Why Has Congress Performed Well in Madhya Pradesh Assembly Polls?

Anti-incumbency, farm distress and unemployment are major factors that have played to Congress’ advantage.

Updated

Madhya Pradesh has not had a single non-BJP government since 2003, but the Congress has upped its game this election season with old guard Kamal Nath and young turk Jyotiraditya Scindia at the helm in the state.

So, what are the reasons behind Congress’ performance in the state?

Anti-Incumbency

To speak of the factors that have benefited the Congress, the first would be anti-incumbency. Though Shivraj Chouhan, also known as ‘mamaji’, maintained his pro-development image, fatigue against the government had crept in.

And after a decade and half of power, the people of the state showed they wanted a change for which they have pinned their hopes on the Congress.

Why Has Congress Performed Well in Madhya Pradesh Assembly Polls?
(Photo: Erum Gour/The Quint)

Congress used this anti-incumbency sentiment to its advantage, promising employment opportunities, and benefits to farmers and youth.

Unemployment

The issue of unemployment had marred Shivraj Singh Chouhan’s government.

Lack of job creation and increasing number of unemployed youth in the state led to dissatisfaction among the youth, and with unrest among the young voters, a change was what the state was perhaps looking at. And that is what added to Congress’ advantage.

Why Has Congress Performed Well in Madhya Pradesh Assembly Polls?
(Photo: Erum Gour/The Quint)

Farmer Distress

The third factor would be the agrarian distress in the state.

The anger and high level of dissatisfaction among the farmers in the state played a big role. And the farmers demanding better prices for their produce and their demand for a change in the establishment echoed during this state election.

Why Has Congress Performed Well in Madhya Pradesh Assembly Polls?
(Photo: Erum Gour/The Quint)

Moreover, the 2017 Mandsaur farmer agitation has haunted the state government and cost it a huge support base.

The Congress used this anger to its advantage with the party promising to write off farm loans and providing a minimum support price (MSP) to farmers for their produce, if voted to power.

Variety of Leaders

And finally, with Kamal Nath and Jyotiraditya Scindia taking centrestage, the Congress party presented a united face and galvanised votes from different sections of society.

File photo of Congress leaders Kamal Nath and Jyotiraditya Scindia. 
File photo of Congress leaders Kamal Nath and Jyotiraditya Scindia. 
(Photo: PTI)

The Congress also had a well-planned social media strategy, helped along by the senior leaders hitting the campaign trail very early.

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