Following the historic mandate of 2018 assembly elections in Madhya Pradesh, where both major contenders (Bhartiya Janta Party and Congress) could not manage the clear majority, former Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan faced toughest elections of his political career.
In the last four years, Shivraj Singh’s image revolved around several controversies and political analysts have also claimed that, 2018 assembly elections are not going to be easy, as incumbent BJP is facing heavy anti-incumbency and also there is an anger in upper caste people against Shivraj Singh Chouhan over various issues.
How equations changed after 2014 Lok Sabha Elections?
Soon after the Lok Sabha elections 2014, Congress under the leadership of former State Congress Chief Arun Yadav highly raised the Vyapam issue, which extended across the state and a wave against BJP started in Madhya Pradesh. In 2017, another incident raised eyebrows of many i.e. Mandsaur farmers killing, the atrocious incident pitched an anti-farmers image of BJP in the state, further Shivraj Singh’s highly controversial statement “Koyi Mai ka Laal, reservation khatam nehi karsakta”, created an anger in Upper caste voters of Madhya Pradesh.
As per the various surveys, Cabinet Ministers Jayant Malaiya, Sharad Jain and Rustam Singh were under performer at their respective constituencies. Also BJP’s central leadership was not willing to give tickets to these leaders, however due to Shivraj Singh’s stress, all these ministers were given ticket and dented the party on electoral ground of central state.
Apart from all the above aspects, Rahul Gandhi’s massive campaign trail and his grandshow in Mandsaur on June 2018, created a buzz for Congress in the state. Former Chief Minister and Senior BJP leader Babulal Gaur at various occasions praised Congress government and created an embarrassment for BJP several times.
The 2018 assembly election was a multipolar competition, where Congress along with Bhaujan Samaj Party (BSP) and Samajwadi Party (SP) was leading the opposition. Debutants Samanya Pichra Alpsankhyak Kalyan Samaj (SAPAKS) and Jai Adivasi Yuva Shakti (JAYS) acted like a game changer, but could not prove themselves at the battle ground, which ultimately provided a setback to Bhartiya Janta Party in the state.