DAINIK NATION BUREAU
With the BJP toppling the Left in Tripura and likely to be a part of ruling alliances in Nagaland and Meghalaya, the party is set to lead or be a partner in 21 of India’s 31 state governments, underlining a saffron dominance of the national political map like no other time.
What is more telling is that the main opposition party, the Congress, is in power in only four states — its lowest-ever tally — and that include Mizoram and Puducherry.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah had on Saturday picked Karnataka — the only Congress-ruled state which sends 20 or more MPs to the Lok Sabha — as their next target, with Modi asserting that the opposition party will not be in power following elections there, likely in April-May.
The BJP has had a spectacular rise under Modi and Shah in the last four years as the tally of states ruled by it before it stormed to power at the Centre in May 2014 has risen from seven to 21. It will have 17 chief ministers after its elected legislature party leader takes oath in Tripura.
The states ruled alone or in alliance by the BJP include Jammu and Kashmir, Haryana, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Bihar, Goa and Maharashtra.
With the next Lok Sabha elections barely a year away, BJP leaders have underlined the significance of its performance in the three northeast states, with Shah claiming that it is an indication of the verdict expected not only in Karnataka Assembly but also the next parliamentary polls.
The timing of its unprecedented performance in states of Tripura, where it will form its maiden government, and Nagaland, where it has for the first time won 12 seats, has also come handy for it at a time when opposition parties have sought to corner it over a host of issues, including banking scams and perceived farm crisis.
BJP sources said the energy and motivation which the Congress might have drawn from its strong fight against their party in Gujarat and its win in recent bypolls will dissipate and the message to its cadre and the masses is that people continue to back Modi and his party.
Shah had on Saturday pointed out that in three recent state polls, including Gujaarat, Himachal Pradesh and Tripura, his party has received close to 50 per cent of votes which underscored its popular appeal. PTI