NEW DELHI: HIGHLIGHTS BJP has been winning states where its main rival is the Congress party BJP has lost states where it faces a regional or non-Congress party Regional parties run 11 states, control 41% of the population As the BJP celebrated Thursday's election results and what party chief Amit Shah called being "two steps closer towards a Congress-mukt (free) Bharat," the need for a new winning formula raised its head. Celebrations at the party office in Delhi reached a crescendo when Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived to congratulate workers on Thursday evening. For the first time in many months, the party had cause to cheer. With its victory in Assam, the BJP cracked a challenge and put a chief minister in the North East days before the Modi government completes two years in office. And it increased its footprint in Kerala and West Bengal. The BJP says it is now a pan-India party and party president Amit Shah, who led the celebrations, declared that the BJP has laid a "firm foundation for the 2019 national elections". After Thursday's reverses, the Congress and its allies now control seven states - six of them small ones - covering just 15.5 per cent of India's population. The BJP and its allies rule 13 states with a population share of 43 per cent.