From Gujarat to Assam: 5 key takeaways for BJP

BJP on Thursday created history in Assam by ousting Congress which also lost Kerala to the Left front while incumbents AIADMK and Trinamool Congress retained power in Tamil Nadu and West Bengal for a second consecutive term. Here are five key takeaways for the BJP from the assembly elections.
1. No more a cow-belt party: BJP is no longer confined to cow-belt only. BJP’s win in Assam and its good performace in West Bengal and Kerala show that the party is spreading its wings to far corners of India. From Gujarat to Assam and Jammu to Kerala, there will be some saffron hue to any political map of India.
2. CM candidate: Elections in India are increasingly becoming personality-centric and are being contested in presidential rather than in parliamentary style. Having a credible and popular face as the chief minister candidate will always be an advantage in the assembly polls. The declaration of Sarbananda Sonowal as chief minister helped the BJP to foil Congress’s plan of making it a fight between PM Narendra Modi and CM Taurn Gogoi. This going local is the way forward for any party in state elections. BJP will have to soon find a CM face for the next year’s battle in Uttar Pradesh.
3. PM Modi is not campaigner-in-chief of BJP: PM Narendra Modi is the commander-in-chief of the government and BJP and he should not be made to work as the campaigner-in-chief of the party.
Any state election with PM Modi as campaigner-in-chief might easily turn into a referendum on the Union government, which may divert the attention from local issues. BJP was wise enough to use PM Modi sparing in Assam and other elections, thereby depriving opposition parties with making it an insider vs outsider contest.
4. Alliance power: In absence of any wave, forming alliance become more crucial to win elections, especially for the BJP. With AGP and Bodo parties on its side, the BJP got its alliances right in Assam.
5. Focus on regional parties: In coming elections, regional parties are going to be the main challenger of the BJP. In UP, it would be in direct fight with SP and BSP. Congress and Nitish-led alliance will also be in frey, but as of now, they are not serious contenders.

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