On Wednesday, taking a cue from his Chhattisgarh counterpart Raman Singh, MP’s outgoing CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan took responsibility for the BJP’s performance in the election and submitted his resignation.
While Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated the Congress Tuesday, saying “we accept the people’s mandate with humility”, the silence of BJP chief Amit Shah and Union ministers in charge of Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh has been conspicuous.
After the results Tuesday, Shah posted only one tweet, congratulating K Chandrashekar Rao and the TRS for the “impressive victory” in Telangana. The BJP chief has also not held the customary post-election press conference this time.
The last time Shah did not address a post-poll press conference since the BJP came to power at the Centre was in 2015, following the debacle in Bihar. However, at the time, he had taken to Twitter to congratulate JD(U)’s Nitish Kumar, who was part of the “grand alliance” with RJD leader Lalu Prasad. “We respect the mandate of people of Bihar. Good wishes to the new government, hope they take Bihar much ahead in terms of development,” Shah had posted.
Two days after the Bihar defeat, four party veterans, including L K Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi, had issued a public statement to point out: “…to say that everyone is responsible for the defeat in Bihar is to ensure that no one is held responsible”. The statement had said: “It shows those who would have appropriated credit if the party had won are bent on shrugging off responsibility for the disastrous showing in Bihar.”
This time, Union Ministers Prakash Javadekar and Dharmendra Pradhan, who were in charge of the elections in Rajasthan and MP, respectively, have not been seen at the party office after the results. They are yet to comment on the verdict.
In Chhattisgarh and MP, it was left to the state leaders to hold the fort. On Wednesday, Chouhan told reporters that despite getting more votes than the Congress in 2018, the party got less number of seats. In 2008, the BJP’s vote share was 38 per cent but it managed 143 seats.
“It’s true that we did not have the majority,’’ Chouhan said, adding that the party would not stake claim to form the government since it lacked the numbers.
Chouhan said the central government supported the state in implementing several pro-people schemes. “If, despite that, we lost it means the blame goes to me. Maybe, I lacked something,’’ he said.
Pointing out that with 109 seats, the BJP would form a strong opposition in the 230-member assembly, he warned the Congress: “Whenever you stray, we won’t remain silent.’’
On Tuesday, Raman Singh had said: “I take the responsibility for this defeat because the poll was contested under my leadership. We will act as a strong Opposition and work for the development of the state.”