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Assembly Election Results 2018: BJP's wait for Congress-mukt Bharat may never end as recent wins will buoy Congress in 2019

For some time now the BJP has made no secret of its intention to make India Congress-free.

Starting from Prime Minister Narendra Modi, almost all the BJP leaders have been talking about a ‘Congress-mukt Bharat’ since the massive electoral victory in 2014. However, the Congress’ strong showing in the recent round of Assembly elections, has proved that the BJP could be chasing a chimera.

Congress is not only alive and kicking, but also growing in strength.

 Assembly Election Results 2018: BJPs wait for Congress-mukt Bharat may never end as recent wins will buoy Congress in 2019

File images of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Congress president Rahul Gandhi. PTI

For the first time in a direct fight with the BJP, the Congress has won by snatching Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh from the BJP and is giving a tough fight to the saffron party in Madhya Pradesh. This is the most spectacular victory of the grand old party directly against the BJP after its 2014 Lok Sabha debacle, something that the Congress had been desperately looking forward to.

Prior to this round of elections, Congress had never won in a direct fight with the BJP from 2014 onwards. The party had been desperately looking forward to a big victory.

The party had been in alliance with the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and Janata Dal (United) during the Bihar Assembly election in 2015, in which the BJP got defeated. In the Punjab Assembly election, Congress had won but it was against the SAD-BJP combine. Similarly, in Karnataka this year, the JD(S)-Congress alliance had won.

Congress made the country realise about its gaining strength during the Gujarat Assembly election in December 2017 when it gave a tough fight to the ruling BJP in Modi’s home turf. Though it faced defeat, it managed to win 77 seats against the BJP that won 99 seats. It was also for the first time when Rahul led the battle from the front.

The recent victory is critical for the Congress because these are from Hindi heartland, where the party had lost its significance.

Congress president Rahul Gandhi’s elation at the press conference today was understandable.

“This victory of the Congress has been due to its party workers, farmers, youth and small traders. It’s the responsibility of the Congress to listen to their voice and provide a vision on the issues related to farmer distress, unemployment, etc, in the states, we have won. This is our central theme and we need to have a strategic solution. The people of the country have realised that Prime Minister (Modi) failed to fulfill the promises he made in 2014,” Rahul Gandhi said in the press conference.

"It's the time of change. Resurgent Congress and strongly united Opposition will make it very difficult for the prime minister and the BJP to win 2019 election (to Lok Sabha). The country is clearly unhappy with demonetisation, GST, rising unemployment and agrarian crisis. Our victory in Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh has been due to three key issues — unemployment, corruption, and farmers. The message has gone to the public that the prime minister is corrupt and he failed to fight corruption," the Congress president added.

The trumpet for the 2019 General Election to Lok Sabha is expected to be blown after the 2019 Budget. While the Modi government will showcase its achievements on the public domain, the Opposition Congress would ensure to present the failures of the NDA government as Rahul said.

Prime Minister Modi and BJP president Amit Shah on several occasions in the past had talked of making India ‘Congress-free’. The Congress party had faced its worst defeat in 2014, as it succeeded in winning only 44 seats. Thereafter, the Congress got defeated one after the other in Assembly elections held in Maharashtra, Haryana, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Goa, and Gujarat. It lent strength to Modi’s slogan once again.

In February this year, Modi reiterated in Rajya Sabha on the Motion of Thanks for the President’s address that the BJP was only following Mahatma Gandhi’s dream of ‘Congress-mukt Bharat’.

“This is an anti-Modi vote. If we look at a common thread running through all three Hindi heartland states. But that doesn’t mean the BJP is totally out of the reckoning. Alarm bells have started ringing for them and they need to take it seriously before the 2019 Lok Sabha polls,” political commentator and author of ‘Shivraj Singh and Rise of Madhya Pradesh’, Abhilash Khandekar told Firstpost.

This victory has given Congress enough reason to cheer and look forward to 2019 elections with gusto.

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Updated Date: Dec 11, 2018 21:35:54 IST

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