Congress still has miles to go

The results of the bypolls held in 29 assembly and three Lok Sabha seats have thrown up interesting results. Both the main political parties of India, the ruling BJP and opposition Congress, have had mixed results. The Congress lost badly in Assam but made gains in Himachal Pradesh. The BJP gained massively in Assam but lost in the other states. There are two ways to understand the possible impact of the results of the bypolls to 30 assembly constituencies, and three Lok Sabha seats, spread across 14 states and one union territory.

One is through the prism of leaders and the second is through the prism of parties – but irrespective of which perspective one picks up, there is a common thread. These elections were fought in their respective local terrain and were largely driven by local factors, specific to that constituency or that state. Therefore, any attempt to read a larger national message in this may be unwise. The results, however, still reveal important political trends.

The BJP panicked after the bypoll results and immediately announced a reduction in prices of petrol and diesel. Even though the saffron party is still considerably much ahead of others, the bypoll results forced them to act. Inflation has become a big issue. Though the Congress made some gains, the situation is still very tough for the grand old party. The party is way behind the BJP and will need a massive push to project itself as an alternative to the BJP.