The BJP not only bettered its 2014 performance but also created a record by winning a majority on its own.
The first two years of the Modi 2.0 government has seen the BJP successfully divide the opposition to get the support of important regional parties for key legislation in Parliament.
While Congress continues to struggle to get its act together and make any meaningful impact, it is the regional leaders who are now leading the fight against the BJP.
Here’s a look at the status of opposition parties in the last two years.
Congress is the largest constituent party of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA). However, it has lost every state election since 2019 barring the ones where it contested as a minority partner by forging regional alliances.
The only states where Congress could make a comeback in assembly polls are Maharashtra and Jharkhand. But in both these states, it is the junior partner of regional allies.
In Maharashtra, Congress joined hands with its ideological opponent the Shiv Sena and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) to form the government.
In Jharkhand, Congress allied with the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) to form a coalition government.
In Tamil Nadu, the Congress managed to piggyback on the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), which scripted an impressive win to return to power.
In West Bengal, the Congress, which aligned with the Left, drew a blank and was completely uprooted in a high-pitched battle between the TMC and the BJP.
In Kerala, the Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF), failed to defeat the ruling Left Democratic Front (LDF) despite the state’s history of alternating between the two fronts.
In Assam, the Congress-led an alliance of eight parties called ‘Mahajot’ but failed to unseat the BJP-led NDA government, which won a second consecutive term in the state.
In Puducherry, the Congress-led UPA government lost twice since 2019. First, the Congress-DMK government lost the trust vote in 2020 and then in 2021 elections, conceded the state to NDA.
Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK)
In the 2019 general elections, DMK was the only party in the UPA alliance that single-handedly reduced the footprint of NDA’s partners in the Lok Sabha elections.
The DMK won 24 of 39 Lok Sabha seats in Tamil Nadu, a massive jump from zero seats it won in 2014.
In the 2021 assembly election, DMK registered a landslide victory after spending a decade as the largest opposition party in the state assembly.
In addition to Tamil Nadu, the DMK also increased its tally in 2021 Puducherry assembly election from two to six.
Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party
The SP and BSP, who were long-term rivals in Uttar Pradesh, came together to form a ‘Maha’-gathbandhan ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections to take on the BJP. However, a dismal performance in the general election and failure to dent the BJP in UP put an end to the short-lived alliance.
Since then, both parties have failed to make much of a mark.
Several opposition party leaders came together ahead of the 2019 general elections to form a ‘third front’ against the ruling BJP. (Photo credit: PTI)
Outside UP, the SP won two seats in the 2019 Maharashtra assembly election. It joined the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government led by the Shiv Sena.
Other than Maharashtra, the UP-based SP has not managed any victory in any other assembly election since 2019.
However, ahead of assembly elections next year in UP, the Akhilesh Yadav-led party has performed very well in the three-tiered panchayat polls held in May 2020.
The panchayat polls are not fought on party symbols, however, SP-backed candidates won on more than 1,000 seats compared to the BJP which could register wins in only 800 seats.
Since 2019, the BSP contested in Maharashtra, Jharkhand, Haryana and Delhi assembly elections. However, it didn’t win a single seat in any of these states.
In the 2020 Bihar assembly elections, the BSP contested on 80 seats and won one seat with a 1.5 per cent vote share.
In the UP panchayat elections, the BSP won only a little over 300 seats.
Trinamool Congress (TMC)
The Mamata Banerjee-led TMC scripted history in Bengal as she defeated a very determined and aggressive BJP in the just-concluded assembly elections. The BJP used its full might to unseat Mamata, but failed. While the BJP has made huge inroads in the state winning over 70 seats, Mamata has emerged as one of the strongest regional leaders.
Mamta’s latest victory in her home state has perhaps further added to her credentials to lead an anti-BJP front in the 2024 general elections.
Aam Aadmi Party (AAP)
Arvind Kejriwal-led AAP is the undefeated champion of Delhi, having convincingly defeated the BJP.
The AAP won 62 of 70 seats in the 2020 assembly elections with a vote share of 53. 5 per cent.
This makes AAP one of the few regional bigwigs who have been able to hold onto their home turf against the BJP.
However, its performance in the Lok Sabha elections has been disappointing.
While the presence of the Left parties in the country is on the decline, the CPM, one of the leading constituents of the Left Front, led by Pinarayi Vijayan in Kerala scripted history by defeating the Congress-led UDF to retain power.
The CPM not just defeated the Congress, but also countered an aggressive BJP challenge in Kerala.
The only other state where Left parties are part of the government is Tamil Nadu where several Centre-Left leaning parties formed the Secular Progressive Alliance (SPA) under DMK’s leadership.
In West Bengal, the Left Front suffered one of its worst defeats in the 2021 assembly elections after failing to win even a single seat.
Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS)
In the 2019 general election, TRS had contested all 17 Lok Sabha seats and could win only nine, two seats less than its 2014 tally.
Whereas, the BJP, which did not form any alliance in the state, won four seats on its own. The BJP’s gain in the 2019 LS election was a setback for the TRS as BJP was not even in opposition to TRS in the 2018 assembly elections.
However, in urban local body polls concluded in April 2021, the pink party swept all municipal corporations with Congress coming second and BJP stood a distant third.
The TRS won 181 of the 248 divisions and wards in two municipal corporations and five municipalities.
Yuvajana Sramika Rythu Congress Party (YSRCP)
The Andhra Pradesh-based party has been on a winning spree for the past two years.
The YSR Congress swept the 2019 general election in Andhra, the 2019 Andhra Pradesh assembly election and the 2021 Andhra Pradesh urban local body elections.
The 10-year-old party was founded by YS Jaganmohan Reddy after he broke away from the Congress party.
Strengthening its hold on the state, the YSR Congress also swept the urban local bodies in 2021 by winning in all 12 municipal corporations and 54/55 municipal councils.
Biju Janata Dal (BJD)
The Odisha-based BJD is a regional party that does not subscribe to any political ideology and has cited the development of Odisha as its primary goal.
In the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, the Naveen Patnaik-led party saw a significant reduction in its seat share. It managed to win just 12 out of the 21 seats in 2019. In 2014, it had won 20.
The party, however, managed to hold on to power in the assembly elections that were held simultaneously.
Moreover, its vote share remained consistent in both general and assembly elections
Now, both the BJP and BJD have their eyes set on the panchayat polls scheduled in 2022. The BJP is planning to build on its 2019 successes while the BJD is planning to use its development poll plank.