After a nervy and exhilarating end to Karnataka State Legislative Assembly, the focus for major national parties shift to the year-end state legislative assembly elections in the state of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh. The Bharatiya Janata Party emerged as the single largest party in Karnataka but failed to pass the floor test, as B S Yeddyurappa had to resign due to lack of majority. BJP is facing anti-incumbency waves in all the three states it is set to head for the state assembly elections, with both Raman Singh and Shivraj Singh Chouhan in their third terms in the office of the Chief Minister in Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh respectively while Vasundhara Raje will complete her first term as the Chief Minister of Rajasthan. On the other hand, Congress has suffered major electoral setbacks since the 2014 Lok Sabha Elections, barring a few states. The grand-old party would be looking to pull themselves out of their slumber, as a victory in theses three states might help them to stand on their feet again, while revatalising the party and its leadership for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
Vasundhara Raje’s Raj coming to an end?
Rajasthan is notoriously famous for throwing the incumbent government out of power after the end of five-year term, a trend that has been prevalent in the state for more than two decades. Vasundhara Raje steered a successful campaign in the 2013 State Legislative Assembly elections against the incumbent Ashok Gehlot. The state saw a record turn-out during the elections with 74 per cent of the state’s electorates turning up to vote. Vasundhara Raje-led BJP to a thumping victory with the party securing 163 seats, an increase of 85 seats from their last elections performance and in the process creating electoral history in the state. The incumbent Congress government were left to lick their wounds as the then CM Ashok Gehlot could help the party get a measly 21 seats, falling down 75 seats from its previous elections’ tally. However, the situation is looking bleak for the ‘Queen of Rajasthan’ at the moment as she faces dissent from within the party, while being dealt a strong blow after losing the bye-elections for Alwar and Ajmer Lok Saha seats. The party high command is quickly loosing the trust they had in her when she decimated the Congress and came to power.
Shivraj Singh Chouhan heading for the fourth successive term?
From a “bimaru” state to an investor’s paradise, Shivaraj Singh Chouhan has slowly but steadily revamped the state of Madhya Pradesh. The CM of Madhya Pradesh has been at the helm for 13 years running and is not looking to bring an end to his political success story. The incumbent Madhya Pradesh CM overtook PM Modi’s reign as Gujarat CM. He became the second longest serving BJP Chief Minister and is next in line to the present Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh. Before he took over the reigns in 2005, MP’s economy was in doldrums and the state’s infrastructure was crippling; however, the man steered the economy out of the slumber and now MP is one the fastest developing states in the country. Congress is looking to use the anti-incumbency wave against the CM, as they have put faith in former Union Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia who looks to steer Congress back into power in the state that was once considered a Congress bastion before the rise of BJP and Shivraj Singh Chouhan. Shivraj Singh Chouhan will be leading the charge for the BJP when the election process begins as the party cannot replace the magnanimity of Chouhan’s aura within the state party cadre and among the voters.
Raman Singh-the lone wolf
Formed in 2000, the new state of Chhattisgarh was carved out of Madhya Pradesh after years of separatist demands and reconciliation. Congress leader Ajit Jogi became the first Chief Minister of the state, but in the Second Assembly elections in 2003, the incumbent Jogi government was voted out of power after a successful BJP campaign led by Raman Singh. Since then, the BJP supremo in Naxal-hit state has been at the helm for 14 years straight and running. The southern end of the state has been a Naxal hotbed but under Raman Singh’s government things have slowly improved at that end. The capital Raipur is fast emerging as a lucrative option for investors, with the city being one of the Smart Cities-an initiative launched by the ruling NDA government at the Centre. The state has reaped the benefits of good governance and policy implementation and is moving in the right direction in terms of economic growth and development. The state is heading for its fifth assembly elections, with Raman Singh confident that he will be coming into power for the fourth consecutive term. However, in a state that has till now seen a bipolar contest between Congress and BJP, Chhattisgarh would be heading for a three-way fight this time around. Former Chief Minister Ajit Jogi has parted ways with Congress to form his own Janta Congress Chhattisgarh and will looking to play the role of ‘kingmaker” or do an H D Kumaraswamy. Congress, on the other hand, is most likely to pitch its party president Bhupesh Baghel as the CM face against the veteran wheelchair-bound Jogi and current Chief Minister Raman Singh.