As the results of the elections kept coming in, the Congress on Tuesday re-emerged as a very strong force in national politics after a dominating performance in Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh – three major states held by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

While the Congress was expected to defeat BJP in Rajasthan, it was the grand old party’s triumphant lead in Chhattisgarh that surprised many political pundits. At the time of writing, the Congress was leading on 62 seats and won 5 in this 90-seat assembly, leaving BJP leading on just 17 seats. Unsurprisingly, Raman Singh, who ruled as Chhattisgarh Chief Minister for 15 years, resigned from his post.

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In Rajasthan, the Congress had won 71 seats and leading on 27. The BJP, which was written off by all opinion and exit polls in this state, was expectedly heading for a defeat. It was leading on 19 seats and won 55.

It was a neck-and-neck contest in Madhya Pradesh with the Congress which was either leading or won on a total of 111 seats as against BJP’s 110.

The Congress, however, lost Mizoram – the last state it held in the northeast – to Mizo National Front (MNF), an NDA ally but not an ally of the BJP. In Telangana, where a full-fledged election was held for the first time, caretaker Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao’s Telangana Rashtra Samiti (KRS) thumped the Congress by winning 69 seats and leading on 18 others. The majority mark in this state of 119 assembly constituencies is 60.

Other opposition parties in the country are seeing the results of the assembly elections as an indicator what might happen in the Lok Sabha elections in 2019.

Congratulations poured in for the Congress from leaders of other parties. Here are some of the reactions to Congress’ win in assembly elections:

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said that people voted against BJP.

“This is the people’s verdict and victory of the people of this country. Victory of democracy and victory against injustice, atrocities, destruction of institutions, misuse of agencies, no work for poor people , farmers, youth, Dalits, SC, ST, OBC, minorities and general caste,” the Trinamool Congress chief said in a series of tweets.

“Semifinal proves that BJP is nowhere in all the states. This is a real democratic indication of 2019 final match. Ultimately, people are always the ‘man of the match’ of democracy. My congrats to the winners,” she added.

 

Banerjee, who is in New Delhi, had earlier said that the results are the beginning of the end of BJP.

“For 2019 final match game is clear, now we are just waiting for the elections,” she said.

Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam president MK Stalin, one of the sharpest critiques of the Modi government, congratulated Rahul Gandhi for the Congress’ spectacular performance in three states.

“I congratulate Thiru @RahulGandhi and the @INCIndia party for the excellent performance in Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan & MP. These results will reinforce our fight against the fascist BJP regime and help in strengthening the grand alliance,” he said.

 

Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu, whose party Telugu Desam Party (TDP) contested the Telangana assembly elections in alliance with Congress-led Praja Kutami, said, “People recognise that BJP has done nothing in last five years and moving towards alternative. People are with us in our fight against BJP.”

Congratulating KCR on his party’s victory, Naidu said the results in the five states will help form a strong alternative to the BJP.

Former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister and Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav took a jibe at the BJP with a tweet in Hindi playing on a popular slogan of the Modi government.

“Abki baar, kho di sarkar (This time the government is gone),” wrote Yadav on Twitter mocking ‘Abki baar, Modi sarkar’ slogan.

 

Makkal Needhi Maiam (MNM) founder Kamal Haasan, too, took to Twitter to hit at the BJP.

“This is the first sign of a new beginning. This is the judgement of the people,” he wrote.

 

Mehbooba Mufti, former Chief Minister of Jammu-Kashmir and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chief said on Twitter, “People rejected Mandir-Masjid politics, results show political awakening on rise in India.”

BJP was an ally of the PDP in Jammu-Kashmir government till June this year.

“Clearly the mood of the nation rejects the brazen attempts of polarising the society, rejects those who promise in words but plot in action, rejects those furthering their politics by pitting the people of one community against the other,” a tweet posted from the official handle of the party read.

 

“I congratulate Congress, MNF for their successes. It clearly shows the mood of the nation. These states are pre-dominantly agrarian states and BJP government in the Centre has more or less ignored the Swaminathan report recommendations and loan problems of farmers,” Odisha Chief Minister and Biju Janata Dal chief Naveen Patnaik was quoted as saying by ANI.