BJP stages third consecutive win in 2013
The beginning of the second decade of 21st century changed the direction of Indian politics forever. This was the time when Anna Hazare’s anti-corruption movement was at its peak. Massive crowds from all walks of life and in various parts of the country were protesting against the corrupt Congress government at the centre. Madhya Pradesh assembly elections were held in the middle of all this and just before the 2014 Parliamentary elections along with Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, Delhi and Mizoram.
The overwhelming mandate in the elections in favour of BJP and Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan broke all records. For the third consecutive time, BJP stormed to power.
In this election, BJP’s vote share increased to 45.7 percent (+8.1%). Its tally increased to 165 (+22). On the other hand, Congress party recorded 37.6 percent vote share (+4.7%), however its tally reduced to 58 (-23). BSP tally also declined to 4 seats (-3) and vote share to 6.4% (-2.6%).
BJP benefited from return of Uma Bharti
BJP got the benefit of return of fire brand leader Uma Bharti who had demolished Digvijay Singh’s fort in the 2003 election. Uma did many public meetings for the BJP and helped to garner support especially among the OBCs. Community support for BJP increased from 41% in 2008 to 44% in 2013. In 2008, Uma Bharti had contested separately by forming Janshakti Party. Uma’s party had won 5 seats with 4.7 percent vote share, and spoiled the game of BJP candidates in many seats (17-18).
BJP gets votes from every section of society
With the support of traditional voters – upper caste, OBCs, upper and middle class voters, BJP left Congress 8 to 10 per cent behind in the race. Congress gave tough fight to BJP for the votes of poor section.
Both BJP and Congress received 44 percent of the poor class votes. Amongst the males, 44 percent voted for the BJP while 36 percent for the Congress. 46 percent of the women voted for the BJP and 37 percent for the Congress. BJP got the most support from the rural, OBC, upper castes, young & middle age (26 to 45 years) and the matric pass voters.
SC-ST slips from Congress hands, BJP gained trust of Muslims
For the first time in the last three elections, Congress party’s traditional vote bank of SC-STs shifted to BJP. According to CSDS post poll survey, the BJP’s vote share among STs increased by 15% and SCs by 8%. While support of Congress from STs along witnessed an increase of 6%, its tally among ST reserved seats declined by 2. The gain of vote share did not turn translate into seats. BJP also succeeded in increasing its support among Muslims from 15% to 17% thanks to the secular image of Shivraj Singh Chouhan.
ST Voting Preference
Shivraj the first choice of public for Chief Minister
In 2013, Shivraj Singh Chauhan was the public’s first choice for the post of chief minister. According to the post poll survey of CSDS, about 44% of voters wanted to see Shivraj as CM. Even 20 percent of Congress voters wanted Shivraj as CM. Congress party made young Jyotiraditya Scindia head of its election campaign committee. However, Scindia could not even stand before Shivraj and remained behind in the popularity race by a gap of almost 20 percent.
To sum up, 2018 elections is all about how Congress effectively exploits the anti-incumbency against Shivraj and whether it can put up a united fight. Without unity Congress doesn’t stand a chance as Shivraj leads the popularity charts even in surveys which predict a Congress win.