New Delhi :
Leaving behind the ghosts of 2014 and a series of electoral losses, Congress president Rahul Gandhi led his party to a massive victory in the crucial heartland states of Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh. The resurgent Congress dismantled BJP in Chhattisgarh, showed the door to it in Rajasthan and snatched victory from the jaws of defeat in Madhya Pradesh.
In 90-member Chhattisgarh Assembly, the Congress had won 68 seats while the BJP reduced to just 15 seats. In Rajasthan, the Congress party wrested power from the BJP by winning 99 of the 199-seats where polling was held. The BJP could manage to win only 73 seats but other won big and bagged 27 seats.
BJP's bastion Madhya Pradesh also disappointed Shivraj Singh Chouhan, who was seeking a fourth term. In a neck-and-neck contest, the Congress emerged as the single largest party in the state but fell short of a majority by two seats in the 230-member house. The BJP won 109 seats, the BSP two, the Samajwadi Party one, and independents four.
The Congress' morale-boosting victory in the heartland states came on a day when Rahul Gandhi completed his one year as the party president. The outcome of Assembly elections in three crucial states will also strengthen Rahul Gandhi's position as the leader of the anti-BJP front under consideration for 2019 Lok Sabha polls.
However, the disappointing news for the Congress came from the northeast as the party lost its last bastion Mizoram where the MNF handed the ruling party a body blow. Led by its CM designate Zoramthanga, the MNF won 26 of the 40 Assembly constituencies. The Congress, who was in power in the state for the last 10 years, was reduced to just five seats with Chief Minister Lal Thanhawla losing from both the seats he contested.
The only positive for the BJP in these Assembly elections was that the party opened its account for the first time in Mizoram. In south, the TRS registered a thumping victory and crashed the 'Maha Kootami' alliance stitched by Rahul Gandhi and TDP chief Chandrababu Naidu.