At first glance, the verdict of 2016 assembly elections seems a no-brainer. Regional parties – TMC and AIADMK – hold onto their fortress; BJP gets a chance to dislodge the Congress government in Assam and Left parties get their turn to rule Kerala for five years. However, if you drill down into the metrics that have emerged after the results, you get an interesting perspective on how prosperously or pathetically the national parties have fared in 2016 state elections.
The three national parties in question are the Congress, BJP and the CPI-M.
The BJP had gone full throttle with their election campaigns for the four states and one union territory and there was lot at stake for the party. It was desperate to find a toehold in southern states of Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry.
Moreover, it had invested lot of efforts to cash in on the anti-incumbency factor in Assam – the gateway to penetrate into Northeast. West Bengal was all about proving a point. Going by the statistics, the BJP fielded candidates in 696 constituencies across four states and Puducherry. If we look at the number of seats it has won, it would translate into a not-so-impressive success, or little more than 10 per cent, to be precise.
This CPI-M, which was counting heavily on alliance with the Congress to overturn TMC’s boat in West Bengal, didn’t measure up to the expectations of the exit polls. The party saw a silver lining in the form of victory in Kerala as the UDF pulled up a significant win. Combining Tamil Nadu and Puducherry, it contested in 29 seats, and none of the seats went to the CPI-M. In all, the party contested in 280 assembly constituencies and managed to win in less than 80, which means a success rate of 28.6 per cent.
The Congress, which must be inconsolable after the drubbing in Assam and Kerala, has in fact scored better when it comes to winning percentage. The party contested in 363 seats (almost half of the BJP) and secured victory in 113 seats. That translates into a success rate of 31 per cent. The erosion of votes in Assam and Kerala, where the Congress had contested in 122 and 87 seats, was offset marginally by a slight gain in vote share in West Bengal and Puducherry. It won 43 and 15 seats respectively as against 42 and 7 seats in 2011 assembly elections.