The year 2018 witnessed a lot of political activities, especially in the second half. On the one hand, it ended as a good omen for the Congress party, on the other hand, it gave a jolt to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) just three months before the Lok Sabha elections 2019.
In three major Hindi heartlands--Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan--Congress party wrested power from the saffron party.
MP Polls: Congress wrests power from BJP, ends its 15 years of rule
In Madhya Pradesh, it was a closely-fought contest. The party falls short of a majority by two seats. The result of the state is seen as a semi-final ahead of the next general elections in April-May 2019.
The major issues raked up by Congress, especially the farm loan waiver amid an agrarian crisis across the country, employment and anger among upper caste, seems to have worked in its favour and could haunt the ruling dispensation if remedial measures are not taken.
However, the BJP is not ready to accept the defeat as a referendum on the Modi government.
Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said issues in state elections are entirely different. The BJP won Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh in 2003 but lost the Lok Sabha elections next year, he pointed out.
The Congress party emerged as the largest party, with 114 seats, but failing to win a majority. The popular vote was won by the saffron party (41.0%). A study of the result showed that the BJP lost 7 seats with a very small margin (less than 1000) against the grand old party.
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Rajasthan Assembly polls: Congress takes back helm from BJP
In Rajasthan, legislative assembly election was held on 7 December 2018 to elect members of the Rajasthan Legislative Assembly. The poll was held in a single phase.
With 99 seats (1 shot of majority) the Congress became the single largest party of the state. In the last elections in 2013, BJP had won a majority. This time the saffron party settled at 73 seats.
Observing that the Assembly election results in five states were a referendum on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Congress President Rahul Gandhi said opposition parties will unitedly fight and defeat the BJP in 2019 elections with the central themes being unemployment, agrarian distress and corruption.
Addressing the media after Congress emerged the winner Gandhi said the people's disenchantment over Modi's failure to deliver on his promises was palpable across the country.
"What was promised by Modi has not been delivered...that question does arise. The feeling among the people across India is that Modi and his government have failed in delivering the promises they made," Gandhi said.
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Chhattisgarh Assembly polls: Congress returns to power after 15 years
In 2018 Assembly polls, the Congress party returned to power in Chhattisgarh. Grand old party’s candidates bagged 68 of the 90 seats.
Taking moral responsibility for the BJP's stunning defeat in Assembly elections Raman Singh resigned.
He told the media that he had sent his resignation to the Governor.
"I got the credit for BJP's successive wins in the state and as this election was fought on my name, I take moral responsibility for the defeat," Raman Singh, who was Chief Minister for 15 years, said.
He said, "I congratulate Congress on this success." He said he would continue to serve the state while in the opposition ranks.
Elections for the 90-member Assembly were held in two phases in the state on November 12 and 20. Congress won 68 seats against the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party's 15. The grand old party has come to power in the state after 15 years.
Elected to the Assembly from Patan, Congress leader Bhupesh Baghel took office on 17 December as the third Chief Minister of the state. The tenure of Chhattisgarh Legislative Assembly ends on 5 January 2019.
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Telangana Election Results 2018: TRS wins 88 seats, forms government
Telangana Legislative Assembly election was held on 7 December to constitute the second Legislative Assembly. The incumbent Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS), the Congress party, Telangana Jana Samithi and Telugu Desam Party were the main contestants. Four opposition parties (the INC, the TJS, the TDP and the CPI) had announced the formation of a Grand Alliance, with an objective of defeating the ruling TRS in the polls.
TRS president and Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao termed the huge win of his party in the assembly elections as people's victory.
TRS has bagged 88 seats in the 119-member Assembly. Congress bagged 19.
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Mizo National Front takes office in Mizoram after a decade
In the November 28 Assembly polls, the MNF secured 26 seats, five more than an absolute majority in the 40-member Assembly. It ousted the Congress from power in its last bastion in northeast India.
In the 2013 Assembly polls, the MNF had got only five seats while the Congress had won 34. This time, the Congress got only five seats. State Congress chief and outgoing Chief Minister Lal Thanhawla lost in both Champhai South and Serchhip constituencies.
Chief Minister Zoramthanga won the Aizawl East-I seat for the fifth term. The MNF is a constituent of the Bharatiya Janata Party BJP-led North East Democratic Alliance (NEDA).
However, both the BJP and MNF fielded candidates separately in 40 and 39 seats, respectively. The BJP for the first time made its entry into the Mizoram Assembly, winning the lone Tuichawng seat.
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Tripura polls 2018: BJP defeats Left after 25 years
On 18 February, a Legislative Assembly election was held in 59 out of 60 constituencies of the Legislative Assembly of Tripura. The counting of votes took place on 3 March 2018. The BJP won and formed the government.
After 25 years of office out of which Manik Sarkar served for about 20 years, the incumbent Left Front government was defeated with the Bharatiya Janata Party and Indigenous Peoples Front of Tripura winning a large majority of seats. The Congress party lost all its seats and most of its vote share. It was the second largest party in the 2013 poll.
Meghalaya polls 2018: Conrad Sangma becomes CM
On 27 February, the Meghalaya Legislative Assembly poll was held to elect 59 of 60 members to the Assembly. The results were declared on 3 March.
The outcome resulted in a hung Assembly. No single party or alliance got the requisite majority of 31 seats in the Vidhan Sabha.
The leader of National People's Party (NPP), Conrad Sangma, announced that he would form a government with the support of the UDP, BJP and other regional parties. Along with 11 other ministers, he was sworn in as the chief minister.
Karnataka Legislative Assembly election 2018: Congress wins the battle
On 12 May, in 222 constituencies, the Legislative Assembly election was held. It witnessed a voter turnout of 72.13 per cent. The counting took place on 15 May.
The election led to a hung assembly, with the BJP emerging as the single largest party, with 104 seats. However, the Congress won the popular vote.
In 2018 elections in Karnataka state, JD(S) was the third largest party but after a post-poll alliance with the Congress, H.D. Kumaraswamy was sworn in as the Chief Minister on 23 May 2018.
Nagaland Polls 2018: Neiphiu Rio takes reins of state
On 27 February, in 59 out of 60 constituencies, Nagaland Legislative Assembly election was held. On March 3, counting of votes took place.
9 parties registered to contest the poll. 11 independent candidates also contested. In the Northern Angami II constituency, after no other candidate was nominated against him, Lok Sabha MP and former Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio of the Nationalist Democratic Progressive party was declared elected uncontested.
State Assembly Bypolls:
State Assembly bypolls also took place in the year 2018. Most noticeable was of Noorpur (Uttar Pradesh) where the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) extended support to the Samajwadi Party (SP) and alliance defeated the BJP candidate.