Will Madhya Pradesh Go Back To BJP Or Tilt Towards Congress?
The BJP has been holding the top office in the state for the last 15 years.
Video Editor: Purnendu Pritam
The contest in Madhya Pradesh (MP) has fairly been binary with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) holding the top office for 15 years, of which Shivraj Singh Chouhan has been the chief minister for 13 years.
So, will this time the BJP secure MP for a fourth term or will the Congress add the state to its tally ahead of the 2019 polls?
Issues Affecting MP
One of the biggest hurdles for the BJP now is, anti-incumbency.
In 2013, the BJP got 44.88 percent of the vote share ahead of the Congress by 8.5 percent who got 36.38 percent of the vote share.
But the recent opinion polls suggest a strong anti-incumbency factor. In fact, the CSDS and C-Voter polls have also predicted a tough fight between the BJP and Congress.
C-Voter predicts a win for the Congress with a margin of 0.8 percent, however, the CSDS poll suggests a win for the BJP with a margin of 1 percent.
However, there are other factors that the BJP needs to worry about.
- Unemployment: Official data shows that only 17,600 jobs have been created in the past 14 years in the state. While the number of educated jobless youth has risen from 15.6 lakh in 2015 to 23.7 lakh in 2017.
- Farm distress: Last year six protesting farmers were killed in police action in Mandsaur, damaging Chauhan’s image among farmers. Since 2013, the state has seen a jump of 21 percent in farm suicides.
- Anger among BJP’s core voters: There is also a lot of dissatisfaction among the core voters of the BJP. CM Chouhan’s statement on reservation upset and divided BJP's core ‘savarna’ or privileged caste voters, who have formed a separate party – called SAPAKS.
Will the Third Front Make a Mark?
Congress has entered into an arrangement with a tribal outfit called JAYS which has made inroads in the state's tribal areas in recent months.
JAYS going with the Congress could mean that the tribal vote may go as a block to the Congress.
Adivasis make up 23 percent of Madhya Pradesh’s voter population. However, BSP is likely to split the oppressed caste vote bank because they have refused to enter into a pre-poll alliance with the Congress.
In 2013, the BSP had a small but significant 6.29 percent vote share.
Who Could Be the Next CM?
Most likely, if the BJP wins, Shivraj Singh Chouhan stays on as the chief minister.
And for the Congress, the front-runners would be Kamal Nath, who is leading the party’s campaign in the state or Jyotiraditya Scindia.
However, who will form the government in the state will be known on 11 December.
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