Decisive wins: On M.P., Rajasthan, Telangana and Chhattisgarh Assembly election results

The BJP rode on the back of its national leadership in the Hindi heartland, while the Congress relied on regional satraps for its success in Telangana

These decisive numbers give the BJP central leadership the latitude to have its way in government formation in all three States. The lion’s share of the credit for the victories belongs to Mr. Modi, reinforcing his authority ahead of 2024 when he will be seeking a third straight term. Mr. Chouhan chose not to raise his profile in the campaign, allowing the central leadership to take full responsibility in Madhya Pradesh, just as in Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh. Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot fought a spirited battle, and though he lost, prevented a complete washout of the Congress. In Chhattisgarh, the party collapsed in the storm of allegations of corruption and under the weight of botched social engineering that isolated the tribal communities. All three heartland States have exposed many a chink in the Congress armour, particularly its two prongs of social justice and welfare schemes. These are essential but not sufficient tools for victory. Trust in leadership, representation of social groups, astute selection of candidates, effective campaigning, ideological clarity and, above all, organisational cohesion are required, especially to retain power.