After the BJP won the Lok Sabha elections in 2014 it adopted the shrewd political strategy of capturing power in states by toppling governments opposed to it. The state governments in Arunachal Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh fell this way, giving way to ones by the BJP. The Congress government in Puducherry is the latest to be targeted successfully, though a likely bid in Rajasthan fell through last year.
In Goa and Manipur, even though the Congress had won the most number of seats in the 2017 and 2019 Assembly elections respectively, it was the BJP that came to power.
Earlier, the BJP had tried to destabilize the Mamata Banerjee-led government in Bengal.
In the 2014 elections, the Congress had secured 42 seats in the 60-member state assembly, while the BJP won only 11 and a Congress ministry under Nabam Tuki came to power. Later, Pema Khandu, also of the Congress, became Chief Minister.
In 2016, 41 Congress MLAs, including Pema Khandu, joined People’s Party of Arunachal. The same year, all of them switched loyalties to the BJP. Later, in the 2019 Assembly elections, the BJP retained power.
Congress leader Kamal Nath came to power in the late 2018 elections with the support of 121 MLAs, including independents. However, the BJP toppled the government by weaning away 26 Congress MLA supporting Jyotiraditya Scindia. Subsequently, Kamal Nath's predecessor Shivraj Singh Chauhan became the chief minister in March 2020. The 26 rebel Congress MLAs resigned and in the by-elections held for the vacant seats, BJP secured majority by winning 19 constituencies earlier held by the Congress.
In the 2017 assembly polls, Congress had emerged as the biggest party with 28 seats in the 60-member house. However, the BJP, which secured only 21 seats, was invited to form the government. The BJP won over nine Congress MLAs to secure a majority, while the remaining 19 Congress legislators sat in the opposition.
When the 2017 election results were announced, the Congress had 17 seats in the 40-member House, while the BJP had only 13. Still it was the BJP that came to power with the support of one Congress MLA and 10 members from other parties. Later in 2019, 10 out of the 15 Congress legislators crossed over to the BJP, raising the latter's strength in the House to 27. In between, 2 out of the 3 MGP legislators backing the government broke away from their party and merged their faction with the BJP.
No party had secured absolute majority in the 2018 Assembly elections. BJP was the biggest party with 104 seats, followed by Congress with 80 and Janata Dal (Secular) with 37. Even though the Governor invited B S Yediyurappa of the BJP to from the government, the ministry fell in the trust vote.
Subsequently, a Congress-Janata Dal (Secular) ministry came to power. However, the BJP successfully employed its toppling game in Karnataka by making 16 rebel Congress and Janata Dal (Secular) MLAs to resign. Soon, Yediyurappa came back to power in 2019.
The V Narayanswamy government in the Union Territory fell on Monday as a few Congress MLAs and a DMK legislator resigned. The chief minister resigned as his Congress MLAs walked out just ahead of the trust vote in the 33-member Assembly. This was the sole Congress government in south India and the UT is set to go to polls in couple of months. Congress leaders alleged BJP was behind the resignations. Though BJP doesn't have any elected MLAs in the Puducherry Assembly, 3 nominated members bear allegiance to it.
This is a state where the BJP’s game plan is yet to achieve total success. In the 2019 Assembly elections, BJP won 105 seats and its front partner Shiv Sena 56. However, following a dispute over the Shiv Sena’s demand to share the post of the chief minister, the ministry formation did not take place and President’s rule was soon imposed. While the Shiv Sena launched efforts to come to power with the backing of Congress and NCP, the BJP captured power through a surprise move. Devendra Fadnavis of the BJP became the Chief Minister again by making Ajit Pawar of the NCP his deputy.
However, Fadnavis resigned after the Supreme Court ordered a trust vote. Currently, Maharashtra is ruled by a Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress alliance led by Sena’s Uddhav Thackeray.
The Harish Rawat Congress government in Uttarakhand was brought down briefly in March 2016 after 9 MLAs switched sides. Though President's rule was imposed the Supreme Court intervened and reinstated the government within a couple of months. But the Rawat government lost in the 2017 state polls to BJP.
Jammu and Kashmir
In June 2018, the Jammu and Kashmir government of Mehbooba Mufti fell after the BJP, a coalition partner, pulled the plug on its alliance with her People's Democratic Party. BJP, the second largest party in the Legislative Assembly, had 25 members. BJP had agreed for a coalition government as the 2014 state polls threw up a hung assembly.
The count so far
In all BJP thus managed to have its way in eight states and one Union Territory by toppling a rival government or preventing other parties from forming the government. To sum up these tally comprises Puducherry, Jammu and Kashmir, Manipur, Uttarakhand, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Goa, Bihar and Arunachal Pradesh.
In 2017, BJP had encouraged Bihar CM Nitish Kumar to quit the coalition government with RJD and Congress. Subsequently, a BJP and JD(U) government was at the helm with Nitish in the saddle.