Madhya Pradesh Assembly Election 2023: Congress Banks On Anti-Incumbency, BJP On 'Modi Magic'
Politically, Madhya Pradesh stands at the crossroads and a close contest between the traditional rivals -- the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is on the cards.
BHOPAL: The state of Madhya Pradesh is gearing up for a nail-biting Assembly poll, scheduled to be held towards the end of this year. Politically, the state stands at the crossroads and a close contest between the traditional rivals -- the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is on the cards. Though, the leaders in the ruling BJP would officially rule out the anti-incumbency of nearly two decades (except for 15 months of Kamal Nath-led Congress government), but at time, they also mention that foot soldiers of the party are already at work in all earnestness to beat the anti-incumbency of four terms under Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan.
The Congress on the other hand has positioned itself on voter fatigue while raising public issues on which the BJP may face the heat. The grand old party would be more reliant on its counter strategies with polls drawing nearer, and tall promises being made that the `Bachan Patra` (election manifesto) would be unique and will comprise all sections of society.
Senior Congress leader Rajendra Kumar Singh, who is also head of `Bachan Patra` committee of MP Congress, during an exclusive conversation with IANS claimed the ruling BJP would loss at least three to five per cent votes due to decreasing popularity of Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, and that will be an extra edge for the Congress.
Singh noted: "The BJP would also accept this point that Shivraj Singh Chouhan`s popularity has decreased at least up to some extent and a clear evidence of this was seen in the 2018 Assembly elections. In 2018, the BJP had got 0.6 per cent more votes against the Congress, but in total number of seats, they (BJP) were five seats behind. This time, there would be a huge difference in both -- total number of seats and the vote percentage. We are confident that the Congress will get four to five per cent more votes against the BJP this time."
In 2018, out of total 230 Assembly seats in the state, the Congress had won 114 while the BJP had won 109 seats. BSP and SP had won two and one seats respectively, while Independent candidates won four seats.
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In terms of vote share, the BJP, with 41.02 per cent votes, had upper hand against Congress` 40.89 per cent. However, the Congress argue that it fielded candidates on 229 seats, leaving one seat - Jatara in Tikamgarh district - for the Sharad Yadav-led Loktantrik Janata Dal (LJD), and thus there was this difference in the vote share.
When asked about the political arithmetic behind his assertion that Chouhan`s popularity has plunged, Singh claims: "In the last two-and-half years, Chouhan has not taken any step that can increase his popularity... He (Chouhan) has developed a good image among the people of Madhya Pradesh, but in the last two-and-half years of his current tenure as Chief Minister, he has completely surrendered to Prime Minister Narendra Modi. And as PM Modi`s popularity is now gradually falling, how can the BJP would win more seats than the Congress."
On the other hand, the BJP will try to beat the anti-incumbency factor by intense involvement of its two popular faces -- Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah during the election campaign.
"Anti-incumbency will of course be a factor, but elections are not fought on just one factor. More importantly, the leadership quality is a factor that plays bigger role in winning elections... the BJP has charismatic leader - Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Let the elections come, things will be clear then," says a senior BJP leader.