The Narendra Modi led government has faced its biggest state elections defeat ever. The BJP’s defeat in these states can be a major setback in the 2019 general elections. The BJP lost power to the Congress in all three states (Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan), and its ambition of emerging as a strong power in Telangana all but evaporated as its tally fell to one seat from the earlier five. In Mizoram, the BJP won one seat while the opposition Mizo National Front defeated the ruling Congress.
These three states had offered rich pickings for the Bharatiya Janata Party in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls. The party had swept virtually all the seats on offer in these states, bagging an aggregate of 62 out of the 65 seats on offer.
While conceding defeat in the assembly elections, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh caretaker chief ministers Shivraj Singh Chouhan and Raman Singh respectively also owned up responsibility for the BJP’s below than expected show. Despite the two seeking to shield the BJP leadership, the assembly elections in five states appear to be a vote against Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
According to the calculations, The BJP could lose up to 32 of the 62 seats it won in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh if the trends witnessed in the assembly elections are replicated in the big general elections in 2019. But the Congress’ tally in the next Lok Sabha polls could jump from 3 to 33 seats in the 2019 general elections. The BJP’s tally could drop by more than half, from 62 to 30 seats.
Realistically speaking, repeating the highs of 2014 after five years of being in power is highly improbable. For the BJP, the 2014 general election results represent the peak of Narendra Modi’s popularity and the exit poll of assembly elections indicates the depth to which the party can fall in 2019. The extent to which the BJP is able to stem the decline in these states determine how steep the 2019 asking rate is for the party in areas outside the core strongholds of the BJP.