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Election 2019: Why Congress May Win At Least 30 Seats In Hindi Heartland States

The Bharatiya Janata Party swept the Hindi heartland states of Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, winning 62 of the 65 seats on offer. A lot has changed since then. The Congress was voted to power in all three states in the 2018 assembly polls, and is expected to put up a stiff challenge in the parliamentary elections as well.

The party is expected to win at least 10 seats each in the three states, according to three people following politics in these states.

The agrarian crisis in Rajasthan is a big issue this election, Rajan Mahan, professor at the University of Rajasthan, told BloombergQuint.

Farmers were let down by unfulfilled promises by the Modi government like doubling of farm income, he said.

To say that the Modi government was blameless would be inaccurate.
Rajan Mahan, Professor, University of Rajasthan

That’s the case in Chhattisgarh as well, according to Lalit Surjan, editor-in-chief of Deshbandhu Media Group. The people were frustrated and unhappy with 15 years of BJP government and have placed their trust in the Congress as it is seen to be delivering on its promise of loan waivers, he said.

After the setback in the three Hindi heartland states, the BJP made an attempt for a fresh start by fielding 11 new candidates in Chhattisgarh. The party had won 10 seats of the 11 in the 2014 polls.

In Madhya Pradesh, the party fielded new candidates like Pragya Thakur from Bhopal, who will take on senior Congress leader Digvijaya Singh. But according to Durham and Abhilash Khandekar, former Dainik Bhaskar editor, Raman Singh and Shivraj Singh Chouhan still hold considerable pull in the state, something that could frustrate other BJP leaders as they feel that their voices aren’t being heard.

Mahan said the BJP’s focus on national security may be striking a chord with voters but to assume that it will sweep them off their feet is very unlikely.

The ground realities of economic hardships have to be balanced with the national security narrative.
Rajan Mahan, Professor, University of Rajasthan

The Congress is focusing on local issues, while the BJP is focusing almost entirely on building a national security narrative instead of fulfilling promises made by both the central and state governments, he said.

Watch the entire discussion here: