Exit polls predict that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is set to sweep the state elections held on Monday in Maharashtra and Haryana. In the former, the party is expected to win about 140 seats, which means it could near the 145 majority mark in the 288-seat assembly on its own. Its ally Shiv Sena is projected to win another 100-plus seats. The alliance looks comfortably poised to retain power. In Haryana, of the 90 assembly seats in the fray, the BJP could win as many as 75. Though the seat projections of different exit polls vary, all of them expect the BJP and its allies’ to not only retain power in the two states, but also increase their legislative clout. The official results are scheduled to be announced on Wednesday.

If exit polls have got the results right, the country’s ruling party need not worry about anti-incumbency. Despite coming under increasing attack from opposition parties over the weak state of the economy, joblessness in particular, its appeal seems undiminished. Broader economic issues don’t usually matter as much as local issues in state elections. Yet, large victories in the two states could be interpreted as voter approval of BJP policies in general.

The outcome would also serve opposition parties a stark warning. The disarray in their camp has not gone unnoticed by people. It is clear that they are struggling to find a cohesive and convincing narrative to take on the BJP. In the absence of an opposition revival, the country could be in for a prolonged period of one-party dominance. The Congress wins in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh last year, when it toppled BJP governments in these states, are looking more and more distant. The 2019 story is only getting stronger. On current trends, there is no stopping the BJP.

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