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Perked up by bounce-back BJP all smiles, Cong in denial

Ranchi, Dec. 8: Results of Delhi, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh Assembly elections — largely seen as the “semi-final” ahead of the 2014 LokSabha polls — have infused fresh energy in the state BJP, which has been looking to regain lost ground in Jharkhand.

The Congress, nevertheless, dismissed suggestions that the Assembly results would lead the BJP to a sweeping victory in the coming general elections, just a few months away.

Currently busy preparing for the December 29 public rally of the party’s prime ministerial candidate, Narendra Modi, the state BJP leadership is now planning to keep up the momentum to “repeat the good show in the finals”.

Leader of the Opposition in the Assembly and former chief minister Arjun Munda said today’s results proved that people across the country had completely rejected the Congress and were looking upon the BJP with great expectations.

“The people have voted for growth of their states. Only BJP can take proper care of their aspirations. Commoners are fed up with soaring prices and the Congress’s self-willed style of functioning,” he said, adding that the Modi factor played a crucial role in the four state elections and would have a similar impact on the general elections too.

Party insiders believe today’s victory may also influence regional parties, like the JVM and Ajsu, to join hands with the BJP ahead of the coming polls to keep the Congress at bay in Jharkhand.

However, the Congress, which fielded its vice-president Rahul Gandhi against the BJP’s Modi in poll campaigns in Rajasthan, Delhi and Madhya Pradesh, argued that local issues influenced the results and they would have no bearing on the general elections.

“The results are shocking, but these aren’t going to affect our prospects in national politics. The Modi factor did not influence the outcomes. People gave more importance to local problems as opposed to national questions. The Lok Sabha elections will be contested on larger issues. Our preparations are in full swing,” state Congress president Sukhdeo Bhagat told The Telegraph.

Another senior Congress leader said any celebration ahead of the 2014 Lok Sabha polls would be premature. He recalled the 2003 Assembly polls that the BJP had won, only to lose badly in the general elections the next year.

“The BJP doesn’t learn from past experiences,” he said.

Though the two national parties are trying to predict the future through today’s results, regional parties are busy deciphering new trends in the four states that have presented many surprises this time.

Nascent Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) stunned political pundits by pushing the Congress to a humiliating third position in Delhi, while its founder leader Arvind Kejriwal emerged as a giant killer to trounce three-time winner Sheila Dikshit in the prestigious New Delhi constituency.

Regional parties, like Ajsu, JVM, see a ray of hope in the success of AAP, which, they claimed, proved that people were desperately looking for viable alternatives in politics.

Going a step ahead, Ajsu president Sudesh Mahto said the AAP’s success was actually a success of the youth.

“It’s a message for the national parties… how a small campaign started by a handful of youths against corruption overthrew the mighty Sheila Dixit government, despite hectic campaigns by all top ranking Congress leaders,” Mahto pointed out.

He added only those parties and individual politicians who were committed to the welfare of the common man would survive in the 2014 elections.

JVM principal general secretary Pradip Yadav claimed that in these states, the BJP was the only option to teach a lesson to the Congress. But, in Jharkhand, there are several parties, which could push both the Congress and the BJP to a corner. The JVM, he insisted, would do well in the coming polls.