New Delhi: Putting up an impressive show in the Assembly elections, the Congress on Monday worsted the BJP in Rajasthan, scored a hat-trick in Delhi and regained power in Mizoram while the saffron party had to remain content with retaining Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh.
While the Congress got clear majorities in Delhi and Mizoram, it may be slightly short of the majority mark of 101 in Rajasthan winning 74 seats and ahead in 23 others. The ruling BJP has won in 52 seats and was ahead in 26.
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The BSP has won four seats and was leading in one while independents have bagged 11 and were ahead in four. Others won four seats and were leading in one.
Led by Shiela Dikshit, the Congress retained power for the third consecutive term in Delhi, winning 40 seats in the 70-member Assembly in a keenly fought battle.
The BJP, which was hoping to wrest power after 10 years, was left behind at 22 seats. The BSP won two seats while INLD and LJP bagged one each. Results for three seats are yet to be declared.
Bagging a two-thirds majority in Mizoram, the Congress wrested power from the Mizo National Front after a decade, winning 29 of the 40 seats.
The elections, seen as the ‘semi-final’ ahead of the Lok Sabha polls next year, brought cheer to the Congress which had faced a debacle in 13 states after coming to power at the head of a coalition at the Centre in 2004.
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The BJP, which hoped to cash in on the terror card and sweep in all the states barring Mizoram, managed to retain their grip on power in Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh on the development plank, breaking the jinx of failing to get re-elected in any state other than Gujarat.
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In Madhya Pradesh, the BJP which needs 116 seats to retain power in the 230-member House, was inching towards majority winning 109 seats and was leading in 31 others.
The Congress has won 42 seats and was leading in 32others while the BSP has secured four seats and was leading in as many seats. The Uma Bharti led Bhartiya Jan Shakti Party has won one seat and was leading in five but Bharti herself lost the election in Tikamgarh.
The Samajwadi Party has won one seat and was leading in another while the independents have won two and were leading in one. In the 2003 Assembly elections, the BJP had secured172 seats against Congress’ 39 in the state. Repeating the success in the neighbouring Chhattisgarh, the saffron party has won 49 seats against Congress’ 36. BSP has won two seats while results for three are yet to come.
In the last elections, the BJP had won 50seats and the Congress 36. In Rajasthan, in the last elections the BJP had won121 seats and the Congress 53. The Congress, this time, may have to depend on the support of some of the party rebels who have won as independents and some others to cross the majority mark. In Delhi, the Congress had won 48 seats and the BJP 19 while in Mizoram the now routed MNF had won 21 seats and the Congress 12.
Putting up a brave face, BJP president Rajnath Singh said the election results were not a setback to the party which had lost one state-- Rajasthan-- to the Congress.
Singh did term as “surprising” the poll outcome in Delhi. However, his party colleague and in-charge of Delhi elections Arun Jaitley said the loss in the capital was a setback to the party.
Some of the party leaders felt a younger could have countered the ‘Shiela Dikshit effect´ instead of 78-year-old Vijay Kumar Malhotra who was projected as the chief ministerial candidate.
Buoyed by the results, an elated Congress said there was “no stopping” the party from returning to power at the Centre in the Lok Sabha polls.
“There is no stopping the Congress. We are very confident of winning the next general elections,” senior Congress leader M Verappa Moily told reporters.
Asked whether there was any chance of holding the Lok Sabha polls early, he said the election would be held as scheduled in April but “even in February it is possible”.
The Congress, which was worried over the fallout of the 26 November Mumbai terror attacks, was relieved that it did not have much impact on the poll outcome.
AICC general secretary and Congress’s chief campaigner in Rajasthan Ashok Gehlot said that the voters had cast their votes against “Chief Minster Raje’s rule of terror” and not the Mumbai attacks.
“The common people of Rajasthan were terrorised under Raje’s rule. Now their mandate is to put her shadow of terror behind,” he said.
Gehlot, who won from Sardarpura seat in Jodhpur, is the frontrunner in the race for chief ministership in Rajasthan.