he BJP’s emphatic win in the Assembly elections to Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh has come when the party needs it most. The Congress’ dream of retaining Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh and wresting MP from the BJP is shattered and its ability to oust the K Chandrasekhar Rao-led BRS government in Telangana is a poor consolation, especially when everyone knows these Assembly elections are going to decide whether the BJP or the Congress-led INDIA would be in the saddle of power in Delhi a few months away. Prime Minister Narendra Modi will now breathe easy as he remains unassailable and still retains his charisma despite his government’s shoddy management of the country’s economy. Not surprisingly, he has celebrated the sweet victory with the rhetorical outburst he is adept at. The results, he has said, indicate the people of the country are “firmly with politics of good governance and development which the BJP stands for.” Some may say this is more froth than substance. But, Modi’s leadership and the sound and fury he makes have won the day.
The results are in a way unexpected as the Congress became euphoric after its victory in Karnataka and the BJP appeared to be defensive, less confident and desperate to win the three states in the Hindi heartland which alone can pave the way to victory in the Lok Sabha election early next year.
The outcome has once again brought to the fore the weakness of the Congress’ electoral strategy and leadership. It has once again proved soft-Hindutva of the Congress cannot be an answer to the BJP’s brand of religious politics. For one thing, the people all over the world rally behind the original rather than the copy. Rather the Congress probably could have done better if it would have made the country’s economic management its main electoral plank.
The BJP could sway the electorate in MP despite the incumbent Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan’s bad image. Its promise of presenting a new leadership may have tipped the balance in its favour. On the other hand, the Congress has failed to inspire the people’s confidence by projecting an old politician like Kamal Nath with dubious records as its main leader.
The Shivraj Singh Chouhan-led government successfully showcased its significant agricultural achievement such as providing water, power connections for irrigation tubewells soaring from 13.2 lakh to 32.5 lakh between 2010-11 and 2020-21 alone. Net area irrigated under canals, too, has nearly doubled during Chouhan’s tenure. That has been partly due to new investments, but also the focus on completing unfinished last-mile projects and improving utilisation of existing irrigation potential, through concrete lining of canals and timely desilting, cleaning and fixing breaches before the cropping season have all contributed
Again what worked in BJP’s favour in Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh is the women voters’ support. With this demography in mind the party announced special schemes in the manifesto.
MP has 26 million women voters, while the number of women who voted in this election has gone up by 2 per cent in the state. Evidently, this could have been a great contributing factor for the BJP’s victory in the state.
The results in Rajasthan were more or less predictable. The state has the history of throwing out the incumbent government every five years for the past nearly thirty years and the pattern has been repeated. But, more than that it is the internecine war in the Congress between CM Ashok Gehlot and CM-aspirant Sachin Pilot that became so sickening and nauseating that the people decided to dump the Congress.
The situation in Chhattisgarh was no better for the Congress despite the hype of tribal welfare that the party’s central leadership promised. For, Bhupesh Baghel’s record was besmirched with corruption charges. The BJP has been able to consolidate the support base, transcending caste and class lines. In Chhattisgarh in particular, it has managed to secure lead in 20 of the 34 tribal seats, which matters in a state where nearly 1/3rd of the population is tribal.
The BJP in Chhattisgarh also promised a slew of schemes just four days ahead of the first phase of polling on November 7. These included cooking gas cylinders at Rs 500 for poor families and Rs 12,000 per year financial assistance to married women. The strategy has paid dividends and countered the Congress campaign on welfare schemes.
Finally, the Congress’ appeasement politics has obviously not cut much ice with the people sealing its fate in the states.
The upshot of the results of the four states is that the Congress is left to eat dust. Its position in INDIA bloc as the big brother gets weakened. The BJP is poised to make its bid for the third time rule of the Narendra Modi-led BJP government at the Centre with tremendous confidence.