Ruling BJP appeared set to retain power with a landslide victory in Madhya Pradesh elections with chief minister Shivraj Chauhan eyeing a possible fourth term as chief minister, and at the party’s headquarters in state capital Bhopal were seen in a celebratory mood as counting of votes for the Assembly polls progressed on Sunday.
Election to the 230-member Madhya Pradesh Assembly was a fight between the BJP and the Congress, whose then 15- month old government, formed in the year 2018 was toppled from power in 2020 with help from Jyotiraditya Scindia who defected to BJP from the Congress.
As ECI results indicated a return to power, Chouhan credited the double engine BJP government for the party’s success in the state. “Modi ji MP ke mann mein hain aur Modi ji ke mann mein MP hai. He held public rallies here and appealed to the people and that touched people’s hearts. These trends are a result of that. Double-engine government properly implemented the schemes of the Central Government and the schemes that were formed here also touched people’s hearts.”
The BJP though had fielded three central ministers Narendra Singh Tomar, Prahlad Singh Patel and Faggan Singh Kulaste to tackle the perceived anti-incumbency against Chouhan.
Chouhan relied heavily on schemes for women like the ‘Ladli Behna Yojana’ under which Rs 1250 are being transferred monthly to eligible women from poor families in the state. Congress has described it an election sop, implemented months before the assembly polls, the BJP leaders have said that it is in line with the party’s work for empowering women.
Just a day ahead of voting, Chouhan had told ANI, “Kaante ki takkar’, ‘Kaante ki takkar’…’Laadli behna ne saare kaante nikaal diye (What neck-to-neck fight? The daughters and sisters seems to have set us on the road to victory”.
“I had said BJP will get a comfortable majority and we are getting it, I give the whole credit to Ladli Behnas for this impressive performance,” Chouhan said on early trends.
As counting progressed, as per the ECI, the BJP was leading in 137 of 230 seats, Congress on 57 seats while Gondvana Gantantra Party with two seats and Bahujan Samaj Party on one, at 10:28 am. Bharatiya Janata Party received 48.51 per cent votes while Congress 40.6 per cent votes.
As BJP crossed the halfway mark of 115 in the state Madhya Pradesh BJP president VD Sharma said, “We had said ‘Madhya Pradesh ke mann mein Modi aur Modi ke mann mein Madhya Pradesh’ – people blessed this drive…I am proud that with the work of booth-level workers of the BJP, we are fulfilling the resolution of 51% voting in every booth. I am proud of BJP workers, people have blessed PM Modi…”
The mood, however was sombre among Congress whose supporters had put up posters in Bhopal hailing Kamal Nath as Chief Minister.
The Congress had listed 59 promises in its 106-page manifesto, with assurances for all sections of the society, including farmers, women and government employees.
Counting of votes in elections to the 230-member state assembly held on November 17, began at 8 am today. Postal ballots were counted between 8 am and 8.30 am, after which the counting of votes through EVMs began in the presence of officials and political parties’ authorised agents.