Madhya Pradesh Assembly Elections: All You Need To Know
The result for Madhya Pradesh’s state elections is the most keenly awaited contest in all of the three states that have voted to form new governments.
Anti-incumbency is expected to be a factor as the state has handed Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan three successive terms. Yet, there are other factors to consider in all 230 constituencies of the central state.
The BJP swept to power in 2013, winning 166 seats in a 231-member assembly. Anti-incumbency didn’t affect the BJP then as it increased its vote share by nearly 7 percent from its 2008 tally. The Bahujan Samaj Party lost 3 seats.
What Opinion Polls Say?
The poll of polls (average of five opinion polls—ABP C-Voter, Times Now WarRoom Strategies, NewsNation, ABP-CSDS & Times Now CNX) predict a neck and neck race, with the BJP leading by a slender margin.
Shivraj Singh Chouhan
At 13 years, Chouhan is the longest serving chief minister of the state. While GSDP (Gross State Domestic Product) and per-capita incomes have risen under his watch, rural distress has been a major problem—the police firing on farmers in Mandsaur last year is a reminder.
The Congress is banking on heavyweights like Kamal Nath and Jyotiraditya Scindia. Kamal Nath’s long political career is founded on his core support base in Chinndwara district, from where he was sent to the Lok Sabha for eight terms.
Scindia is another key face for the Congress and a probable contender to become chief minister. However, former chief minister and party stalwart Digvijaya Singh has been kept at bay, to prevent factional feuds from spoiling the party’s comeback bid.
Even as Chouhan remains the favourite to become the chief minister, Scindia, according to most exit polls, is the most popular candidate from the grand old party to become chief minister.
Unemployment—which has grown by over 16 percent between 2004 and 2018—will be a core electoral issue.
Anti-incumbency and rural distress, evidenced by rising number of farmers’ suicides, will be other key issues. The impact of Rahul Gandhi’s branding as a “Shivbhakt” will be keenly scrutinised.