In what was being coined as the ‘semi-final’ verdict ahead of the 2014 Lok Sabha election, the BJP on Sunday retained Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, snatched Rajasthan from the Congress but was denied a clear win in Delhi by the debutant Aam Aadmi Party’s (AAP) spectacular showing.
So humiliating was the Congress rout in three places — in Chhattisgarh alone it put up a fight — that a somber looking Congress president Sonia Gandhi said that the outcome ‘calls for deep introspection’.'We have to understand to look at the many reasons for this defeat,’ she said, as leader after leader, looking despondent, sought to argue that the results were no reflection of the national mood.
The BJP’s best showing came in Rajasthan, where it bounced back to power after five years, sweeping a record 162 seats in the 200-member house and leaving the Congress limping with only 21 seats. It was the worst result for Congress in Rajasthan, far less than the 41 it won in the post-Emergency 1977 election.
In Madhya Pradesh, Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, a gold medalist in Masters of Philosophy from Barkatulla University, led the BJP to a facile third victory. The party won 166 seats in the 230-member assembly, up from the 143 it won in 2008.
Arvind Kejriwal (C), leader of the newly formed Aam Aadmi (Common Man) Party, waves to his supporters after winning against Delhi’s Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit during state elections, at his party office in New Delhi on December 8, 2013.
The BJP huffed and puffed before snatching victory from a fighting Congress in Chhattisgarh, with Chief Minister Raman Singh claiming victory after eight hours of nail-biting suspense. The BJP ended up with 49 of the 90 seats, one less than last time. The Congress settled for 39, one more than in 2008.
The national capital threw up the most stunning verdict, ending 15 years of Congress rule and leaving it punctured with just eight seats in the 70-member legislature. The BJP finished with 31 seats, five short of a simple majority, thanks to a tsunami of Arvind Kejriwal’s one-year-old Aam Aadmi Party. Kejriwal earned the grudging admiration of even his foes as his party, born out of Anna Hazare’s anti-corruption movement, won a solid 28 seats, triggering frenzied celebrations.