With Jharkhand loss, BJP loses command over most of the Hindi belt — as regional parties rise

  • Narendra Modi-led Bharatiya Janata Party might have won with a thumping majority in the general elections, but it does mean that its popularity is at an all-time high.
  • At the state level, the Saffron party lost six state elections before and after its Lok Sabha victory. BJP’s fall began last year as it lost assembly elections in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chattisgarh.
  • The latest shocker was Jharkhand which was traditionally considered its bastion.

Narendra Modi-led Bharatiya Janata Party might have won with a thumping majority in the general elections, but it does mean that its popularity is at an all-time high. At the state level, the Saffron party lost six state elections before and after its Lok Sabha victory. BJP’s fall began last year as it lost assembly elections in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chattisgarh. The latest shocker was Jharkhand which was traditionally considered its bastion.

BJP might be at the helm of India — but 2019 saw the rise of regional parties


Jharkhand
Former Jharkhand Chief Minister and Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) chief Hemant Soren at an election campaign rally in support of the party candidate Sanjeev Sardar from Potka, ahead of the 2nd phase of Assembly elections, in Jamshedpur, Jharkhand.Photo) (

BJP witnessed a humiliating defeat at the Jharkhand assembly election this month. An alliance of the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) and the Indian National Congress and the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) won 47 of the 81 seats. BJP had managed to win only 25. It did not help that the polling took place as the state was protesting against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA). LINK STORY
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Maharashtra
Chief Minister of Maharashtra state Devendra Fadnavis, center, arrives at the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) office for a party meeting in Mumbai, India, Sunday, Nov. 24, 2019. Fadnavis was sworn in as the chief minister on Saturday morning.Photo/Rafiq Maqbool)

In the state elections held in October, BJP emerged as the single largest party. Yet, an internal feud with their poll partner -Shiv Sena, led the latter to break away from them. In spite of a fast-track swearing in of BJP state head Devendra Fadnavis as CM, its unholy alliance with a breakaway faction of Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) went awry. Eventually, BJP had to backtrack after a court ordered a floor test, and make way for Sena-Congress-NCP alliance.

Haryana
Haryana Deputy Chief Minister Dushyant Chautala and former chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda interact at Vidhan Sabha, in Chandigarh.Photo) (

BJP still has its grip on Haryana, but it’s not too tight. The Saffron party was able to form a coalition government only because of the support of Dushyant Chautala led Jannayak Janata Party (JJP). While BJP won 40 seats, Congress won 31. JJP won 10 seats, and its support was crucial for the government formation.
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Chhattisgarh
Indian Home Minister Amit Shah, left, wipes his face as Prime Minister Narendra Modi, right, watches during a function to pay tributes to the victims of the 2001 attack on India's Parliament in New Delhi, India, Friday, Dec. 13, 2019. The 2001 attack on India's Parliament had left 14 people dead.Photo/Manish Swarup)

Chhattisgarh was yet another bastion that BJP lost in, but that was last year. The party had ruled the state for 15 years but in the last assembly elections, it has to wind up as it won only in15 seats. Congress won in 68 and decimated the party which was ruling at the center. Though a national party like Congress had taken over, regional parties like Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and Janata Congress Chhattisgarh also ate into the vote share.

Rajasthan
BJP leaders Vasundhara Raje and Saroj Pandey arrive for a meeting of party's national office bearers and state presidents presided by party President Amit Shah, in New Delhi.Photo/Atul Yadav)(

Rajasthan never did have a sweet spot for regional parties. Since 1998, both BJP and Congress ruled the state alternatively. In 2018, BJP won 70 seats in the states — 33 less than Congress. One of the biggest reasons for BJP’s failure was agrarian distress and loss of vote bank from the Meena community. About half the voters were dissatisfied from the Vasundhara Raje-led BJP government.
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Congress won the highest seats — and formed an alliance with RLD, the LJD and the NCP -- to form the government.

Madhya Pradesh


In 2018, Madhya Pradesh became another state where BJP lost but it resulted in a hung assembly as both INC won 114 seats while BJP won 106 seats. However, INC took the support of seven MLAs from BSP, and the Samajwadi Party to form a government.

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Some of the other prominent political territories where BJP has no influence include Delhi, Telangana and Andhra where regional parties continue to rule the roost.


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