The BJP has nothing to cheer about the outcome of the five Assembly elections. The only consolation for the party is the victory of its nominees in the by-election to the three Assembly segments in Karnataka and the Bastar Lok Sabha constituency in Chhattisgarh.
The biggest disappointment for the party is in Assam where it had hoped to improve on its tally of 10 seats in the last Assembly poll. The party's strength in the State is down to four and the BJP attributed it to ‘disunity' in the Opposition ranks.
The Central Parliamentary Board (CPB) of the party, presided over by Nitin Gadkari and attended among others by senior party leader L.K. Advani, characterised the results as ‘State-specific.'
Conceding the poor performance of the party in Assam, the CPB regretted that lack of Opposition unity proved advantageous to the Congress. It maintained that the outcome in Tamil Nadu was on account of “corruption and nepotism” indulged in by the DMK-led combine.
On West Bengal, the party said that it reflected the disillusionment of the people over lack of development under the Communist rule. “The West Bengal results show that the global decline of Marxist ideology has arrived in India,” the CPB said.
At a news conference here, senior BJP leader Arun Jaitley said that there were many ‘stray indications' in the outcome of the elections that should be a cause of concern to the Congress.
Mr. Jaitley maintained that the UPA owed its second stint to impressive gains made in the States of Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. “The UDF in Kerala has managed to win by a razor-thin margin. It is a washout in Tamil Nadu and in Karnataka. Despite its best efforts, the Congress failed to retain even the one it held of the three Assembly seats for which by-elections were held.”
The BJP leader said that huge victory of rebel Congress leader Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy in the Kadapa Lok Sabha constituency and impressive victory of his mother in the Assembly by-election would spell serious trouble for the Congress in Andhra Pradesh.
Asked about the statement made by Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee that the BJP tally failed to reach even the two-digit figure out of the more than 800 Assembly segments in the five States, Mr. Jaitley wanted to know why the same logic did not apply to the Congress in the Bihar Assembly election.
“Historically, the BJP has been weak in four out of the five States that went to the polls. We contested in these States not with the objective of government formation but to consolidate and expand our vote base,” he said.