Elections in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh: A Thumbsup for Vikas and BJP
Elections to Madhya Pradesh, Chattisgarh and Rajasthan are a complex interplay important factors; but the key factors are leadership and execution on the ground. Other factors which might influence elections today in India are caste, community, religion, candidates, finances, factionalism, and communication skills of candidates. However, if I am asked to name one factor which can make or break an election today in the “Post 2014 Era” where Congress has been reduced to a fringe player; it is the “Modi magic”.
Modi’s journey in elections from Hindu Hriday Samrat to “Vikas Purush” has been stellar and his understanding of the voters India is beyond the ability of contemporary politicians of India (maybe Amit Shah equals him).
These elections are the first major electoral fight in the “Post 2014 Era” where a Congress dynast with less than average mental abilities (read Rahul Gandhi) has taken over as Congress President and stayed there for some time. Albeit touted as a dress rehearsal for the 2019 Lok-Sabha polls, I do not see this dynast as a major influence in Indian politics especially among the youth who are today sceptical about traditional notion of voting based on caste vote banks.
Congress today is perceived as synonymous with corruption and its first family as fountainhead of corruption is inculpated for all the ills of independent India. In my unsophisticated, not nuanced understanding of current politics and generation of this great nation, I can say with some authority that Congress will do well if it is freed from the shackles of dynastic and corrupt Gandhi family or else it will soon be relegated to dustbin of history. Uttar Pradesh is the best showcase of what will happen to Congress if it continues with a leader who does not understand India and follows the advice of external players like Cambridge Analytica (CA) like a rabbit in trance!!
Despite its local leadership campaigning hard and trying to close the gap using traditional vote bank politics they are not able to understand and appreciate that, the Post 2014 Era India is all about development and its execution, where caste plays a small but insignificant role in elections especially among youth. BJP to its credit has been able to keep the anti-BJP forces divided and uncoordinated; a lesson well learnt in Bihar!
BJP does face anti-incumbency as the party rules at the Centre as well as in all the above states. However; the BJP chief ministers themselves are major factors. In Chattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh, chief ministers Raman Singh and Shiv Raj Singh Chouhan respectively have been in power for three consecutive terms. These Chief Ministers with Modi form a formidable planning & execution teams who have delivered for development in their respective states and have become a rallying point beyond Modi. Rajasthan has been alternating between the Congress and the BJP like a revolving door since 1998. So like a cliché, our conventional psephologists & journalists with limited abilities think Congress will come back to power here.
Raman Singh is the senior most chief minister in the country and Mamaji the most popular by any standards. It is Vasundhara Raje who faces the revolving door election of Rajasthan and is affected more than the other two.
In Madhya Pradesh where the vote has already been cast BJP will win handsomely as per the ground reports I have from my team. The Congress still cocooned in the traditional vote bank and disruptive narrative (ill-advised by CA) stuck to its same old jargon and disruptive behaviour. What was surprising to me was, to see a big section of rural Brahmin vote go to Congress along with its traditional moslem base. As per ground reports available to me Brahmins in MP have voted in urban areas for SP/BSP while those in rural areas have voted for Congress along with moslem. This shows that Brahmins have fallen for the scaremongering methods used by Congress on advice of CA. This is very unlike the rest who have consolidated behind vikas plank of Mamaji and Modi. The exemplary planning and execution of Prime Minister Awas Yojana by Mamaji has changed the perception of all sections of society in Madhya Pradesh. The Sambal and Kambal Yojanas have delivered to the poor where it matters the most. Madhya Pradesh will remain a BJP bastion, I predict that BJP will get anywhere between 130 to 135 seats in MP.
In Chattisgarh too, the caste vote banks are getting blurred. OBCs are close to 50 per cent and are the deciding factor here. Nearly a third of the state’s population are ST, while 12 per cent are SC. Muslims are 2 per cent, Brahmins 7 per cent and others 4 per cent. Of the 90 seats, 29 are reserved for STs and ten for SCs. The upper castes and OBCs have traditionally backed the BJP and now with the central and state development schemes, BJP is able to get an upper hand in ST votes too. With BSP & Jogi forming a third front here and eating into traditional Congress votes, it is a walk through for the senior most Chief Minister by experience in India Dr Raman Singh. I predict a score of 49 to 52 for BJP here.
In Rajasthan, caste has traditionally been the primary driving force in politics but has now lost its established clichéd importance. With conventional caste equations defying their time-tested patterns, elections in Rajasthan has become more complex. Rajasthan today has become unpredictable based on caste equations unlike the earlier norm. While traditionally Jats were a Congress vote bank, the Jat youth who dominate in and around 60 seats directly are influenced by the policies and execution of Modi; skewing the conventional prediction methodologies. Rajputs are influential in major pockets like Sriganganagar, Bikaner and Jhunjhunu. Brahmins influence roughly around 30 to 35 constituencies in this state. Vasundhara Raje according to the ground reports and my analysis is safe as she has been able to live up to the formidable challenge of taking the support base beyond the BJP’s traditional voters in Rajputs and Gujjars. The setback in the 2018 bye-elections, in Alwar and Ajmer constituencies was a wakeup call for the cadre here, which has today worked to overcome the gaps. The manufactured agrarian crisis, cow vigilantism, the Padmaavat agitation where the informed can see the hand of Cambridge Analytica and George Soros will not help Congress in getting back to power. To top it all Amit Shah’s focus to retain Rajasthan with BJP is working magic here. I predict that BJP will retain this state with a wafer thin margin of 104 – 108 MLAs.
In the Post 2014 Era, Modi is the most important factor. Modi magic has increased beyond the understanding ability of conventional journalism; his personal popularity is growing among youth. Most Indian families treat him as an elder in their own family as I have written in my earlier column about Modi. You can read that column here: An Idea called Modi
His non-availability at this crucial juncture as he is in G-20 summit does leave a gap in the end stages of electioneering in Rajasthan. Amit Shah is best bet for BJP to overcome that gap.
PS: Despite tall claims to contrary by conventional psephologists and journalists with limited abilities, I predict that all the three major states in Hindi Heartland will deliver for BJP. Over to results now!