After results in four states and one Union Territory came out, Prime Minister Narendra Modi claimed that the BJP's ideology has been accepted by the people of the country. The BJP formed its first government in Assam and also put up its best-ever performance in West Bengal and Kerala.
The BJP's reasons for happiness are understandable but its claims are misleading. More than the ideology, it is the total collapse of the Congress which has created a vacuum for the saffron party to fill. [Debacle in Assam confirms Rahul Gandhi is a liability for Congress]
In fact, the BJP's better show in states where it had remained a fringe player all these years brings home the point that people of those states are tired of the traditional parties that have dominated them. Ideology has nothing to do with that.
BJP should instead emphasise on success of its Assam model
Instead of claiming that its ideology has now found takers across the country, the BJP should underline its Assam model of success more. Unlike in Delhi or Bihar, the BJP played its card smartly in Assam by allying with local parties that flourish on Assamese sub-nationalism, picking two faces in Sarbananda Sonowal and Himanta Biswa Sarma with projecting the former as its face and targeting key segments like tea garden workers. And its success was made inevitable by the Congress's inertia.
Astonishing that BJP did not execute the same strategy in more familiar territories
It is amazing how the BJP succeeded with this model in Assam, which is located far from the Hindi heartland, while it failed pathetically in doing it rightly in states like Delhi, Bihar and Uttarakhand (where it goofed up even before the elections)---which are located more in its familiar territory. [Reviving Congress: Is Prashant Kishor wrestling with air?]
The success of the Assam model itself contradicts the BJP's top leadership's claim that its ideology has now been accepted. The saffron party has tough challenges in hands in a series of states next---beginning with Uttar Pradesh and Punjab---where it will face strong competition from non-Congress parties.
BJP's 'ideological victory' has to come against regional parties
The BJP is yet to make victories over regional parties a habit, as it does so often against the Congress. We have seen how it failed to breach the forts of Arvind Kejriwal in Delhi, Nitish Kumar in Bihar, Mamata Banerjee in West Bengal and Jayalalithaa in Tamil Nadu. Had ideology been the real story, that wouldn't have been the case.
The BJP is capitalising on the Congress's downfall. If India indeed becomes Congress-mukt one day, the BJP will have a new fight in hand.