The Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) loss in the Hindi belt of Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh on Tuesday saw its 25-year-old ally Shiv Sena and the Opposition in Maharashtra come together to attack the party.
While Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray said the voters had “fearlessly” voted out the people they did not want, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar said the results showed how people didn’t like arrogance. The Sena, however, avoided terming the results a victory of the Congress, instead calling it a reflection of the anger of the people against the BJP.
The results that point to tough times ahead should worry the BJP’s state unit. The big challenge for the party will be to woo its aggressive ally, Shiv Sena, for a pre-poll alliance. The Sena is now unlikely to do so without extracting its pound of flesh.
Taking a swipe at the BJP, Thackeray said, “I congratulate the voters for their courage, as they did not think about the useless question, ‘what is the option’. They did not think about EVMs, distribution of money, or hooliganism, but simply rejected those they did not want. True courage is not worrying about the future,” he said, adding that it has given a new direction to the country.
A senior party leader said the party was now well-placed to make demands when it sat on a negotiating table with its ally for a seat-sharing agreement.
Congress state president Ashok Chavan termed the BJP’s defeat victory of people’s power over money power. “All the three Ms — Modi, machine tampering and money failed to make an impact in favour of the BJP this time. The credit goes to Congress chief Rahul Gandhi, who worked very hard to make this possible. We congratulate farmers and youths for giving their mandate against the ruling dispensation,” said Chavan.
Pawar said the election results indicate people are not ready to tolerate the arrogance of people in power, while the party’s spokesperson Nawab Malik said the defeat marks the end of Modi era. For the Congress-NCP, the poll results are a shot in the arm and will lead to a stronger alliance ahead of the polls. “We know the BJP can be defeated, so it will re-energise our cadre and improve co-ordination between us. Other smaller parties in the state will be ready to align with us against the BJP,” said a senior Congress leader. The mood was upbeat among the cadre of all these three parties through the day, but only the Congress unit celebrated the poll success openly.
First Published: Dec 11, 2018 22:57 IST
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