It took its time coming, but in the end Bharat (more on that later) trumped the so-called political experts from New Delhi’s gin-n-tonic cocktail circuit. And how!

The recently concluded round of elections to five Assembly assemblies returned a verdict that can only be described as a thumping endorsement of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s leadership of the country.

The final tally reads BJP: 4 states; Congress: 1 state. We will now have BJP governments in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand and BJP-led coalitions in Goa and Manipur. The Congress won Punjab thanks to the personal charisma of Captain Amarinder Singh, the former Maharaja of Patiala and the party’s chief ministerial candidate, as well as the two-term anti-incumbency of the government in which the BJP was the junior partner.

Elections to the Uttar Pradesh Legislative Assembly this year lead the charge of five state polls which will not only reflect the nation’s mood but also determine the pace of reforms in the country.

Five states will elect new governments in the first half of this year. Of these, elections to the Uttar Pradesh Assembly are considered the most important and Punjab slightly less so.

Senior Columnist Ashok Malik explains how Assembly elections in five states of India will impact growth and investments in the country.

How will this round of elections in Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Goa and Manipur affect economic reforms?

This is the last round of elections before the rollout of the Goods and Servce Tax (GST). A good performance by the BJP is sine qua non for the smooth rollout of this reform, which, arguably is the most import tax reform ever undertaken in India.

On the other hand, a poor performance by the BJP will embolden the Opposition to close ranks and put roadblocks in the path of GST. Coming to the individual states, the results in UP will be the most important. If the BJP does well, it will indicate that the BJP is holding on to its performance in 2014 (when it won 71 out of 80 seats and 2 seats went to its ally Apna Dal).

Good economics has given rich political returns over the last decade. Will the trend hold in 2017?

In India, conventional wisdom had it, for decades, that good economics makes for bad politics. Some politicians still think caste, religion and populism are more important factors than economic growth.

It is probably this line of thinking that has prompted politicians of all hues – from Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi to West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee to Uttar Pradesh chief ministerial aspirant Mayawati – to come out all guns blazing against the bold move of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to demonetise high value Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 notes.