BJP Sweeps Elections in Three States, What Does It Mean For 2024 Lok Sabha Polls

What do the result of the five state Assembly elections mean for brand Modi and the 2024 Lok Sabha polls?

3 min read
Hindi Female

Results for five state elections held in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Telangana, and Mizoram were declared on 3 and 4 December. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) won three out of five states including Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh, Congress won Telangana, and Zoram People's Movement (ZPM) won Mizoram.

While it's not entirely correct to say that this mandate serves as a "semi-final" ahead of the upcoming Lok Sabha elections in 2024, the results, especially in the Hindi heartland states — came as a big boost for the BJP cadre across board.

In the run-up to the polls, the BJP banked on Prime Minister Narendra Modi's popularity coupled with anti-incumbency in Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh, and Shivraj Singh Chouhan's social security schemes in Madhya Pradesh.

The Quint examines key takeaways for the saffron party from its performance in the five states:


The Modi Factor

The BJP won 163 out of 230 seats in Madhya Pradesh, 115 out of 200 seats in Rajasthan, and 54 out of 90 seats in Chhattisgarh. In Telangana, the party won only eight out of 119 seats. Here, the Congress dethroned K Chandrashekar Rao's Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS), winning 65 seats. Both Congress and BJP are not key players in Mizoram, where ZPM defeated the incumbent Mizo National Front.

The BJP's campaign in all of these states relied heavily on PM Modi's popularity.

They didn't declare CM candidates in any of the states including Madhya Pradesh where Shivraj Chouhan was the sitting Chief Minister.

The party's victory in Hindi heartland states suggests that it is still possible to win state elections on the Prime Minister's face without a strong local leadership.

The defeat in Telangana, on the other hand, is in many ways similar to what happened in Karnataka, where the BJP tried to contest elections on the back of PM Modi and national issues and lost, contrary to Congress' localised, state-oriented campaign.


Vote Share Comparison

In Madhya Pradesh, where BJP's tally — despite being in power for over 20 years (except an 18 month interval in the previous term) — went up from 109 in 2018 to 163 in 2023. At 48.55 percent, the vote share of the party also went up by seven percent as compared to 2018.

In Rajasthan, the party won 115 seats and increased its vote share from 38.08 percent in 2018 to 41.69 percent in 2023.

In Chattisgarh, the saffron party got 46.27 percent votes, approximately 6.8 percent points more than its 2018 tally of 33 percent votes.

Net net, in MP and Chhattisgarh BJP's vote share went up by close to seven percent, and in Rajasthan by approximately three percent. On the other hand, Congress' vote share in all three states remained more or less constant.

In Chhattisgarh, it went from 43.04 percent in 2018 to 42.23 percent in 2023.

In Madhya Pradesh, where the party won 66 seats, it got 40.45 percent votes as compared to 40.89 percent in 2018.

In Rajasthan again, the vote share remained more or less constant as the party went from 39.30 votes in 2018 to 39.53 percent in 2023.

This clearly shows that while the victory might be a good news for the BJP, the Congress is far from decimated in these states and enjoys a sizeable vote share as it prepares for the general elections next year.


Lessons for 2024

Looking at the pre-poll surveys by multiple polling agencies, it is clear that while the upper caste vote has consolidated behind the BJP, the party's performance among the adivasi and Dalit communities remains a cause of concern.

Take for instance, predictions by Axis-My India survey in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan.

In Madhya Pradesh, Congress party got 45 and 46 percent of SC and ST votes respectively as compared to BJP that won 41 and 43 percent votes. Among the general category votes, the BJP won 58 percent while the Congress got 30 percent.

In Rajasthan, the Congress got 57 and 51 percent SC and ST votes respectively, as compared to BJP which won only 26 and 29 percent votes in these categories. The BJP won 62 percent general category votes as compared to 22 percent by the Congress.

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