The results in assembly election of five states- Mizoram, Telangana, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, and Madhya Pradesh- are out. The Northeast is Congress Mukt as the party has lost its last bastion in the region- Mizoram. In Telangana, TRS again arrived at power with a gigantic victory. The joint opposition alliance Mahakutami – comprising the Telugu Desam Party, the Congress, the Telangana Jana Samithi, and the CPI failed to leave any impact.
However, the major takeaway of these elections is the Congress’ victory in the three Hindi heartland states-Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh. The reverberations of these mandate will be seen in the national politics in the coming days. The Grand Old Party would be more aggressive. The party has defeated the BJP for the first time since 2014 in a direct contest, in the three Hindi heartland states. The Congress would now intensify its efforts to project Rahul Gandhi as the main opposition leader to contest against PM Modi in the 2019 general elections.
Until now, the Congress’ position vis-à-vis the prospective allies of the much-hyped grand alliance against the BJP was weak in terms of the bargaining power. The strong regional parties so far treated the Grand Old Party as a pariah. None of the regional satraps wanted the party or the Gandhi family to lead the anti-Modi coalition.
Various formulae had been proposed by the allies including Mamata’s ‘one-on-one’ formula for Mahagathbandhan which was nothing but a recipe of disaster for the Congress party. The scheme was basically a ploy to avoid a Rahul Gandhi led alliance in which regional parties have little say.
However, with the recent victory of Congress in three states- Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, and Madhya Pradesh- now the table seems to have turned totally. The ecosystem of the party is trying their level best to project that Rahul Gandhi as the reason behind Congress’ triumph in these states. If they succeed in manufacturing this narrative then in the days to come, it will give Rahul Gandhi an edge in terms of political clout over other regional leaders like Akhilesh Yadav, Mamata Banerjee, and Mayawati. Now, the Congress party will proceed ahead with more bargaining power vis-à-vis the prospective allies. Now that they have smelled blood, the Congress would push hard for more seats. An example of this could be Uttar Pradesh where the SP-BSP alliance was only ready to concede two seats to Congress- Amethi, Raebareli (both Congress bastion) -in the event of an alliance. It’s very unlikely that the INC would accept such an offer after its recent success in the assembly elections in Hindi heartland; they would also not entertain a formula such as One-on-One.
After its success in Hindi heartland, the Grand Old Party will have larger say over as to who will remain in the grand anti-Modi alliance and who would play the second fiddle’s role. The anti-Modi and anti-BJP parties are happy over the humbling of the saffron party in three states, but they also are aware of the fact that the strengthening of the INC is likely to weaken their prospect in the Mahagathbandhan with a reduced bargaining power. It will lead to a direct showdown between PM Modi and Rahul Gandhi.