New Delhi: In the end, all the concerns around farmer distress, unemployment and corruption lost out to the popular politics of division and religion in Madhya Pradesh. The state polled a whopping nearly 58% of the votes in favour of BJP giving it 28 of the 29 seats, one more than its tally in 2017. The Congress ended with just one seat while getting a little over 38% votes.
The icing on the cake for the saffron party would definitely be the victory of Malegaon blast accused Sadhvi Pragya Thakur Singh over former Congress chief minister Digvijay Singh in Bhopal. That she led by 3.37 lakh votes by around 6 p.m and the fact that during the campaign Digvijay Singh was forced to imitate her religious politics by organising havans, yagnas and marches of sadhus means that BJP scored more than just a political victory. It was able to make its opponents change their style of campaign as well.
— ANI (@ANI) May 23, 2019
Before the result was declared, Thakur told reporters: “I will definitely win. My win is the victory of dharma, destruction of adharma“. She also thanked the people of Bhopal for their faith in her.
In 2014, the Congress had won just two seats. One was Guna, where the scion of the Scindia family, Jyotiraditya Scindia, had defeated his nearest BJP rival by 1.20 lakh votes. However, Scindia could not defy the BJP sweep this time. He was trailing Krishna Pal Singh of BJP by over 1.24 lakh votes by 6 p.m.
The only saving grace for the Congress came from Chhindwara, which in 2014 too was won by senior party leader, Kamal Nath, by 116,537 votes. This time, the seat was picked up by Nath’s son, Nakul Nath who defeated BJP’s Nathansaha Kawreti by a margin of 37,536 votes.
Kamal Nath, a former Union minister, had won the seat in 2014.
However, as the numbers show, even the Naths struggled to retain the seat. In contrast, BJP was leading in all the seats by margins ranging from over a lakh to 5.5 lakh. The biggest margin was in Hoshangabad, where its candidate Udai Pratap Singh, was ahead by over 5.5 lakh votes.
The first two results also went in favour of the saffron party. In Khargone, its candidate Gajendra Umrao Singh Patel won by 202,510 votes over Dr. Govind Subhan Mujalda of the Congress. In 2014, the BJP had won the seat by 2.57 lakh votes.
The other result came from Ujjain where Anil Firozia defeated Babulal Malviya by 3,65,637 votes. This seat was won by BJP by 3.09 lakh votes in 2014.
However, it is the election to the Bhopal seat, from where Pragya Thakur contested, that remained the most followed across the globe. Though BJP projected Pragya to be a ‘victim’ of the Hindu terror bogey, political analysts said globally the election was being seen as the party’s endorsement for a terror accused.
The election to the Bhopal seat during the Lok Sabha polls is probably going to be the most followed across the globe as the counting is taken up on Thursday, May 23.
This because the Bharatiya Janata Party has fielded Malegaon blast accused ‘Sadhvi’ Pragya Thakur from the constituency and she is taking on senior Congress leader and three-time former CM of Madhya Pradesh, Digvijay Singh.
Though the BJP, which won 27 of the 29 seats in the state in the 2014 elections, has projected Pragya to be a ‘victim’ of the Hindu terror bogey, political analysts say globally the election is being seen as the party’s patronage for a terror accused.
Few are buying the party’s argument right now that Hindu or saffron terror was only a figment of imagination or a term coined by Congress leaders like Digvijay Singh and former home minister P. Chidambaram to malign the community.
During the 2014 election, BJP had polled 54.76% votes while Congress managed just 35.35% votes. But for senior leaders Kamal Nath in Chhindwara (who won it for the ninth time) and Jyotiraditya Scindia in Guna, who won their seats despite the ‘Modi wave’, the Congress would have drawn a blank.
But in the years since, the party has again worked its way up. It raised issues of farmer distress, the hardship caused by demonetisation and GST introduced by the Central government, and issues of corruption pertaining to the Shivraj Singh Chauhan-led BJP government in the state. This saw the party graph go up and in the November 2018 polls to the 230-member assembly elections, it won 113 seats.
With the help of the BSP, the SP and independents, the party formed a government with Nath as chief minister. The BJP actually had a marginally higher vote percentage of 41.02 as against 40.89 of the Congress but it ended up winning just 109 seats.
While for the Congress the major issues again are more or less the same, an element of communal politics has got added to these elections. In fact, to counter Pragya’s aggressive Hindutva and campaigning, Digvijay also took to taking the help of sadhus and organised yagnas. Bhopal was painted saffron by both the sides and many other leaders too took to temple visits in order to deny BJP an outright advantage.
The BJP has apart from raising issues of development under its rule and talking about national security also attacked the Congress for not fulfilling the promise it made before the assembly polls of waiving all the loans of the farmers.
The state voted in four phases on April 29, May 6, May 12 and May 19. The election and the way the campaigning took place brought the voters out in large numbers. The polling percentage bears testimony to this – it rose sharply from 61.61% in 2014 to 71.20% this time.