Election campaigns are at peak in Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh going to polls on November 17 in the second phase, and only five days are left for the chief contestants – the Congress and the BJP. As of now, Congress seems to be maintaining its lead in both the states. BJP in Chhattisgarh is trying hard to recover its lost ground, while in Madhya Pradesh it is struggling to retain its power.
Election for 20 seats in a 90-seat Legislative Assembly of Chhattisgarh were held in the first phase on November 7. By that time, ED had already linked CM Bhupesh Baghel of Congress to Mahadev App scam alleging that he was illegally paid Rs508 crore so far. ED had brought these allegations only three days ahead of the first phase of election. However, CM Baghel while addressing an election rally said, BJP wants to contest polls with help from ED, CBI, I-T, DRI etc, but Congress is ready to face them, will fight and win.
PM Narendra Modi is the mascot of BJP, and election in the state are being fought in his name, since the state BJP is faction ridden to such an extent that the Central BJP leadership just avoided to put a CM face. BJP is contesting the election on the idea of “collective leadership”, but it does not seem to be returning expected political dividend to the party.
BJP has been labelling corruption charges on ruling Congress in Chhattisgarh and the Central agencies were unleashed against the Congress leaders that has disrupted the Congress campaigns to a great extent. PM Modi has more than once reiterated his commitment to act tough against the corrupt political parties, which meant all the opposition political parties for him whether they are in the INDIA opposition alliance or not. His declared intentions imply all non-BJP parties.
Another allegation labelled by PM Modi against the ruling Congress in Chhattisgarh is that they have been outsourcing their policies to the Naxals. Unfortunately, during the election campaigns, a BJP leader was also killed in a Naxali attack in the state. Despite Naxal violence, voters’ turnout in the first phase of election on November 7 was 76.12 per cent only a minor decrease from 76.94 per cent in 2018.
Only six seats recorded increased turnout, out of which Congress had won 4 and BJP 2 seats in 2018. The present increase in turnout in these seats is said to be ominous for the BJP. On other 14 seats, turnout decrease is minor and hence is not seen against the political fortune of the Congress.
Out of 70 seats going to polls in the second phase in Chhattisgarh, Congress had won 51, BJP 13, JCC(J) 4 and BSP 2 seats. BJP and PM Modi have been trying their best to increase their tally, and in a violation of the Model Code of Conduct PM Modi had announced people would be given free foodgrains for then next five years. Even though, common votes in the state are not much impressed. Congress is still maintaining its dominant position.
BJP, as ruling political party, has much on stake in Madhya Pradesh, which is seen struggling hart to retain its power. CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan is not the party’s CM face, due to server infighting in the state unit. There is not much hope of improvement in this situation in the next five days when election campaigns would end. As in case of Chhattisgarh, PM Modi’s charisma is also not working here.
Congress and BJP are the chief contestants in Madhya Pradesh contesting all the 230 seats. PM Modi and BJP are making scathing attacks on Congress alleging it of corruption and destructive, and warning the voters that they would bring destruction to the state. Women, Ram Temple, Sanatan Dharm, and social welfare schemes being implemented by the ruling BJP in the state and at the Centre are their focus area. Apart from playing communal card, the party is also playing OBC card. However, to utter dismay of the BJP leaders, they are finding themselves standing on a slippery ground.
Congress led by former CM Kamal Nath as CM face, seems to be emerging stronger with passage of every day of the campaign. The latest surveys have predicted absolute majority for the Congress, with increased number of seats and share of votes.
BJP leaders are in utter dismay to see the swing of public mood in favour of Congress ever since Rahul Gandhi’s Bharat Jodo Yatra last year. BJP had toppled the elected Congress government in 2020 by an engineered defection in the Congress, which has ultimately irked the people of the state. Common voters are even against the defected Congress leaders who are contesting on BJP tickets.
Congress did not go for seat sharing arrangement with the INDIA alliance partner, and SP and AAP are contesting in large number of seats. CPI and CPI(M) are also contesting on many seats. BSP+ are also contesting all seats. Such a situation has brought triangular contests in many seats. Division of anti-BJP votes are thus a reality, but BJP is not benefiting much to upset its loss that it is likely to incur due to double anti-incumbency against its double engine government.
BJP was not even in contest in the first phase election in Mizoram, and was struggling to regain its lost ground in Chhattisgarh. In the second phase, it does not seem in a challenging position to ruling Congress in Chhattisgarh, while it is struggling to retain its power in Madhya Pradesh. Congress seems to be in leading position. (IPA Service)