The people’s verdict in the Haryana and Maharashtra Assembly elections is a continuation of the story that started with the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. It is a categorical rejection of the Congress party and a reaffirmation of the electorate’s faith that under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s stewardship, BJP is their best bet for a paradigm shift in governance and inclusive development. The party has snatched two very important states from the Congress—Maharashtra, the economic powerhouse of the country, and Haryana, whose geographical proximity with the national capital gives it far greater clout in national politics than its size.
In Haryana, the BJP’s victory was phenomenal. From being a fringe player till recently—with only four MLAs in the outgoing Assembly and two MLAs in the previous assembly—the BJP now has a majority despite the lack of a worthwhile local leadership. The ruling Congress was relegated to a poor third position. In Maharashtra, though the BJP couldn’t get a majority on its own it became the first party since 1990 to have crossed the 100-mark. The number of seats that the BJP has won and is leading in is more than what its erstwhile ally, the Shiv Sena, had offered it during the failed alliance talks.
Modi had made it possible. His commander-in-chief at the helm in the organisation, Amit Shah, too has proven his worth—by taking a bold gambit and making it pay. While celebrations are in order, the BJP has no time for smugness. With the party organisation in the two states being rather nebulous, the BJP national leadership has an onerous task ahead. While the organisation should be strengthened and young local leadership should be encouraged, the party must ensure that its governments in the two states live up to the voters’ expectations and deliver. They should ensure clean, transparent and decisive governance and speed up development.