New Delhi: The Congress was on Tuesday set to wrest Rajasthan and Chattisgarh from the BJP which was trailing marginally in Madhya Pradesh in a cliffhanger while the TRS stormed back to power in Telangana and the MNF dislodged the Congress in Mizoram.
In a shock result, a resurgent Congress ended Chief Minister Raman Singh's uninterrupted 15-year rule in Chattisgarh and was on course to regain power in Rajasthan where the BJP won all the 25 seats in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls.
Raman Singh submitted his resignation to the Governor and said he accepts responsibility for BJP's poor showing."We (party) will sit and introspect," he told reporters in Raipur. The Congress is leading in 64, while the BJP was relegated to a distant second spot with 18 seats, as per latest trends available for 89 of the 90 seats in Chattisgarh.
As voting trends and results slowly trickled in the Assembly polls in the five states that is being dubbed as a semi-final to the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the Congress, which had just 58 seats in the outgoing Assembly in Madhya Pradesh, was set to cross the 100 mark in a House of 230.
The Congress was leading in 113 seats while the BJP was ahead in 109. Counting trends showed that at least a dozen constituencies witnessed the leading margins being just 500 votes.
According to Election Commission date, both the BJP and the Congress got 41.4 per cent votes each. Three-time Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, who was battling anti-incumbency, won the Budhni seat but a dozen ministers were trailing behind Congress candidates.
Senior Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia said the trends reflected people's desire for a change in Madhya Pradesh while state Congress chief Kamal Nath exuded confidence they will form the government in the state.
"Trends show Congress marching ahead to victory in Rajasthan, MP and Chhattisgarh. We are confident the trend will continue across the country," Congress leader Sachin Pilot said in Jaipur.
In Chattisgarh, five ministers in the BJP government - Brijmohan Agrawal (Raipur City South), Kedar Kashyap (Narayanpur constituency), Mahesh Gagda (Bijapur), Dayaldas Baghel (Nawagarh) and Amar Agrawal (Bilaspur) - were trailing.
The Janata Congress Chhattisgarh (J) of former chief minister Ajit Jogi was ahead in five seats while the CPI and the Gondwana Gantantra Party and the CPI (M) were leading in one seat each.
The trends in the desert state of Rajasthan, showed the Congress is inching towards the magic mark of 100 in Rajasthan, winning 22 and leading in 78. The outcome reflected the 20-year "revolving door" trend of voters in choosing the BJP and the Congress alternately.
The ruling BJP won 15 and leading in 58 of the 199 seats which went to polls. The BJP and the Congress had 163 and 21 seats in the outgoing House. Independents won three and were leading in nine.
Rajasthan has a 200-member assembly but polling in Alwar's Ramgarh constituency was postponed following the death of the BSP candidate there. The Congress will hold its legislature party meeting in Jaipur to decide on who will be the chief minister. The Congress' choice for the chief minister's post is likely to be announced after consultation with party president Rahul Gandhi.
Former chief minister Ashok Gehlot and Pilot are front runners for the top post.The TRS is set to form its second successive government in Telangana where it won a simple majority and is heading for a landslide with its candidates clinching 60 seats and leading in 27 others, in a resounding endorsement of its chief K Chandrasekhar Rao's popularity.
Rao himself won by a margin of over 51,000 votes from his Gajwel seat, trouncing V Pratap Reddy of the Congress. Rao's son K T Rama Rao and nephew T Harish Rao, both ministers in his caretaker government, also won.
The Congress clinched 13 seats so far and is leading in six. Its ally TDP is leading in two seats. "TRS dedicates victory in assembly poll to Telangana people," Rao, the caretaker chief minister, told reporters. Rao said Telangana proved to be a non-Congress, non-BJP state and the TRS will play crucial role in national politics.
Rao dissolved the Assembly in September, eight months ahead of schedule, in a political gamble that paid off handsomely, as the party is expected to improve on its previous strength of 63 in the 119-seat Assembly. However, TRS's strength had risen to 82 after defections from TDP and Congress. The Mizo National Front(MNF) got a simple majority bagging 26 of the 40 seats at stake dislodging the Congress which bagged five.
Mizoram Chief Minister and Congress candidate Lal Thanhawla lost from both his home turf Serchhip and Champhai South seats. The Congress defeat ended the party's presence in the north-east. Congress workers burst crackers, danced to the dhol and played with gulal as they celebrated the party's good showing in Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh.
Carrying the Congress flag, a large number of workers gathered at the party headquarters in Delhi and praised Rahul Gandhi's leadership in steering the Congress towards victory in the three states ruled by the BJP. In contrast, the BJP headquarters in Delhi wore a relatively deserted look.(PTI)