40.

In MP, where a neck-and-neck race continues after several hours of counting, Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) may yet have a role to play in the government formation.

BSP seems doing well in Chhattisgarh and MP but the margin of Congress seems so big in Chhattisgarh that its alliance with BSP and Ajit Jogi’s Janata Congress Chhattisgarh, may not have a role in government formation.

The shock result for BJP could be its Chief Minister of Chhattisgarh ‘chawal waale baba’ Raman Singh trailing behind Congress candidate and former Prime Minister late Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s niece Karuna Shukla in his home turf Rajnandgaon. Even the scale of defeat in the tribal state, where the Congress had in 2013 lost almost its entire leadership to a Maoist ambush, has worrying signs for BJP.

The BJP can, however, can take solace from the fact that the margin of the Congress lead in Rajasthan is much lower than what was anticipated and gives credence to the theory that towards the fag end of the voting day, BJP made up substantially for its losses in Rajasthan and registered an upswing.

Victories for the Congress will have huge ramifications for 2019 Lok Sabha polls, though BJP spokespersons are denying any such correlation.

That uncertainty had gripped all parties was evident when after first trends suggested a hung House in Chattisgarh, Congress spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi gave his personal opinion about his party exploring some arrangement with smaller parties.

However, the latest trends show a near decimation of Ajit Jogi factor in the tribal state.

Three of these states - MP, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh - is being ruled by the BJP, Mizoram by the Congress and Telangana by the TRS. A reverse of electoral fortunes in these Assembly polls is bound to echo badly for the BJP in the next general elections.

The worry in the Congress was all the more understandable as a defeat in this round of Assembly polls could put the party in an existential crisis after it had won just 44 seats in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls.

In Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, the Congress promise of a loan waiver seems to have worked well coming in the backdrop of 2016 killing of six agitating farmers, an issue that reverberated in both the adjoining states.

“The day Congress comes to power in Madhya Pradesh, you start counting the days, and I guarantee that within 10 days your loans will be waived,” Congress President Rahul Gandhi had repeatedly said during his election campaign in Madhya Pradesh. The Congress has gained in BJP’s traditional strong hold Malwa region, where RSS has had deep roots and Sangh Parivar’s stalwarts like Kushabhau Thakre, Sunderlal Patwa, Kailash Joshi and Virendra Sakhlecha, hailed.

Rahul Gandhi’s temple trips and soft Hindutva plank also seem to have paid off for the Congress. Muslims have steadfastly backed the Congress without getting provoked to Hindutva rant from the other side.

The trends if, they turn into results, will ensure that the Congress has leverage in sealing alliances elsewhere including Uttar Pradesh, where BSP and SP have kind of given it a short shrift so far. The Congress can bargain on its own strength. Besides, this could also result in BJP now aggressively looking  to firm up alliances ahead of the 2019 polls as anti-incumbency seems to have set in. The results coming on a day when the Winter session begins, will also result in Opposition parties closing ranks against the government on issues.

The BJP can cheer the fact that the Northeast is now ‘Congress Mukt’ with its last government in the region falling to the Mizo National Front being backed by the BJP while TRS, which has been friendlier to the BJP of late, has decisively won Telangana, where the Congress-led Opposition alliance did not really make the expected impact.

See our live blogs on the election results from the states below:

Rajasthan Election Results Live

Madhya Pradesh Election Results Live

Telangana Election Results Live

Chhattisgarh Election Results Live

Mizoram Election Results Live

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Results 2018: Raj, C'garh, MP to Cong

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