BJP’s resounding victory poses challenges for Congress

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The last nail in the coffin for the congress was its ticket distribution, and it sealed the game, set, match for the BJP.

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By Abhimanyu Bharti

New Delhi, December 20: Rewind it to December 2018, Congress sweeps the Hindi heartland of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh and suddenly 2019 Lok Sabha elections seemed to be on watch out for. Come 2019, Congress gets reduced to 3 seats out of 65 Parliamentary seats in these 3 states. That’s Modi effect, within 4-5 months the election gets completely reversed.

Back today, BJP seems to have put a knockout punch on Congress in the perceived semi-final to the General Elections of 2024. The Modi effect is yet to arrive, Ram Mandir, nationalism, dream of Vikshit Bharat and all the hyper bandwagon around it.The difference of vote percentage of 8% in Madhya Pradesh, 4% in Chhattisgarh and 2% in Rajasthan will only swell up in favour of BJP if Congress continuous their lacklustre approach of fighting elections. Though in terms of Lok Sabha seats, there isn’t much to add for BJP as they had already swept with 62/65 last time. Repeating the feat will be the only target BJP top leadership would be aiming for and they look on the right course.

A very well fought battle by Gehlot ends up on losing cause

Being myself a political consultant over a decade, this was one of the best campaigns I have ever seen. But good campaigns don’t necessarily win you an election. Electoral politics is far much more than campaigns, and it was here where Gehlot and his team probably failed. There was no significant anti-incumbency against the Chief Minister, but the anti-incumbency against local MLA was astounding. Inability to deny the tickets to the sitting MLA probably caused Gehlot the election. 17 out of 26 ministers lost their election. Stalwart and sitting speaker of the legislative assembly CP Joshi too lost. The sour relationship of Gehlot with Sachin Pilot over the last 5 years had bearing on Gujjar votes, areas where Congress swept last time become insanely difficult this time around. The narrative of “Roti Paltegi” seems to be so strong in the nerves of the people of Rajasthan that it superseded all welfare schemes and campaigns.

It was one of the most poorly fought elections from the side of BJP, the lack of narrative, campaigns, strategy and leadership. But the popularity of Mr. Modi in Rajasthan seems to be made up for all negatives. Rajasthan is one of the top states where Modi’s popularity is highest. Strong cadre force of the party ensured better ground work and booth management. Rebels played the spoilsport in many seats, especially in Marwar for the BJP or else the seat tally would have been 15 odd more.

Ladli Behna rescues Mama

Madhya Pradesh has been the strong ground for BJP in the last couple of decades. Almost 18 years of anti-incumbency was overcomed by the master stroke Ladli Behna yojana. It was the Ladle behna, the women of Madhya Pradesh who ensured two-third majority for Shivraj Singh led BJP. Also the work by the BJP in-charge Bhupendra Yadav is worth mentioning. Ensuring united front in BJP, taking full use of all the leaders from central ministers, MPs and MLAs for the work of election paid off. Also the strong ground cadre of BJP was far more motivated and agile than last time. Number of rebels was minimal compared to the neighbouring state of Rajasthan.

BSP, GGP etc also helped BJP’s cause, they ate into Congress votes on close constituencies ensuring BJP’s win. Face value of Kamalnath is of no match to Shivraj Chouhan among masses across Madhya Pradesh. Shivraj is a far bigger mass leader in the state. The last nail in the coffin for the congress was its ticket distribution, and it sealed the game, set, match for the BJP.

BJP push for tribal votes gives dividend in Chhattisgarh

No pollster got Chhattisgarh right! Probably gauging the tribal votes is still the toughest problem to solve. BJP has been making important strides for the tribal votes across the country for the years now. Electing Droupadi Murmu as the first tribal President of the country, Mr. Modi becoming the first Prime Minister ever to visit the birthplace of Bhagwan Birsa Munda are few of the visible mega outreach to tribal communities. Add to it the effort of party workers and RSS. BJP has performed extremely well in the tribal belt winning 19 out of 31 ST reserved seats. The tally was just 3 in these 31 seats last time.

Kurmi – Sahu divide also helped BJP make inroads in OBC votes. Bhupesh Baghel belongs to Kurmi community and aimed to claim the entire OBC votes, appointment of Arun Sao as BJP state president was the first step in creating a divide in OBC votes. BJP’s promise to every segment led by Matru Vandana Yojana was also helpful in swaying the vote for BJP. The use of Jogi Congress, GGP, BSP for hampering Congress votes also had a significant impact. Ignorance of TS SInghdeo by Congress leadership has a bearing on the result as Congress was almost wiped out from Surguja region. Central agencies raids, enquiry and arrests also hampered the campaigning, momentum and finances of Bhupesh Baghel in the crucial moment during the election.

(Author is Co-founder of School Of Politics)





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