Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday tweeted his congratulations for the Congress, Telangana's K Chandrashekar Rao and the Mizo National Front for their victories in the assembly elections this evening. "We accept the people's mandate with humility," his tweet read.
The BJP has lost two of the heartland states it ruled - Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh - to the Congress. But in Madhya Pradesh, the two parties are close, with Congress winning 114 seats and the BJP 109. In Telangana and Mizoram too, its performance has been dismal despite high hopes of a good showing.
"Victory and defeat are an integral part of life," PM Modi said in a series of tweets. "Today's results will further our resolve to serve people and work even harder for the development of India".
In another tweet, the Prime Minister said:
We accept the people's mandate with humility.- Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) December 11, 2018
I thank the people of Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan for giving us the opportunity to serve these states. The BJP Governments in these states worked tirelessly for the welfare of the people.
This last round of assembly elections in five states were seen as dress rehearsal for the national elections that will be held next year. But various leaders of the BJP said the results will not affect the BJP's chances, since state elections are contested on local issues.
"The 2019 fight will be about who is up against PM Modi," said Raman Singh, the BJP's three-time Chief Minister from Chhattisgarh, who stepped down this evening. The BJP suffered a shock defeat in the state, where the Congress is ahead in 68 of the 90 assembly seats.
Union minister Arun Jaitley said, "We have done reasonably well. We have to introspect. The cadres will have an honest analysis ".
The party, he said, has performed "exceedingly well" in Rajasthan, where "it was predicted that we will be way behind". The Congress is ahead in 101 seats - one above the majority mark - in the state that for the last two decades has voted out the incumbent government. But the Congress score has not been the sweep it expected. The BJP, under the leadership of Vasundhara Raje, is ahead in 73 seats. Elections were held for 199 seats in the 200-member assembly.
The Congress triumph comes as Rahul Gandhi completes a year at the helm of the party. The results are expected to boost his leadership quotient and help the party get a key position at the frontlines of the opposition's grand alliance that is being planned.