A fiercely contested landscape

The Congress has struggled to subdue the BJP in these State elections, but the setback to the BJP is indisputable

If celebrations have broken out in Congress offices across the country, few will grudge it considering that its success in the Hindi heartland comes after four years of defeats, self-doubt and a feeling of being under siege by a perennially turbo-charged Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Yet the Congress’s victory is not without caveats. It swept only Chhattisgarh, was stretched to win Rajasthan, and it sweated to be able to be in a position to lay claim to forming the government in Madhya Pradesh. It was routed in Telangana and Mizoram. For the BJP, there may not even be a consolation prize, in its biggest electoral set-back since capturing power in 2014. For both the national parties there are also discomfiting portents in the verdict. In the current round of elections, Mr. Modi and Mr. Shah went a step further and unleashed U.P. Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath with the express intention of dividing the electorate. Mr. Adityanath, whose single claim to fame is his anti-Muslim approach in all things, did exactly that. In M.P., he said the fight was between the Congress’s Ali and the BJP’s Bajrangbali (Hanuman). In Hyderabad, he promised to drive out Asaduddin Owaisi of the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen should the BJP get a majority. It didn’t matter to Mr. Modi or Mr. Shah that Mr. Adityanath had failed the electoral test in his own State and had lost a critical by-election in his home turf of Gorakhpur. The bad news doesn’t end here for the BJP. In a majority of Assembly elections held since 2014, the BJP’s vote share has dropped well below what it polled in the Lok Sabha election, a pattern seen in the current elections — whether in Rajasthan, M.P. or Chhattisgarh, the BJP’s vote share is nowhere near what it polled in the Lok Sabha. The Congress has struggled to subdue the BJP in these State elections, but the setback to the BJP is indisputable If celebrations have broken out in Congress offices across the country, few will grudge it considering that its success in the Hindi heartland comes after four years of defeats, self-doubt and a feeling of being under siege by a perennially turbo-charged Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Yet the Congress’s victory is not without caveats. It swept only Chhattisgarh, was stretched to win Rajasthan, and it sweated to be able to be in a position to lay claim to forming the government in Madhya Pradesh. It was routed in Telangana and Mizoram. For the BJP, there may not even be a consolation prize, in its biggest electoral set-back since capturing power in 2014. For both the national parties there are also discomfiting portents in the verdict.
Source : https://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-opinion/a-fiercely-contested-landscape/article25721924.ece

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