As Madhya Pradesh Vidhan Sabha Election campaigns reach its mid-way, with only a week left for campaigning, Congress seems to have emerged even stronger than previously expected just one week ago, or even likely to perform better than in the last election held in 2018.
Even the latest poll survey results released by ABP News – CVoter only four days ago did not fail to notice this trend. The survey found Congress support base swelling and may bag about 44.3 per cent of votes, over 3.5 per cent more than 40.89 per cent the party had got in the Vidhan Sabha election 2018. In terms of seats, Congress has been projected to win Vidhan Sabha seats in the range of 118-130 in the 230 seats Legislative Assembly. All indications suggest that the Congress moving fast closer to power.
On the other hand, the BJP’s votes share has been projected by ABP News – CVoter survey to improve only a little from 41.02 per cent in 2018 to 42.1 per cent. In terms of seats, it may translate into seats in the range of 99-111, to fall short of simple majority, thereby on the way to losing power in the state that the party has been ruling since 2003, barring a very short period of 1 year and 97 days rule of Congress under CM Kamal Nath in 2018-2020.
Fast changing political scenario in Madhya Pradesh has acquired a significant position as a standard political template for Indian politics in the near future, especially in the forthcoming Lok Sabha election 2024. PM Narendra Modi and the BJP would be seeking for their third term while the opposition would be trying hard to throw them out of power.
Madhya Pradesh is the only state among the five going to polls in November where BJP is the ruling party under CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan. Therefore, retaining power in the state is of much importance for the future of the party not only in the state but also elsewhere in the country, as well as at the Centre. BJP has been boasting to have a double engine government both in the state and at the Centre, and hence losing the state is like failing of the double engine.
Much of the reason behind the declining influence among people is the autocratic way of function of CM Chouhan. It bred anti-incumbency among people against the BJP in the state under his leadership. Even within the BJP, it antagonised many party leaders who turned against making him CM face again. Central BJP leadership tried its best to bridging the chasm, but failed. Then BJP central leadership decided not to project any CM face. They decided to contest election under a “collective leadership” having PM Narendra Modi as mascot.
It seems that even this experiment is failing. The Charisma of PM Modi is not working. The people who were hating CM Chouhan’s autocratic way of governing, has now come to halt the autocratic way of governing of PM Modi too. General antagonism in party leaders against the state and Central leadership seems to have accentuated. If similar situations continued in other states too, PM Modi will have to face the consequences in the forthcoming Lok Sabha election across the country.
BJP leadership is facing another difficulty in respect of turncoats. It should be recalled that Congress had won the election in 2018, formed the government in the state, but through an engineered defection in Congress, BJP was able to topple the government in 2020. Jyotiraditya Scindia camp had defected and joined the CM Chouhan led government. It had repercussion against the BJP, since the people had voted for the Congress, but they found that BJP had nullified their choice through dirty political stratagem. This time people are in a mood to teach lessons to not only Congress defectors, but also the BJP, the party that thought earlier that the turncoats would strengthen them. However, the ground reality suggests that people are against both the turncoats and the BJP.
It should be recalled that the Congress had won 114 seats in 2018. After 22 of the party MLAs had defected with Jyotiraditya Scindia, Congress was left with 92 seats. BJP had won 109 seats and after defection it had 131 seats in the Vidhan Sabha in 2020. The latest survey indicates that Congress has not only recovered the lost ground but also improving as the poll date November 17 becoming nearer. BJP is set to lose considerably, in the range of 20-32 seats, as the ABP-CVoter survey has predicted.
Another point to note is the status of Congress vis-à-vis INDIA alliance partners. Rahul Gandhi’s Bharat Jodo Yatra seems to have been paying dividend, and the party has established a dominant position in the state. Congress is contesting without seat sharing with INDIA alliance partners, resulting in several of the anti-BJP parties are contesting the election. SP is contesting on 80 seats, AAP 69, CPI(M) 4, CPI 9, and JD(U) 5 seats. Apart from these INDIA alliance partners, BSP+GGP are contesting 178+52 seats, AIMIM 2, and ASP (Kanshi Ram) 80 seats. The state is thus witnessing division of anti-BJP votes, and even though Congress is likely to perform better and heading to wrest the power from the ruling BJP. It clearly indicates that division of anti-BJP votes is not working for the BJP, on the one hand, and is working for the dominant political party on the other who is likely to offer real challenge to the BJP candidates.
There are several reasons behind this, such as BJP rank and file are opposing turncoats and the highhandedness of the BJP leaders who take them as granted. There are large number of disenchanted BJP supporters who are shifting their loyalty out of frustration to the dominant political parties. An additional reason pertains to the common anti-BJP voters who are in a mood to support the most dominant political party. It has a lesson for INDIA alliance partners in respect of seat sharing among themselves for the Lok Sabha elections 2014. Dominant opposition parties in states could bag dominant share of anti-BJP votes, and hence others must not demand unrealistically high number of seats.
The issues that seem to be attracting the people in Madhya Pradesh are promises given by the Congress to social justice through caste census and increase in OBC quota, and all the pro-people assurances, such as loan waivers to farmers, implementation of Old Pension Scheme, and Rs 25 lakh health insurance, accident insurance up to Rs 10 lakh for all families, increased MSP for wheat at Rs 2,600 per quintal, rice at Rs 2,500 per quintal, and unemployment allowance in the range of Rs 1500-Rs3000.
Though, the BJP is telling the people that Congress never fulfilled its promises, there seem to be only few takers for the claim. BJP has also promised many things, which included several schemes for women, including reservation of 35 per cent government jobs and 50 per cent of teaching position. PM Modi on November 8 gave guarantee that he would make India among three top countries in the world. He labelled the Congress governments in poll bound states in Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan corrupt implying that they must not vote for the corrupt party and he would continue his fight against corruption. BJP’s campaigns are seemingly weak and hence large number of constituencies are brought under the RSS network. In brief, BJP in undergoing a very hard and challenging time, as if fighting a losing battle. (IPA Service)