Madhya Pradesh- Battle for 2019

Madhya Pradesh- Battle for 2019

Politics in Madhya Pradesh

                  Madhya Pradesh is a rich state with varied tropical forests and landscapes. It has a long history; the culture and politics in this state cannot be taken lightly. The state was formed in 1956, and after over four decades, the state of Chhattisgarh was carved out of it in 2000.  Madhya Pradesh was created in 1950 through the former British Central provinces and the princely states of Chhattisgarh and Makrai. Based on the States Reorganization Commission, after merging territories in the states of Madhya Bharat, and other princely states of the Malwa Plateau, areas of present-day Vindhya region, Hindi speaking areas of Mahakoshal and the region of Chhattisgarh and Berar, the state was formed in 1956.

                 Ravi Shankar Shukla was the first chief minister of the state. The first elections of Madhya Pradesh legislative assembly, after the state being reorganized, was held in 1957, and the assembly was constituted around the same time. In 1950, Nagpur was the capital of the state but in 1957, Bhopal became the new capital. The state has also had many tall political leaders as Chief Ministers- Ravi Shankar Shukla, Kailash Chandra Joshi, Arjun Singh, Motilal Vora, Sunderlal Patwa, Digvijaya Singh, Uma Bharathi, Shivraj Singh Chouhan and Kamal Nath in December 2018. Political parties like the INC (Indian National Congress), Samyukta Vidhayak Dal, Janata Party, and the BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party) have had their representatives been elected in the course of Madhya Pradesh’s recent political history.

 The Current Political Scene-

                 The BJP patriarch Lal Krishna Advani in 2004 had acknowledged that Madhya Pradesh was indeed the laboratory of the BJP in the Hindi heartland. The recent Assembly elections in the state have shown that Congress has taken on the BJP with a victory. Despite the BJP having grassroots support through its cadres, the Congress was able to make a mark in the Hindi heartland. Rahul Gandhi and the Congress team had taken on Modi’s fort through a careful campaign focusing on- Demonetization and the note-ban issue, the GST mismanagement, the job crisis, agrarian crisis, farmers penury, corruption and reminding the voters of the incumbent’s fault in these three states (Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh).

                  In 2014, the BJP had got 27 out of 29 seats in Madhya Pradesh, however, in the state elections, the Congress got 114 out of 230 seats while the BJP came back at 109 seats. In the recent assembly elections, Kamal Nath, Jyotiraditya Scindia and Digvijaya Singh had given an edge to the campaign strategy in Madhya Pradesh. There was also a lot of distress among the farmers community and the lack of jobs by which the Congress could swing things on issues. When Shivraj Singh Chauhan was the Chief minister there were both positives and negatives. There were many areas where there was an improvement- Public sanitation/toilets, public transport, infrastructure, roads and highways, civil aviation etc., but there were other areas where there could have been an improvement – the government education sector, medical facilities in the rural areas, farmers distress, corruption etc. Many people from Madhya Pradesh had compared Digvijaya Singh with Chauhan in their developmental initiatives before, but this time the Congress turned the tables around.

The Road to 2019

                   After coming back to power fifteen years later, the Congress is planning on another strategy for the 2019 polls just like the assembly elections in Madhya Pradesh. Many leaders like Sudhangshu Tripathi, Varsha Gaekward, Harshvardhan Sakpal, Zuber Khan and Sanjay Kapoor have been made in charge of election campaigns. The Congress party has a plan of fielding the right candidates in each zone after discussions with workers. The BJP has also planned a strategy to counter the narrative of the Congress in Madhya Pradesh. The fight for the 29 Lok Sabha seats in 2019, for Madhya Pradesh, is going to be a hard fought one. One has to see how the caste equations work in these various constituencies -Indore, Gwalior, Vidisha, Guna and Chhindwara.

                      The road to 2019 is going to be a difficult one. Not just Madhya Pradesh, but the equations between national and regional parties in all states do hold the key of forming a narrative in countering the force of the BJP. The national narrative of political parties and the battle between personalities would make the general elections look more like a presidential contest, a narrative of Modi Vs. the rest (In the opposition). However, there are many angles that have to be looked into while dealing with general elections. The BJP does have strong grassroots support through its cadres and the opposition is facing a tough situation of aligning and unifying leaders to form a new front for 2019.

                    The path ahead is going to be really hard for both Modi and Rahul. For instance, in Telangana and Mizoram, the regional strongmen had an upper hand. One has to also remember that Modi is very good at forming last-minute alliances and there is also the factor of those political parties that will come into the picture when the post-poll situation arises. The Modi wave and the opposition where there is lot of discord within the team, will tell the real story of 2019. One does not really know how things will move but the battle for 2019 is just warming up, and the voter does have the final say in deciding the fate of every political party?


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