BJP sweeps in MP, Rajasthan, retains Chhattisgarh; stunning debut by AAP in Delhi

Power slipped out of the hands of the Congress in Rajasthan and Delhi, while in Madhya Pradesh it faced a rout as the incumbent BJP romped back to power with a massive mandate. In Chhattisgarh, after a nail-biting finish, the BJP scraped through. Votes for the Mizoram Assembly elections will be counted on Monday.

Poll pundits termed the voting trend in the four northern States a clear indication of anti-Congress sentiments in the region, mainly due to the unprecedented price rise, especially of food items, as well as mis-governance.

According to the results announced on Sunday, the incumbent Congress Government led by Ashok Gehlot in Rajasthan faced a humiliating defeat by the BJP, which is set to announce Vasundhara Raje as the next Chief Minister.

In Madhya Pradesh, the BJP Government led by Shivraj Singh Chouhan managed a hat-trick of victories and with a thumping majority. The Congress failed to make a mark even as its campaign was led by young turk Jyotiraditya Scindia.

But the shocker for the big two national parties came from Delhi, where a dazzling debut by the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) pushed the Congress to the third position after 15 years in power, leaving the BJP gasping to touch the halfway mark.

The elections to the five States are seen as the semi-finals before the Lok Sabha polls for mid-2014, as also as a test case for the leadership of the BJP’s Prime Ministerial candidate, Narendra Modi, and the Congress vice-president, Rahul Gandhi.

Modi factor

While the Congress maintained that there was no impact of any ‘Modi wave’ on these elections, BJP President Rajnath Singh underlined the gain from ‘Modi’s popularity’ in his party’s performance.

A decimated Congress, while congratulating its opponents, indicated a major organisational overhaul. Addressing the media, Congress President Sonia Gandhi said the party was “very, very disappointed” over the results, adding there was a need for “deep introspection”. Rahul Gandhi said the party would “transform in a way you cannot imagine”.

Meanwhile, Delhi was heading towards a hung Assembly, with neither the BJP nor the AAP making it to the halfway mark.

AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal, who defeated three-time Chief Minister of Delhi, Sheila Dikshit, said his party would play the role of a “constructive opposition”.

aditi.n@thehindu.co.in

jigeesh.am@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on December 8, 2013)
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