The BJP is racing towards power in the Hindi heartland states of Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh while the Congress is poised to oust the BRS in Telangana in a crucial electoral exercise ahead of Lok Sabha polls just months away.
As votes were counted for assembly elections to the four states on Sunday, trends on the Election Commission website threw up a patchwork that could end up with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s imprint on it. It seemed to be pro-incumbency in BJP-ruled Madhya Pradesh and anti-incumbency in the Congress-ruled states of Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh.
The elections, which set the momentum for the 2024 polls, have seen the BJP and the Congress go head to head in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh. Telangana was a direct contest between the Congress and the K Chandrashekhar Rao-led Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) that was hoping for a hat-trick.
“People have endorsed Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s leadership and rejected the Congress’ false promises,” Union minister Pralhad Joshi said as counting day progressed and celebrations broke out in BJP quarters in several places.
In Madhya Pradesh, the party seemed set for another term in power in Madhya Pradesh with leads in 161 seats and the Congress trailing far behind at 66 in the 230-member assembly.
“Our Prime Minister Narendra Modi ji is in the hearts of the people of Madhya Pradesh. The state is also in the heart of Modi ji,” said four-term Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan. The BJP has been in power in the state for 18 years.
Basking in his hour of glory, he said the state government implemented schemes like the Ladli Lakshmi and Ladli Behna and a lot of work was done for the welfare of farmers, poor people and youth.
As many as 2,533 candidates were in the fray, including Chouhan and his predecessor and rival, veteran Congress leader Kamal Nath.
If the BJP looked set to retain power in the central Indian state with a decisive win, it readied to take over from the Congress in neighbouring Rajasthan that has traditionally voted alternately for the two parties.
While the saffron party was ahead in 111 seats, well over the halfway mark, the Congress had leads in 72. Voting was held in 199 seats as polling in one was put off due to the death of a candidate.
The Congress, riven by factionalism, was helmed by Ashok Gehlot in the state, but the BJP, interestingly, has no chief ministerial face.
On the issue of the new chief minister of Rajasthan, Prahlad Joshi said the decision will be taken “very soon and smoothly”.
Taking a swipe at Gehlot, born into a family of magicians, Union minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat said the magic has ended and people have voted for the honour of women and for the welfare of the poor.
“The way we are moving towards a huge majority in the states of Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh, it is clear that the people trust Modi’s guarantee and have rejected the Congress’ gimmicks (nautanki). Modi magic is the real magic and every other magician has failed,” added BJP spokesperson Shehzad Poonawala.
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