Shivraj Singh Chouhan, the three-time BJP Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh, accepted responsibility for the party's defeat in the state, absolving the party's government at the Centre. The BJP had trailed the Congress by five seats in a hard fought election, during which Prime Minister Narendra Modi and party chief Amit Shah campaigned in the state multiple times.
The BJP ended with 109 seats to Congress's 114 - way below the majority mark of 116 in the 230-member assembly. Mr Chouhan, who stepped down today, had said he respected the people's mandate and his party would not attempt to form the next government in the state.
Mr Chouhan had been the face of the campaign, but party chief Amit Shah shuttled in an out of the state more than 30 times. PM Modi had visited 10 times, holding rallies and public meetings. While it amped up the party's vote share - from 38 per cent to 40 per cent, the number of seats suffered a slide.
"If anyone is to blame for that, it is Shivraj Chouhan, who couldn't do it in spite of so much cooperation. I am to blame, I must be lacking somewhere... Despite the best of efforts by the central government, the party could not perform... It is perhaps because of me," he said. "I am grateful to the national head... and people of the country," he added.
"Shivraj Singh has taken the entire responsibility for the loss on himself. But the BJP works collectively. We have collectively accepted that we haven't succeeded. The blame has also been taken collectively," said state BJP chief Rakesh Singh.
Asked whether his future plans include a move to Delhi, Mr Chouhan said, "Meri aatma yahan basti hai (my soul belongs in Madhya Pradesh)".
The BJP suffered severe setbacks yesterday in all three heartland states in an election that is seen as the semi-finals before next year's national elections. In 2014, the BJP had won a chunk of the Lok Sabha seats that Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh account for.
All three, along with Uttar Pradesh, happen to be bellwether states which also have a big say in which party comes to power at the Centre. Data from previous elections have shown that the party that wins the three states, also win a chunk of their Lok Sabha seats.
In neighbouring Chhattisgarh, where the BJP suffered a shock defeat, getting only 15 seats to the Congress's 68.