ndia’s pro Hindu Bharatiya Janata Party, which currently rules nationally, suffered a massive defeat when it failed to secure power in any of the five states where election results were declared on Dec. 11.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s BJP was unseated in the three major states of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh. It also failed to make gains in northeastern Mizoram and southern Telangana states where two regional parties prevailed.
“Nobody expected such a crushing defeat for the BJP,” said Archbishop Victor Henry Thakur, who is based in Chhattisgarh state capital Raipur.
BJP’s rival Congress party swept Chhattisgarh by winning 68 of the 90 legislative seats, unseating the BJP, which held power there for 15 years.
The election result was a “befitting reply” to the BJP’s lopsided policies, said Father Maria Stephen, spokesman of the bishops’ council in Madhya Pradesh, where the BJP also lost after running the government for 15 years.
Father Stephen said BJP policies were divisive and sectarian as the party’s governments supported the Hindu militant idea of making India a Hindus-only nation. They ignored violence against minorities, including socially poor Dalits formerly known as “untouchables” and tribal people as well as neglecting the poor in states such as Madhya Pradesh.
Congress and allies together won 121 seats in Madhya Pradesh’s 230-seat legislature, allowing them to form the government.
The BJP was close behind with 109 seats. The Modi government’s failures at national level should be seen as the major cause of defeat in all three states, said Bishop Oswald Lewis of Jaipur in Rajasthan, where Congress and its alliance partner together won 105 seats in the 200-seat house.
Congress’s victories showed that people were upset with the Modi government’s failure to fulfil promises of jobs for young people as well as greater social and economic development, Bishop Lewis said.
In southern Telangana state, the BJP was only able to secure one of the 119 seats. A regional party, Telangana Rashtra Samiti, won 88 seats, while Congress and allies won 27 seats. In Mizoram, the regional Mizoram National Front won 26 seats in the 40-seat house, Congress pick-up five and the BJP only managed to win one seat.
The results are a setback to the BJP’s sectarian politics that has taken dominance over secularism in the country, said Archbishop Leo Cornelio of Bhopal in Madhya Pradesh. “People of this country want to live in peace and harmony,” the archbishop said, noting that during the past five years there had been an atmosphere of hate and violence. “People have decided to end it.”