Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, just two days back, advised the non-performing MLAs to ‘mend ways before it’s too late’. With this the BJP seems all geared up for the upcoming assembly election in Madhya Pradesh.
A bit of the background
While looking at the predictions for upcoming elections, it becomes necessary to analyse the past results. The Bhartiya Janata Party had remained continuously in power in Madhya Pradesh from 2003 to 2018.
In 2003, the BJP won 173 seats and the Congress 38 seats in the 230-member assembly. Fast forward to 2008, when, under Chouhan’s leadership, the BJP got just 143 seats. This rose to 165 in 2013, when the Congress was reduced to just 58 seats, under the Modi wave.
However, in the 2018 assembly elections, the BJP slipped with a few thousand votes. While BJP won over 109 seats, the Congress formed the government with a tally of 114. The BJP returned to power in the state in March 2020 after 21 legislators resigned from the Congress government and crossed over to the BJP.
BJP to rely on Report Card this time
Assembly elections in Madhya Pradesh are due next year. The Bharatiya Janata Party conducted an internal survey to gather feedback regarding performance of the state at the legislature level. As per the survey, more than 40 MLAs were found to be not up to the mark.
CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan also held one-on-one meetings with more than 40 MLAs, a process expected to continue next week too. BJP, in order to retain the state, has told the MLAs with negative feedback that there is a high probability they may be denied tickets.
Experts believe that, in the run to the assembly elections, BJP may drop these ‘non-performing MLAs’, a strategy that worked for them in Gujarat.
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BJP set to replicate ‘Gujarat Plan’ in MP
Gujarat, which was guessed to be a tough battle, was won over by the BJP with elan. The BJP won Prime Minister Modi’s home-state with a never seen before tally of 156 of the 182 seats. There were several factors that led BJP to such unprecedented victory. They included change in state leadership, installation of a new council of ministers and dropping more than 45% of the sitting MLAs.
Such overhauling may be witnessed once again in the coming months, as the non-performative MLAs have already been warned.
The SC-ST factor in Madhya Pradesh
The BJP has its government in the state of Madhya Pradesh. However, the decline of vote share in 2018 had pushed the party into deep thinking. It identified certain key issues responsible for less support in the state. The most crucial being- shrinking support base among tribals and Dalits in the state.
The BJP has suffered serious loss in the SC-ST belt in the state. Madhya Pradesh holds 82 reserved seats, which in itself is a big number. In 2013, the BJP had won 59 out of these 82 seats- 31 ST and 28 SC seats. However, in 2018, the party was down to 34- 16 ST and 18 SC.
The BJP under the leadership of Prime Minister Modi himself went a few miles extra to bring tribals under the party’s fold. PM Modi, in Bhopal last year had declared that the birth anniversary of Bhagwan Birsa Munda would be observed by the government just like Gandhi Jayanti. The day was marked as ‘Janjatiya Gaurav Diwas’.
With this, the party has been trying its hands at several outreach programmes in the SC-ST belt. With rallies and public meetings, the BJP will attempt to bring more into its kitty.
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The Labharthi Varg set to benefit BJP
The BJP has also set an eye on women and youth voters of the state. The digitalisation of the booths is underway. The saffron party is ensuring that, this time, they successfully turn the beneficiaries of the central and state schemes into loyal voters.
As seen in the states like Uttar Pradesh, the beneficiaries of various welfare schemes often emerge as a bloc. The same which can complement BJP’s victory in the state and can also work as the swing factor. The pro-people schemes and Direct benefit transfers are going to benefit the BJP in the state of Madhya Pradesh too.
Congress stands far
While many may predict the battle of Madhya Pradesh as a direct fight between Congress and the BJP, the reality is that Congress stands decimated not only in the state but nation-wide. The evident proof of the same is the Madhya Pradesh by-polls conducted on 28 seats in 2020. The BJP comfortably swept 19 seats and Congress was cornered with just 9.
With this, BJP’s tally in the legislative assembly has gone up to 126 and now the grand old Congress party just has 96 legislators. This election also cemented the position of senior leader and now Union Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia, who has quit Congress to join the BJP and had brought along his supporters with him. The voter base associated with Scindia will also benefit the BJP in 2023.
According to BJP leaders, the party has now resolved to secure 51 per cent of the total votes polled at each booth in the 2023 Madhya Pradesh assembly election. This, they feel, can only be possible if the government undergoes a surgery and non-performing MLAs are dropped. Along with all the aforementioned factors complementing, the BJP may have a grand victory this time in Madhya Pradesh.
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