ASSEMBLY POLLS: Congress takes MP, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh, TRS retains Telangana and MNF in Mizoram

Congress victory rally in Rajasthan carrying pictures of Sachin Pilot



MADHYA PRADESH: Congress: 113; BJP 110; BSP 2; Others: 5. (TOTAL: 230)
RAJASTHAN: Congress: 99; BJP 73; BSP 6: CPI(M) 2; Others: 19. (TOTAL: 200)
CHHATTISGARH: Congress: 68; BJP 16; BSP 2: Others: 4.(TOTAL: 90)
MIZORAM: MNF: 26; Congress 5: BJP 1; Others: 8. (TOTAL: 40)
TELANGANA: TRS: 88; Congress 19; TDP 2; BJP 1; Others: 9. *TOTAL: 90).
NOTE: The Election Commission was yet to announce results of several constituencies in Madhya Pradesh, and the above figures (of Madhya Pradesh) are based on unofficial projections. Counting was on till late at night.

NEW DELHI: The BJP ran for cover Tuesday as it was bundled out of power in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, and put up negligible shows in the other two states that went for assembly polls — Mizoram and Telangana.

The defeat for the BJP had been predicted by one and all in Rajasthan, where an unpopular chief minister Vasundhara Raje Scindia made matters worse for the party. The Congress has projected two CM faces in this polls, Sachin Pilot and Ashok Gehlot. The party would now decide who would be the CM. The party was losing almost every byelection in the state, both for assembly and Lok Sabha, in recent times and still the BJP leadership never thought of a change in leadership. 

The disenchantment of farmers, the Jats who demanded BC quota and not got it and then formed a party of their own but not won any seat, and the Hindutva offensive against Dalits in the name of cow protection, all combined to create a force in favour of the Congress this time. The central BJP leadership sat blinking every time the tide turned against the BJP in the state on sensitive matters. Pilot, son of Rajiv Gandhi chum and former Union minister, the late Rajesh Pilot, is a BC face in the Congress, as was his father.

In Chhattisgarh, the same fate awaited Raman Singh, the BJP chief minister who ruled the state ever since its inception 15 years ago. He earned a name by starting a one-rupee-per-kilo rice scheme for the poor, which earned him the sobriquet, Chawalwala Babu. But, a strong anti-incumbency wave saw him and the BJP thrown out of power. The Congress won a two-thirds majority there.
Former chief minister Ajit Jogi, who fought the polls through a party he formed after quitting the Congress some time ago, did not make any success though he had allied with the BSP of Mayawati. BJP expectation was that he would draw a part of the Congress votes, to make things easy for the saffron side.

In Madhya Pradesh, chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan stepped aside after a run for 13 years. Hailing from a backward caste, he depended on these communities’ support, but it fell short for a success for him and the BJP this time. Anti-incumbency factor is seen to have nailed his prospects this time. The Congress is likely to install young Jyotiraditya Scindia, a leader with royal blood running through his veins and son of late Madhavrao Scindia, as the new chief minister. This, though elder politician-turned money-spinner and businessman Kamalnath was also in the forefront of the election campaign for the Congress this time.

Mizoram saw chief minister and seasoned politician Lal Thanhawla of the Congress failing to guard his own seat and lost in both the constituencies he fought the polls this time. The Mizo National Front took a major chunk of the assembly seats this time. 

In Telanagana, popular chief minister K Chandrashekar Rao who led the Separate Telangana agitation and became the new state’s first chief minister in 2014 returned to power with renewed strength, more seats and more votes. He had  called the elections this time five months in advance. Andhra Pradesh chief minister Chandrababu Naidu who made an attempt to lord over Telangana too by re-entering the political turf in the state and cobbled an alliance with the Congress and the Communists, was dumped by the electorate with strong disdain. His Telugu Desam party collected no more than 3 per cent votes this time, against the 15 per cent it got in the 2014 assembly polls. 

What is good about the BJP this time was that, despite strong anti-incumbency factor at work, it put up a stiff resistance and made a good performance in the polls in both Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh. In MP, it fought neck and neck, inch by inch, with the Congress till the last minute. 

Notably, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had not extensively campaigned for the BJP in this round of polls, though he did some campaigning in all the election-bound states. Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath did major campaigning in the three Hindi-belt states, but this did not help the BJP substantially as is evident from the voting trends. One reason Modi kept off is that he would soon be on a major campaign charade for the next Lok Sabha polls. He left the campaign scene to local CMs in the main.  –IHN-NN


UPDATE … 12 NOON: Congress leading in Rajasthan and grabs power in Chhattisgarh; TRS to retain power in Telangana; MNF triumphs in Mizoram. Neck-and-neck race between BJP and Congress in Madhya Pradesh.

NEW DELHI: The Congress is having a better show in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, while ruling TRS gains upper hand in Telangana, while Congress is somewhat fighting fit with the BJP in Madhya Pradesh as well, as per initial counting trends of votes polled in the assembly polls.

NECK AND NECK FIGHT IN MP … In Madhya Pradesh, the Congress and BJP are running neck and neck, giving some hope to chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan that he could retain power. BJP leading in 113 seats, Congress leading in 106 seats and the BSP in four seats; BSP eight, SP in two. TOTAL SEATS: 230 BJP was ruling the state for the past 13 years. Looks like, it will retain power. Failure of Congress to ally with BSP proved to be the reason for BJP to take upper hand this time.

TRS GAINS UPPER HAND …In Telangana, TRS is leading in 93 seats, Congress in 19 seats, BJP leading in two seats and others six seats. TOTAL SEATS 119. TRS ruling the state since its formation in 2014. Major reverses for Telugu Desam and loss of face for Chandrababu Naidu in Telangana. Minority Muslim voters favour TRS. Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao, despite foisting of a ‘family rule’, is having the last laugh.

HUNG ASSEMBLY IN RAJ? …In Rajasthan, the Congress is leading in 94 seats, BJP in 81 seats, BSP 4 and others 21. TOTAL SEATS 200. Ashok Gehlot and Sachin Pilot to vie for CM post if Congress gets majority. CPI(M) leads in two states. Independents leading in 12 seats. AICC observer KC Venugopal reaches Jaipur.

CONGRESS TO GRAB POWER …In Chhattisgarh, Congress is leading in 57 seats and BJP in 24 seats, Others in 9. Two-thirds majority expected for Congress in Chhattisgarh, ruled by BJP’s Raman Singh for 15 years. CM Raman Singh leading, after he trailed for a while. Others leading in seven seats. The Ajit Jogi-Mayawati alliance undercuts BJP strength. TOTAL SEATS: 90

CONGRESS LOSING POWER … In Mizoram, MNF is leading. MNF leading in 25, Congress leading in 11, others in one. Congress losing power in state. TOTAL SEATS 40. Lal Thanwala to bow out of office. –IHN-NN

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