NEW DELHI: The story of the BJP’s expanding footprint in the State Assemblies moved into its next chapter with Tuesday’s election results in Jharkhand and Jammu & Kashmir — both stretched over five phases of polling.
The saffron party’s eastward push got a solid fillip as its old playground, Jharkhand, gave it a thumping majority — 37 in an 81-seat Assembly, about double the seats bagged by its nearest competitor, the JMM (19), which controlled the outgoing Assembly with precarious minority. The BJP top-brass will meet on Wednesday and pick a suitable chief ministerial candidate. The only element of surprise in that could be if a non-tribal makes the cut.
A more complex picture was thrown up in the strife-torn State of Jammu and Kashmir, where elections tend to become a story that goes well beyond a local frame. The BJP’s audacious attempt to make a foray right into the heart of the Valley — its Mission 44 — came a cropper, with Mehbooba Mufti’s PDP bagging 28 seats and Omar Abdullah’s outgoing National Conference managing 15.
But there’s a real breakthrough for the BJP in the shape of Jammu, where it got a solid 25 seats, ending up as the second largest party. An enviable first-time record that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s incessant campaigning combined with Amit Shah-led BJP’s micro-managed electoral calculus delivered, altering the political matrix of the ‘sensitive State’.