Highlights

  • Shivraj Chouhan has remained the CM of Madhya Pradesh since 2005
  • Congress ruled the state for a brief 15 months after winning 2018 elections

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In the contest for 230 assembly seats in Madhya Pradesh, BJP’s core policy of Hindutava will face a litmus test ahead of the general elections which lay few months ahead.   

BJP Vs Congress: Will Kamal Nath crush dominant 'Kamal' factor successfully or Shivraj return again?

The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party and the opposition Congress were locked in a fierce election battle in the largely bipolar Madhya Pradesh and on December 3 it would be clear if the incumbent Shivraj Singh Chauhan will continue to remain the chief minister of this central Indian state.

The campaign that saw top brass of both the parties taking repeated potshots at each other essentially hinges on anti-incumbency, with Chauhan facing the daunting task of winning an election after remaining at the helm intermittently for 18 years.

In the contest for 230 assembly seats, BJP’s core policy of Hindutava will face a litmus test ahead of the general elections which lay few months ahead.

Here are the factors that may determine the success of the 2 parties--

1- Anti-incumbency

Anti-incumbency is the ruling party's biggest concern as BJP has already completed 18 years in the government.

After winning three consecutive polls in 2003, 2008 and 2013, the BJP lost to the Congress in 2018 but a rebellion in the grand old party saw it sliding behind the majority mark, ensuring 15-month Kamal Nath government collapsed in 2020.

2-CM face

Chouhan has remained the face of BJP since 2005, but fielding of central ministers and senior BJP leaders like Narendra Singh Tomar, Kailash Vijayvargiya and Prahlad Patel is been seen as a sign of his waning grip in the state unit.

The Congress, however, has thrown its weight behind Kamal Nath, who in 2018 led the party to power as Congress fell just two short of the magic mark of 116.

3- Hindutava

Chouhan played temple-centric Hindutava card as he spent over Rs 3,000 crore on building, rebuilding or sprucing up temples, including the Mahakaleshwar Temple in Ujjain, and museums attached to them.

Nath countered his rival's strategy by organizing mega religious events in his home turf, Chhindwara, where tens of thousands of devotees participated.

4- The Scindia factor!

A CM aspirant in 2018, Jyotiraditya Scindia and his 22 loyalists pulled the rug from under Nath’s feet two years later.

But in 2023, the BJP too is facing rumblings in the organisation as many leaders who had sided with Scindia have returned to the Congress.

5- Women voters and welfare schemes

Fondly known as 'mama', Chouhan, in a bid to woo the women voters, has announced a slew of schemes with 'Ladli Behna Yojana' being the highlight where financial aid has been hiked from Rs 1,000 to Rs 1,250 a month. As a counter, the Congress has announced to raise the dole to Rs. 1,500 each month.

Following the BJP strategic of forming specific policy for the eve voters, the chief minister has also earmarked a whopping Rs 16,000 crore for schemes targeted at women from the financially weaker sections.

Apart from promising to restore 27 per cent reservation for the OBCs, the Congress has assured a caste-based census in MP and support for OBC quota within the Women’s Reservation Bill. Priyanka Gandhi, on campaign in the temple state, has also assured other 'guarantees' like the waiver of farm loans, the revival of the old pension scheme and up to 100 units of free electricity

6- Corruption

Congress has launched a strident campaign against alleged corruption, rise in the crime against women, atrocities against Dalits and Tribals, rising inflation and unemployment among other issues.

While the opposition party claimed in Karnataka, BJP took ‘40 per cent’ commission, in Madhya Pradesh Chauhan was targeted for ensuring a ‘50 per cent’ cut. The Congress has listed more than 250 ‘major scams’ during 18-year BJP rule.


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