Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday congratulated the party for the election results in Maharashtra and Haryana, saying these days, it is no mean achievement for a party to get consecutive terms in power in a state. The BJP will come back in power in Maharashtra and in Haryana, it has emerged as the single largest party.
"These are unprecedented victories because normally these days few governments return after five years. In such times to be elected again is a big deal," PM Modi told party workers, attributing the victory to the hard work of Chief Ministers Devendra Fadnavis and ML Khattar.
The BJP had lost two heartland states - Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh - to the Congress in the last round of elections held in December, months before the Lok Sabha elections. The results - first after the party's landslide victory in the Lok Sabha elections - are expected to bolster the party at a time the opposition had tried to redirect focus to local issues like farmer suicides and unemployment.
What made the scale of the achievement larger was that the teams that led the government in both states were relatively new, the Prime Minister said. Not so long ago, the party had to be the junior partner to regional heavyweights in both states, he pointed out.
In both Maharashtra and Haryana, the teams formed after the victory in the 2014 elections were relatively new, the Prime Minister said. In this context, high praise went to the BJP team in Haryana.
"People who know Haryana politics, they must know if we had to form an alliance with a party in the state, we had to fight on seats of their choice. This was a condition before 2014. It would be a big deal if we even touched double digits... To come from there to where we are today is remarkable," he said.
Similarly in Maharashtra, the party had been junior partner to Shiv Sena till the sweeping victory in the 2014 general elections, he said.
In a state like Maharashtra, where the country's financial capital, Mumbai, is located, political stability accounts for a lot, the Prime Minister said.
Even so, "For years, parties with two-thirds majority could not last," he said, adding that Devendra Fadnavis was the first Chief Minister in Maharashtra in 50 years, who not only served the full five-year term, but also got re-elected.
This, he indicated, was due to the nature of the BJP, "which takes everyone along - a remark seen as a dig to cantankerous ally Shiv Sena.
The Sena, which had been one of the biggest critics of PM Modi's policies over the last five years, is now insisting on a 50:50 formula that would give it a shot at the Chief Minister's post for two-and-a-half years. Party chief Uddhav Thackeray has insisted that the BJP honour the agreement made during Amit Shah's visit to his home ahead of the Lok Sabha elections.