The election in Madhya Pradesh is expected to be the most crucial in this round of assembly polls. The BJP bastion is also a heartland state, where data shows that a victory in the assembly election leads to an incremental return in the Lok Sabha elections.
The Congress, which is seeking to unseat the BJP — in power in the state for three consecutive terms — hopes to harness what they claim is high anti-incumbency brought on by multiple factors. The people, the party says, are disenchanted over the government’s failure to generate jobs, improve the situation of farmers and provide better law and order.
The BJP claims they will get another mandate. Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has told NDTV that over the years, the state had registered 10 per cent growth and managed a six-fold hike in per capital income.
But the Congress failure to form a partnership with Mayawati may affect the outcome for the party. Data shows that if the two parties tied-up in the 2013 assembly election, their combined strength would have gained 41 more seats.
For almost 20 years, BSP has got between 6 and 9 per cent of the total votes in Madhya Pradesh.
This would have helped the swing factor. Data from 2013 elections indicate that the Congress needs a minimum 5 per cent swing to win the elections in the state.
The extra 41 seats for the alliance would have come from Scheduled Caste dominated areas of the state.
The two main Scheduled Caste dominated belts lie in the north and West Central areas of the state.
The tribal belts are mainly in the eastern and western parts of the state.
Between 2003 and 2013, Congress has gained ground in areas dominated by Scheduled Castes in Madhya Pradesh, though its progress has been slow.
The BJP has been the dominant force in Madhya Pradesh since its win in 1990.
The BJP has a bigger lead over the Congress among younger voters than the middle-aged ones, shows data from 2014.
In the 2013 Assembly elections, the BJP won by a large margin.
It also did very well in the by-elections in February 2018
But last year’s municipal election results in Madhya Pradesh showed gains for Congress in urban areas
The Congress and BJP could be in a neck-and-neck fight in rural areas if municipal voting trends continue in assembly polls
Over 70 per cent of voters in Madhya Pradesh are in villages. Here’s the voter breakup by religion and caste.
Over the past few years, the turnout in assembly elections in Madhya Pradesh has been much higher than in Lok Sabha polls.
Will BJP hold on to Madhya Pradesh after three terms? Here’s what opinion polls suggest.
The 16 bellwether seats to watch out for as Madhya Pradesh votes are counted. Nepanagar got it right in the last 9 elections, Badnagar picked the winner in 7 elections.
Assembly elections will be held for 230 seats in Madhya Pradesh on November 28. The votes will be counted on December 11.