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Madhya Pradesh Elections: After 15 years, Congress inches close to victory

By Ashish Mani Tiwari
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15 years ago in 2003, former Chief Minister and senior Congress leader Digvijaya Singh was evicted as Madhya Pradesh’s chief minister. In the 2003 Assembly elections, the BJP got 173 seats and Congress 38, Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) 2 and Samajwadi Party (SP) 7 and Gondwana Gantantra Party (GGP) 3 and others 7 for the 230 members Madhya Pradesh Vidhan Sabha.

And a decade later, in 2013 BJP had gone down to 165, Congress inched 58, BSP 3 and others 4 seats respectively.

By any yardstick, for the Grand old Party to get more than 100 seats and sharp majority in few years is magnificent. And for the winning Congres, it’s matter of great pride to return to power in India’s tiger state after a break of 15 years.

Let’s have a look at the aspects that led to Congress success after 15 years

Rahul Gandhi’s Leadership

Since, from the very beginning of Rahul Gandhi’s campaign trail in Madhya Pradesh, a new, aggressive and assertive Congress was visible in the state. Gandhi’s grand show in June 2018, after one year of Mandsaur’s farmers killing set the tone for election battle in the central state, where he single handedly wooed the whole state with his antagonistic speech against BJP over various issues. Apart from his rallies and speeches, the attribute that sets him apart is his warm connection with public of state, credits to his regular visit to state and cordial gesture.

Tactical inclusion of mass state leaders

By bringing in, BJP leaders like Sartaj Singh, Padma Shukla, Sanjay Sharma, Sanjay Singh Masani and many more, Congress largely dented BJP’s upper caste vote support. Digvijaya Singh’s crucial strategy as in-charge of state coordination committee provided a massive boost to harmony of the party from grassroots level to senior most leaders in the state.

Priyanka Chaturvedi, Randip Surjewala, Dr Manmohan Singh, Nagma, Navjot Singh Sidhu as star campaigners and spokespersons, created a massive impact in local media of Madhya Pradesh, especially Priyanka Chaturvedi’s straight forward remarks were highly appreciated across the state during electoral battle of central India.

Committed Duo of Kamal Nath and Jyotiraditya Scindia

Madhya Pradesh Congress Committee Chief Kamal Nath and senior Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia played a decisive role in lifting up the morale of Congress workers in the state. Chhindwara parliamentarian Kamal Nath and Guna- Shivpuri MP Jyotiraditya Scindia, both had a proven track record of development in their respective constituencies, which worked as a catalyst for party in the state. Speaking to media in Indore, Congress Chief Rahul Gandhi stated that “There are certain things which Kamal Nath brings to the table and there are certain things that Jyotiraditya Scindia does. Kamal Nath has experience, and Scindia is young and dynamic.”

State Leadership

On the unity front, Congress set the benchmark for various parties, the first masterstroke of Rahul Gandhi to appoint Kamal Nath and further including Jyotiraditya Scindia, Digvijaya Singh, Jitu Patwari, Ajay Singh in MPCC conveyed a positive image of the party among voters. Last but not the least, projecting former MPCC Chief Arun Yadav against Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan at Budhni created massive shock for BJP, as it was not expected in political circles of state.

Shivraj Singh Chouhan’s Gloomy Image

Shivraj Singh Chouhan’s controversial image including Dumper Scam, Vyapam and e-tendering scam dented BJP’s dream of retaining Madhya Pradesh for the fourth time. Many BJP leaders have faced anguish of voters in their respective constituencies and many saffron party leaders have also showcased their towards party’s ticket distribution system and joined Congress. Several religious personalities including ‘Computer Baba’ showcased their anguish towards Shivraj Singh Chouhan over illegal sand mining in Narmada River.