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Assembly elections 2023: Major setback to Congress in Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh

BJP stuns Congress securing a resolute majority in both states


– Sahar Khan

Raipur, Dec. 3: While BJP retained Madhya Pradesh with an emphatic victory with leads in 164 seats, the Congress left far behind at 65 in the 230-member assembly. But what came as a big surprise to many was the Congress with 71 MLAs in a 90-member Chhattisgarh House got convincingly defeated by the BJP.

Political experts, journalists who covered the election campaign and pollsters who predicted a close fight in Chhattisgarh with an upper hand to Congress were all surprised over the results in Chhattisgarh where BJP won in 54 seats and the Congress in 35 constituencies while one seat has gone to Gondwana Gantantra Party.

In MP, multiple exit polls projected a tough fight between the BJP and the Congress, giving an edge to the saffron party. However, the counting that began in 52 districts covering all 230 seats virtually witnessed a virtual landslide victory for the BJP that retained power in the state.

In Chhattisgarh, where the Congress government executed various welfare measures focussing largely in the rural areas couldn’t retain the confidence of the voters.

For the BJP, various factors and aggressive campaigns worked in their favour. BJP looked more organised, distributed most of the party tickets to prospective winning candidates much in advance, ran a women-centric campaign, promised Modi guarantee, close coordination between the BJP leaders and the party’s organisations, whole-hearted support from the RSS and the BJP effectively succeeded to convince the voters that they are campaigning for them and their welfare.

In Chhattisgarh regions the tribal belts of Bastar (south Chhattisgarh), Sarguja (in north Chhattisgarh) hold the key to the formation of government.

The BJP regained the lost ground in tribal belt, which has been the Congress Party’s traditional base. The tribals in Bastar, Sarguja and Koriya have overwhelmingly voted in favour of the BJP.

In Chhattisgarh, the tribals constitute over 31 percent of the total state’s population.

In both the states of MP and Chhattisgarh the BJP leaderships have credited the party’s win to the Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

One of the key reasons for the Congress defeat in MP and Chhattisgarh is also the complacency of the leaders and over-confidence. There were reports from different parts of the state of the party cadres not being effectively used in the party’s strategy.

In Chhattisgarh for the first time there is an entry of Hindutva card being played and eventually turned as one of the key factors besides the poor governance of the Congress regime. The sentiments on polarisation gathered steam in the Chhattisgarh poll campaign helped the BJP.

Many felt the remarks by Union home minister Amit Shah given earlier during his poll campaigns in Chhattisgarh on lynching of Bhuvneshwar Sahu in a communal clash as an offshoot of “appeasement politics” by the Bhupesh Baghel government as “glaring statement that added political colour to polarise religious sentiments”.

The efforts to polarise voters remained much perceptible in Kawardha seat where the lone Congress Muslim candidate Mohammed Akbar, a minister in Bhupesh Baghel cabinet, was contesting. Akbar lost to BJP firebrand Hindutva local leader Vijay Sharma.

The BJP legislative party meet will be held in the party headquarters in Raipur on Monday to elect their leader and the CM face is likely to be decided later this week.

After the Congress defeat, CM Bhupesh Baghel submitted his resignation to Governor Biswabhusan Harichandan late at night.


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