The BJP on Tuesday suffered the most humiliating defeat under Prime Minister Narendra Modi as the Congress trounched the saffron party in the Hindi heartland of Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan. The Congress was all set to wrest power from the BJP in these three states. A BJP MP has now blamed the party’s shift of focus from the development agenda to Ram Temple and building statues for Tuesday’s defeat.
News agency ANI quoted BJP’s Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Kakade as saying, “I think it’s because we forgot the issue of development that Prime Minister Narendra Modi took up in 2014, and turned our focus to statues, name-changing and the Ram temple.”
The Congress secured a two-third majority in Chhattisgarh as the party led on 67 out of 90 seats in the state. In Rajasthan too, the party was on course to secure a majority on its own as it led on over 100 seats in the 200-seat assembly.
For the BJP, the biggest setback came in Madhya Pradesh, where the Congress was all set to end the 15-year rule of the saffron party. The Congress was leading on 116 seats in the 230-seat state assembly on late Tuesday afternoon.
The Tuesday’s shocking results appear to have sent shockwaves in the BJP camp as the party’s offices across these three states and in Delhi bore deserted look.
BJP MP Kakade had predicted a poor performance by the BJP even during the Gujarat elections, but was forced to withdraw his comments under pressure from the party leadership. He said that while the BJP expected losses in Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan, the party’s defeat in Madhya Pradesh had come as a shock.
BJP had made desperate attempts to polarise voters in the just-concluded assembly polls along religious lines. One of its star campaigners, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, had even breached election code of conduct by invoking the name of Hindu god Lord Hanuman while seeking votes.