Madhya Pradesh will hold elections on 28th November 2018 to elect representatives to 230 seats in the State Legislative Assembly.
The Shivraj Singh Chouhan-led BJP government is busy preparing to fight the assembly elections hoping for a fourth consecutive term, just as his counterpart in Chhattisgarh, CM Raman Singh is all set to battle it out for the fourth term.
Shivraj Singh Chouhan has been at the helm for 13 of the 15 years and is confident of winning the forthcoming elections. The Indian National Congress (INC) believes otherwise.
It is true that the BJP faces anti-incumbency in the state but whether the people are willing to give the INC another chance, is an open debate.
Let’s look at how CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan’s government has performed in the last five years. We take the following parameters to do a quick review:
Madhya Pradesh – Political
- Assembly Seats: 230
- Election Date: 28th November 2018
- Results Announcement: 11th December 2018
2013 Assembly Poll Results:
- Total constituencies: 230
- Total candidates: 2583
- Total Electors: 46,636,788
- Polling Percentage: 72.07%
- Results: BJP 165 seats, INC 58 seats, BSP 4 seats, Independent 3 seats
- BJP’s vote share: 44.88% ; INC: 36.38% ; BSP: 6.29%
BJP has to watch out for three factors that could go against their chances of repeating their 2013 performance and might cost them seats. They are:
Despite recording an impressive 18% growth in the last five years in agriculture, the present agrarian crisis has left a large number of farmers in severe financial distress. Poor monsoons and low prices have contributed to farmers running up losses in many parts of the state. The government has not been able to offer much relief despite a last-minute attempt at raising the Minimum Support Prices (MSP) is expected to placate at least some farmers.
The government’s promise of doubling farmer’s income by 2022 falls flat in the face of the state government’s Economic Survey Report 2017-18, which shows agriculture production has dipped compared to the previous year. The farmers are hurting.
Bhopal, Jabalpur, and Indore have a relatively high minority population that voted for the BJP in 2013. This time around this vote may go in favour of the INC though BJP continues to believe it still has the confidence of these voters.
The state has a large concentration of SC/ST voters in many districts. In 2013, BSP grabbed 6.29% vote share that negatively impacted Congress than BJP. This time around, if the BSP wins a higher percentage of votes as it did in 2008 (9.08%), it could go against the BJP rather than the Congress. But Mayawati is keeping her cards close to the chest and will reveal them post polls based on her party’s performance.
For BJP, anti-incumbency, farmer’s distress, minority votes, are all factors that may go against the ruling party. To what extent, remains to be seen.
Madhya Pradesh – Economic
- GSDP FY2011-12: $65.81 billion ; GSDP FY17-18: $109.70 billion
- Per Capita NSDP (constant prices) 2017-18: Rs 55,442 crore
- GSDP (constant prices) 2017-18 – Industry: Rs 1,25,801 crore
- GSDP (constant prices) 2017-18 – Agriculture: Rs 1,17,456 crore
- GSDP (constant prices) 2017-18 – Manufacturing: Rs 56,807 crore
- of MSME Units in 2012: 19,894 ; 2017: 87,071
Madhya Pradesh is one of the fastest growing states maintaining an impressive CAGR of 14.39% since 2011-12. The Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP) has grown from $65.81 billion in FY2011-12 to $109.70 billion in FY 17-18.
The state has attracted significant investment in manufacturing and has successfully developed several industrial zones within the state that are contributing to its growing revenues. The state-of-the-art renovated railway station at Habibganj in Bhopal is due for inauguration by end December 2018 and is going to showcase the government’s economic success. Madhya Pradesh’s emergence as a major industrial hub has kept Shivraj Singh Chouhan in power for three terms and was he to win a fourth term, credit will go to his economic agenda, albeit with full support from Delhi.
Despite massive development in the last fifteen years, the creation of new jobs has remained a major problem. Large areas remain neglected or underdeveloped, and these will cost the BJP precious votes.
Development of roads, dams, and power generation has been some of the biggest areas of infrastructure success in the state, and the people have rewarded BJP with three terms in office. The ruling party will continue to highlight the achievements in this area, and from January 2019, showcasing the Habibganj Railway Station as a visible example before the people.
The PPP model of development has had its issues and has slowed down the pace of infrastructure development. More could have been done, especially in the hinterland where investment is most needed.
Madhya Pradesh – Social
The government has invested heavily on social development through central government schemes, but the BJP continues to have a perception problem with the minority groups, including Muslims, SC/ST, and Dalits, all of which could work against the incumbent party.
Winning over these groups that can play a vital role in case of a close contest with a resurgent INC.