Congress leads in Rajasthan Assembly Elections, crosses majority mark

The Shiv Sena and the BJP had fought the 2014 Lok Sabha elections together but the BJP subsequently chose to go it alone in the Maharashtra assembly polls in October of that year. The results announced on December 11 put the current governing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the defensive: they didn't win a single state.

Congress has ruled India for most of its post-independence era after 1947 but was decimated by Modi's BJP in national polls in 2014. For the first time in a while, the BJP no longer looks invincible.

A legislator for the BJP said it had erred in focusing its campaign on partisan themes, such as the building of a Hindu temple in Ayodhya at a site disputed by Muslims, instead of offering jobs and growth.

Sachin Pilot, the Congress stalwart in Rajasthan is expected to reach party office in Jaipur by noon. They followed this by gaining power in state after state, controlling 21 of India's 29 state-level assemblies by May 2018. But with the Congress improving its strength, pressure would be on parties like the BSP and the SP to join a Congress-led "secular" coalition. The Congress, meanwhile, has also called out for support from "anti-BJP forces".

In Chhattisgarh, where the party had lost out its entire state leadership in a deadly Naxal attack in 2013, the local leadership was rebuilt in the last five years and the choice of the next chief minister would rely more on which community the party wants to reach out to.

Mr Modi's grandiose promises - especially to create more jobs and increase incomes of farmers - have begun to bite.

Madhya Pradesh: Despite a 10.9 percent annual agricultural growth rate over eight years to 2015 (India's highest), the state witnessed farmer agitations, IndiaSpend reported on November 30, 2018.

"We are going to provide the states with a vision and a government they can be proud of", Gandhi told reporters. Under that policy, nearly 90% of the country's currency notes by value were taken out of circulation.

Following demonetisation, the Modi government implemented the GST (goods and services tax), aimed at bringing the entire country under a single tax umbrella.

Along with Scindia, Nath, 72, was tasked with reviving the fortunes of the opposition Congress in Madhya Pradesh, where the party has been out of power since 2003 and had to face a BJP onslaught in the final days of electioneering.

In Madhya Pradesh, the majority mark is 116 for the 230-seat Assembly. The party is also considering changing the state party president. This did not succeed. But Rajasthan's status as a state bordering Gujarat and the BJP's strong organisational effort could perhaps be two factors which explain this. In fact, journalists regularly write about the "anti-incumbency factor" in India. The current count shows the Congress now leading with 114 seats, with 76 seats to the BJP and 1 to other parties.

Soon after the results for the Assembly elections in Madhya Pradesh were announced, Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati on Wednesday said her party will support the Congress in Madhya Pradesh, and if need be in Rajasthan as well, ANI reported.

The lessons of these state elections will apply to the national landscape ahead.

  • Jon Douglas