The verdict 2016 is being billed as the end of the road for the Congress, an uncritical reflection of BJP president Amit Shah's ambitious slogan of a Congress-free India. (I often wonder why is the ruling party so kicked by the idea of an absent Opposition in a democracy, but be that as it may be.)
True, chips are down for the Rahul Gandhi-led party as it lost two states today - Assam and Kerala - and has apparently fared poorly in West Bengal and Tamil Nadu.
Since the devil lies in details, here are some cold facts unpalatable to BJP trolls and most TV commentators.
The Congress ruled Assam for three consecutive terms, its chief minister Tarun Gogoi is 80 now. It had to go. That is a no brainer for anybody who knows about electoral politics.
However, had the Congress entered into an alliance with Badruddin Ajmal's AIUDF, the division of 34 per cent Muslim votes in Assam would not have happened and the BJP would not be holding its party and Shah not making that claim.
|Amit Shah today won less than half seats Rahul Gandhi did.|
Next big defeat of the Congress being presented is Kerala. But that's a yo-yo state for nearly four decades now which has the habit of rejecting every incumbent government. So, it's the return of the Communists now, who very well know it could be the Congress again in 2021.
Also, how many seats did the BJP win in Kerala? One. Even Sreesanth lost.
Let's have a look at West Bengal. In an interesting turn of events, the communists which ruled the state for 34 straight years, have won less seats (32) than their junior ally, the Congress (44). The number of seats the BJP won in Bengal: three. That, in a 294-member Assembly.
Lastly, Tamil Nadu. The Congress there is in alliance with the DMK. While Karunanidhi's party has won 91 seats, the Congress has won eight.
How many did the BJP win in the state its motormouth Subramanian Swamy comes from? Zero.
Of course, the Congress-DMK combine has wrested Puducherry, but who cares for that small detail.
Finally, let's take a look at the numbers (at 6 pm on Thursday, May 19):
|State||Numer of seats||BJP||Congress|
The truth is the BJP has won just four seats outside Assam. Does this look like a Congress-free India?