Analysis of BJP performance in Madhya Pradesh by-polls

The results of the by-elections of Madhya Pradesh assembly constituencies, Mungaoli and Kolaras were announced yesterday. Both the constituencies are Congress strongholds and the Congress party is victorious in both the assembly seats. Congress has also emerged victorious in the Rajasthan by-polls that were conducted last month, but there is a significant difference between the results of both the state by-elections. It should be noted that the state assembly elections of both the states will be held by the end of this year.

Rajasthan by-election results signaled BJP to undergo momentous revamping in the electoral strategy to counter anti-incumbency, but Madhya Pradesh by-poll results show something positive for them.The primary difference between the both by-polls is that Congress’s victory in Rajasthan was in BJP’s stronghold but the one in Madhya Pradesh was on their own stronghold with a reduced margin. In 2013 state Vidhan Sabha elections, Congress won Mungaoli and Kolaras with a margin of 20765 and 24953 votes respectively but the recent by-poll gave them victory with a much smaller margin of just 8083 and 2124 votes respectively.

This can’t be interpreted as a moral victory for BJP like the statements claimed by Congress’s supporters during Gujarat state assembly elections. BJP’s loss can’t be denied but the margin of loss in these by-elections signal that there is very less anti-incumbency on Shivaraj Singh Chauhan’s government. This is a huge advantage for him as the assembly elections are nearing for the entire state.  When BJP is able to have a competitive performance against Congress even in Congress’s stronghold seats and anti-incumbency is not much seen, it is highly possible for BJP to easily win their bastion constituencies and replicate the results of 2013 in the upcoming assembly elections.

With huge anti-incumbency on Congress in their ruling states, it’s an easy job for BJP to utilize this anti-incumbency and win elections in these states but the real game lies on how BJP wins elections continuously by surviving the anti-incumbency in their own states and retain them. They recently won over 20 years of anti-incumbency in Gujarat. Madhya Pradesh is a state where BJP is in power for past 15 years and the recent by-poll results hint that there is very less anti-incumbency against BJP even after 15 years.

Advantage for BJP in Multiple front elections:

The upcoming state elections in Madhya Pradesh will be more advantageous for BJP than the recent by-polls. The recent by-polls is just a two front battle. Bahujan Samaj Party’s leader, Mayawathi usually fields candidates for the elections in Madhya Pradesh and her party also won few seats in the previous assembly elections. She didn’t field any candidate for the recently concluded by-polls. Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party is also expected to field candidates for the upcoming state elections. When multiple players emerge, it will split the anti-incumbency votes against BJP and will brighten the chances of BJP’s victory.

It also should be noted that Mungaoli and Kolaras assembly constituencies falls under the Guna Lok Sabha constituency. Member of Parliament of Guna constituency is Jyotiraditya Scindia, who was a former central minister of power and belongs to the royal family of Gwalior. He is a very popular face and campaigned in these constituencies (which come under his own Lok Sabha constituency) for almost a month but still was not able to utilize the anti-incumbency to provide a bigger victory for Congress. If this election was fought in multiple fronts, constituency like Kolaras, where Congress won with just a margin of 2124 votes would have slipped into the hands of BJP as the anti-BJP votes would have divided. Elections are seven months ahead and a lot can happen in this period but the present signs show that BJP is having higher chances to win the upcoming state elections than Congress.