The verdict is 3-1 in favour of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Assembly elections 2023. Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh were painted saffron as postal ballots and electronic voting machines revealed that the voters had gone with the incumbent in the first-mentioned state and thrown out the ruling party in the other two. The only silver lining for the Congress was Telangana where it delivered the knockout blow to Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) to bag the second southern state in its kitty after Karnataka.
Madhya Pradesh cemented its position as an impregnable BJP fortress as the party stormed back to power by winning almost 70 per cent of the seats in Assembly elections 2023. Putting to rest all doubts and exit polls about the party not doing well in the state, the BJP came out on top riding on the popularity of Prime Minister Narendra Modi along with the development and welfare schemes of the state government.
Continuing with its sweep of the Hindi heartland, the party also secured big victories in Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh, the two states where the Congress was in power. The desert state lived up to its reputation of throwing out the incumbent every Assembly election as the BJP secured a majority easily while the Congress was left licking its wounds.
Chhattisgarh, which pollsters and political pundits had claimed would return the Congress to power, was yet another feather in the BJP’s cap on Sunday (December 3, 2023). Defying all the naysayers, the BJP routed Congress to regain power in the state after five years.
But the Congress, which was betting heavily on a positive outcome in the Hindi-speaking states to bolster its claim as the numero uno opposition party and to claim the leadership position in the opposition INDIA bloc, wrested Telangana, which had since its inception in 2014 had been a pocket borough of BRS’s K Chandrasekar Rao.
The gamble of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to lead the charge in the face of the next Lok Sabha elections due in about six months in May-June 2024 paid off handsomely as his connection and charisma saw the BJP surging past its principal pan-India rival in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh.
With the next Lok Sabha election approaching and political parties gearing up for the same, BJP’s big win in three states and the upsurge in its vote share in Telangana are a shot in the arm for the party as well as PM Modi. The scale of victory in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh also proves that the BJP versus Congress battle is heavily loaded in favour of the former.
How The States Voted
A comparison between the 2018 and 2023 election results reveals that the BJP has widened the gap between itself and the Congress. In Madhya Pradesh, the BJP’s tally jumped from 109 in the last polls to 165 five years later while the Congress slumped from 114 to just 63 in the 230-member Assembly.
Rajasthan, which has a habit of giving narrow victories, gave the BJP 115 seats, a big jump from the 73 it had won in 2018 and ensured a comfortable majority in the 200-member Assembly. On the other hand, the Congress saw a dip of 30 seats as its score came down to 70 from 100 five years ago.
Chhattisgarh, which is a 90-MLA House and had given a massive mandate to the Congress in 2018, saw the tables turned in 2023 as the party’s candidates came out on top in only 34 constituencies leading to its numbers falling by the same number of seats. The BJP gained massively taking its tally to 54 from the lowly 15 in 2018.
In Telangana, too, the BJP registered a quantum jump with its tally going up nine times in five years. The party had just one MLA in the state Assembly after the 2018 polls, but it saw nine of its candidates romping home in the 2023 edition.
Congress claimed just one state in the battle where it had been boasting that it would come out on top in the other three states too. The battle for Telangana was between the ruling BRS of K Chandrashekar Rao and Congress.
After a 10-year-long rule in the state, KCR’s party saw a resurgent Congress decimating it by winning 64 seats to the later 40. The state has 119 constituencies.