Madhya Pradesh which went into polls on November 28, is one the most crucial five states since it features an unpredictable and thrilling direct battle between the ruling BJP and the Congress. 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 are anti-incumbency and the combined might of some of its senior-most leaders, namely Jyotiraditya Scindia, Kamal Nath, Digvijaya Singh and party president Rahul Gandhi.
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.
With Congress president addressing mega rallies in the state and high pitches being made in the election manifesto, will the Rahul Gandhi led Congress be able to dethrone the 15-year-rule of BJP's Shivraj Singh Chouhan.
While senior leader Kamal Nath was appointed as the Madhya Pradesh party chief, with Jyotiraditya Scindia as the campaign committee chief and the relegation of Digvijay Singh to the background, Congress party head did not declare the face of the Chief Minister. For the Congress party that has been ridden with internal factionalism, this election is a test of internal integrity.
Congress president Rahul Gandhi may have declared his intent to be Prime Minister of India in 2019, but the true test of his leadership ability will lie in reviving the Congress party in Madhya Pradesh where the party hasn’t come to power for the past 15 years.
After Mayawati famously walked out of the alliance with Congress in Madhya Pradesh this October, the BSP decided to go into the polls all alone. Therefore, this election will determine if Rahul Gandhi not reaching out to Mayawati was has been the biggest mistake or not.
The election campaigning in Madhya Pradesh not only saw Congress president Rahul Gandhi going on a spree of temple visits. Congress went onto making explicit promises of a “Ram Path” to trace the route taken by Lord Ram during his 14-year exile, 'Gomutra' production and 'gaushala' construction in the state. The results on Tuesday will be a verdict on the efficacy of Congress’ soft Hindutva strategy for 2019 Lok Sabha polls.
Here are the numbers predicted by the poll of exit polls:
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