As the numbers trickle in, taking us closer to the results of the Madhya Pradesh Assembly election, early trends show a neck and neck contest for the BJP and Congress in the key state. Here are the factors favouring Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and the BJP and the Opposition Congress.
Factors favouring Chouhan and BJP:
- Unlike former Madhya Pradesh chief minister Digvijaya Singh, there's no anger among voters directly towards Chouhan.
- While the Congress had faced scores of complaints between 2000 and 2003, there have been no such no large-scale complaints against Chouhan on basic amenities like 'Bijli-Sadak-Paani' (electricity, road and water).
- Chouhan has a strong organisational base.
- The BJP and RSS have played an active role in the state and reached out to the grassroots.
- Chouhan has an image of the 'son of the soil' — 'kisan ka beta' (farmer's son) — and has played this 'insider-outsider' narrative in the past 15 years well.
- The incumbent chief minister has strong support from slum-dwellers and economically weaker sections (EWS) because of the schemes introduced by the state government, especially the Awas Yojna (housing scheme).
Factors playing against Chouhan, BJP:
- The BJP has been facing large-scale rebellion from independent candidates, who failed to get either a BJP ticket, a post or favour from the party.
- Voters from upper castes and a section of the middle class are perturbed by the SC/ST Atrocities Act, high fuel prices, etc.
- Mid-level businessmen as well as small- and medium-level farmers who are politically influential have been vocal against the BJP government in Madhya Pradesh.
Factors in favour of Congress:
- The BJP is facing strong anti-incumbency sentiments in Madhya Pradesh.
- A section of voters wants a change in government, for no apparent reason.
- Farmer distress that erupted in Mandsaur district and the anger among small and marginal farmers may help the Congress clinch the state, especially because of the 'Bhaavantar Yojna'.
- People have been dissatisfied with the bureaucracy and BJP MLAs in Madhya Pradesh.
Factors working against Congress:
- Senior leaders of the Congress have been absent in Madhya Pradesh for long. They are being considered more as 'outsiders' who have spent less time in state politics.
- Compared to the BJP, the Congress has much weaker frontal organisations and lack grassroots connectivity.
- A large section of voters in Madhya Pradesh is still unable to forget the misgovernance of Digvijay Singh's second term as chief minister (1998-2003) and poor infrastructure that earned the the state the infamous 'bimaru' tag.
- The Congress has lacked cohesive leadership in Madhya Pradesh over the past 15 years, which has weakened the party at the organisational level.
- There is factionalism within party's state leadership.
- The soft Hindutva line adopted by the Congress won't make much of a dent in the BJP's base. Rather, it has attracted more criticism.
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Updated Date: Dec 11, 2018 10:21:34 IST