The Assembly Elections results 2018 in the five states have thrown many surprises even though the counting of votes is still on. Trends so far show the BJP is facing defeats in Chhatisgarh and Rajasthan. The grand old party of India has succeeded in dealing a body blow to the BJP as it heads for a clear majority in Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh.
By 01:39 am, the Congress party had secured majority in Rajasthan, and was comfortably ahead in Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh. In Rajashtan, the Congress party and its allies had won 101 seats, just past the halfway mark of 100 seats, while the BJP had been able to secure 73 seats. In Chhattisgarh, the BJP had won 11 seats and was leading on four seats, while the Congress emerged victorious on 56 seats and was ahead on 12 seats. In MP, however, the Congress was right on the magic figure of 115 seats, whereas the BJP was on 108 seats. The state might be in for a hung Assembly, though the parties had started approaching independents and candidates from other smaller parties to form a majority government.
In a shock result, a resurgent Congress ended Chief Minister Raman Singh's uninterrupted 15-year rule in Chhattisgarh and was on course to regain power in Rajasthan where the BJP won all the 25 seats in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls. Raman Singh submitted his resignation to the Governor and said he accepts responsibility for BJP's poor showing."We (party) will sit and introspect," he told reporters in Raipur.
As voting trends and results slowly trickled in the Assembly polls in the five states that is being dubbed as a semi-final to the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the Congress, which had won just 58 seats in the outgoing Assembly in Madhya Pradesh, crossed the 100 mark (115 seats) in a House of 230. The BJP had won 100 seats and was ahead in 8 constituencies, whereas the Congress and its allies had won 108 seats and were leading on seven seats. Counting trends showed that at least a dozen constituencies witnessed the leading margins being just 500 votes.
According to Election Commission data, both the BJP and the Congress secured 41 per cent vote share each in Madhya Pradesh. Three-time Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, who was battling anti-incumbency, won the Budhni seat but a dozen ministers were trailing behind Congress candidates. Senior Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia said the trends reflected people's desire for a change in Madhya Pradesh while state Congress chief Kamal Nath exuded confidence they will form the government in the state.
"Trends show Congress marching ahead to victory in Rajasthan, MP and Chhattisgarh. We are confident the trend will continue across the country," Congress leader Sachin Pilot said in Jaipur. In Chhattisgarh, five ministers in the BJP government - Brijmohan Agrawal (Raipur City South), Kedar Kashyap (Narayanpur constituency), Mahesh Gagda (Bijapur), Dayaldas Baghel (Nawagarh) and Amar Agrawal (Bilaspur) - were trailing.
The Janata Congress Chhattisgarh (J) of former chief minister Ajit Jogi was ahead in five seats while the CPI and the Gondwana Gantantra Party and the CPI (M) were leading in one seat each. The trends in the desert state of Rajasthan showed the Congress has crossed the magic mark of 100. The outcome reflected the 20-year "revolving door" trend of voters in choosing the BJP and the Congress alternately.
Rajasthan has a 200-member assembly but polling in Alwar's Ramgarh constituency was postponed following the death of the BSP candidate there. Former chief minister Ashok Gehlot and Pilot are believed to be frontrunners for the top post.
The TRS is set to form its second successive government in Telangana where it won a simple majority and is heading for a landslide victory with its candidates clinching 88 seats, in a resounding endorsement of its chief K Chandrasekhar Rao's popularity. In Mizoram, the Mizo National Front (MNF) got a simple majority bagging 26 of the 40 seats at stake dislodging the Congress which bagged five.
While it could take a few hours before the final results are announced, there's plenty political leaders from both Congress and the BJP have to say.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that the party accepts the people's mandate with humility. In a series of tweets, he thanked the people of Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan for giving us the opportunity to serve these states, and congratulated the victors in all five states.
"The family of BJP Karyakartas worked day and night for the state elections. I salute them for their hardwork. Victory and defeat are an integral part of life. Today's results will further our resolve to serve people and work even harder for the development of India," PM Modi said in a tweet.
Rajnath Singh, Union Home Minister and Senior BJP leader: "I congratulate the political parties and leaders who are winning across the five states in the state Assembly elections 2018. The polls were fought on the basis of the performance of state governments. However, I can say the Mahagathbandhan has failed terribly in Telangana."
Ashok Gehlot, Senior Congress leader and CM candidate: "The Congress will form the government. This is the mandate of the public, which is in favour of the Congress party. We will get the clear majority and will also take along other parties or candidates who quit the BJP for us. Congress president Rahul Gandhi cornered Modi and BJP president Amit Shah in the Gujarat assembly polls. Since then they are not able to stand again. They technically won the Gujarat assembly elections but it was their defeat."
Sachin Pilot, Rajasthan Congress leader: "The initial trends have indicated the Congress is leading in all the three states, and the party hopes it will be replicated at the all-India level. The decision about the post (of CM) will be decided by the high command. This is a big gift for Congress president Rahul Gandhi, who was elected as the party president exactly one year ago. The Assembly Election results in Rajasthan show the people of the state have rejected the BJP in all the three states, including Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh."
Sanjay Raut, Senior leader, Shiv Sena: "I won't say these are victories of Congress but this is an anger of the people. Self-reflection is needed," reported ANI.
Navjot Singh Sidhu, Congress leader and Punjab Cabinet leader: "Rahul bhai pehle se hi sabko saath leke chalte hain. Insaniyat ki moorat hain. Jo haath Bharat ki takdir ko apne haathon mein lene waale hain, wo bade majboot hain, aur BJP ka naya naam- GTU -- Gire to Bhi Tang Upar. (Rahul has always taken everyone along. He is a perfect picture of humanity. The hands that are about to take control of the country are strong enough. And the BJP has a new name -- GTU (Gire to Bhi Tang Upar)."
Edited by Manoj Sharma with inputs from PTI