On November 28, voting took place in Madhya Pradesh for 230 constituencies and the results couldn’t be more crucial to the BJP. On the BJP's side is the 15-year-rule of Shivraj Singh Chouhan who is a popular face, along with the electoral potency of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. On the Congress's side is anti-incumbency and the combined might of some of its seniormost leaders, namely Jyotiraditya Scindia, Kamal Nath, Digvijaya Singh and party president Rahul Gandhi.
Here's what at stake for the BJP in Madhya Pradesh
The BJP story in Madhya Pradesh has been of ballooning dominance. Consider these figures:
In 2003, the party won with a vote share of 42.5%,
In 2008, with a vote share of 37.6%,
In 2013, it was with a higher vote share of 44.9% ,and
In fact, even in the 2014 national elections, it witnessed a rise in vote share to 54.8%. Therefore, won't a loss on the day of the results indicate the domination trajectory of the BJP is coming to a halt?
Elections result will be either make it or break it for BJP leader Shivraj Singh Chouhan who was elected the CM for the 3rd term in 2013 assembly elections. His personal image is at stake, while he is looking to beat his triple anti-incumbency.
The victory here has immense national significance for the BJP given that the state of Madhya Pradesh has 29 Lok Sabha seats. If the tide is against the BJP in 2018, it's performance in the state in 2019 may be in trouble.
With party president Amit Shah and Narendra Modi leading this campaign from the front, a negative result in this BJP bailiwick will be a direct referendum on their 2019 Lok Sabha strategy and may even prove as a turning point for the 2019 story as well.
During the electoral campaigning, PM Modi conducted 10 rallies, Amit Shah conducted almost 23 rallies and 6 road shows, UP CM Yogi Adityanath held at least 5 rallies with Union Ministers Rajnath Singh, Sushma Swaraj and Smriti Irani also taking extending their support. With the entire top brass from the BJP campaigned in addition to the local faces for the BJP-- the result in Madhya Pradesh is seen as a reflection on the national leadership of the BJP.
During a party workers convention at MP's Hoshangabad on October 14, BJP president Amit Shah had declared, “we need to cross the 200-mark because our workers in West Bengal, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana are looking towards Madhya Pradesh.” This means that delivering above 200 seats is pivotal for BJP to maintain the morale of its party before 2019.
While the various exit polls were not able to give a single answer as to who will win the state, the poll of polls projected a hung house, with both parties being neck and neck. There was a slight advantage to the Congress in the 230-member assembly as per the pollsters.
Here are the numbers of polls of exit polls in Madhya Pradesh:
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