This marks a milestone in the current administration’s tenure and here are a few pointers.
1. It marks a truly presidential form of campaigning for state elections. The form isn’t really presidential in the sense that a state leader isn’t asking you to vote for him/her to lead your state, but asking you to trust him/her with a political appointee. This screws up local political dynamics and equilibrium and this is akin to high command culture instilled by Congress during Indira Gandhi era. Th positive from this change is that voters are coming to terms with structural change that has been happening in local geographies where national capital affects day to day living in municipalities(e.g. an sez comes due up central govt initiative and this demands land reallocation involving citizens in an urban or periurban area). The negative is this continues the confusion among voters regarding who provides them services. Will the voter be in a position to demand answers from the Prime minister when municipal or state service is not delivered?
2. Narendra Modi and Amit Shah lead the new era of ruthless leaders whose breadth of ambition is unsurpassable. People often ask why modi campaigns so much in state elections and these questions are high pitched when the Bjp loses election. I would say that the Bjp doesn’t want to give any seat, National, state or municipal freely to the opposition. This level of ruthlessness is unseen in the recent past.
3. While Bjp would have been mighty pleased if Congress didn’t win Punjab and AAP ate into it’d vote share, there are some positives. AAP like anarchist outfit is too risky to have for a border state (esp as AAP has been making pro-khalistani remarks). Secondly, good that Bjp hasn’t broke its alliance with akali, the bonds have been forged during difficult times and one election should not change that. This relationship has provided important stability and balance to the region in terms of checking subnationalism and maintaining Hindu Sikh bonhomie. They’re out for other reasons and that’s fair enough.
4. Demonetization is a mighty popular move among the poor as I’ve pointed out before and some attribution is possible in this election.
5. This round of elections gives plenty of rajya sabha seats(in the last year of Central government term) and bjp has a unique opportunity in terms of pushing long lasting reforms (GST type) whose short term costs are not short enough affecting 2019 elections.