BJP set for win in Rajasthan, MP, Chhattisgarh; Congress in Telangana

Congress faces setback as BJP sweeps MP and Rajasthan, secures decisive wins with 161 and 111 seats

Representative image (photo: National Herald archives)
Representative image (photo: National Herald archives)
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PTI

The BJP is racing towards power in the Hindi heartland states of Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan and had a distinct edge in Chhattisgarh while the Congress is poised to oust the BRS in Telangana in a crucial electoral exercise ahead of Lok Sabha polls 2024.

As votes were counted for assembly elections to the four states on Sunday, 3 December, trends on the Election Commission website threw up a patchwork that could end up with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s imprint on it. It seemed to be pro-incumbency in BJP-ruled Madhya Pradesh and anti-incumbency in the Congress-ruled states of Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh.

The elections, which set the momentum for the 2024 polls, have seen the BJP and the Congress go head to head in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh. Telangana was a direct contest between the Congress and the K Chandrashekhar Rao-led Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS), which was hoping for a hat-trick.

“People have blessed BJP in three states... endorsed Prime Minister Narendra Modi's leadership and rejected the Congress' false promises,” Union minister Pralhad Joshi said as counting day progressed and celebrations broke out in BJP offices in several places.

In Madhya Pradesh, the party seemed set for another term in power with leads in 161 seats and the Congress trailing far behind at 66 in the 230-member assembly. The BJP has been in power in the state for 18 years.

As many as 2,533 candidates were in the fray, including Chouhan and his predecessor and rival, veteran Congress leader Kamal Nath.

In the neighbouring Rajasthan that has traditionally voted alternately for the two parties, the saffron party was ahead in 111 seats, well over the halfway mark, the Congress had leads in 72. Voting was held in 199 seats as polling in one was put off due to the death of a candidate.

The Congress was helmed by Ashok Gehlot in the state but the BJP, interestingly, has no chief ministerial face. On when the name of the new chief minister of Rajasthan will be decided, Joshi said it would happen "very soon and smoothly".

Taking a swipe at Gehlot, born into a family of magicians, Union minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat said the 'magic' has ended and people have voted for the honour of women and for the welfare of the poor.

“The way we are moving towards a huge majority in the states of Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh, it is clear that the people trust Modi's guarantee and have rejected the Congress' gimmicks (nautanki). Modi magic is the real magic and every other magician has failed,” added BJP spokesperson Shehzad Poonawalla.


While the trends were clear in the other two states, many Congress workers still held out hope that the party would retain power in Chhattisgarh.

But it looked increasingly difficult. The day began with both parties neck and neck but as counting continued, the BJP consolidated its lead and was ahead in 53 seats and the Congress in 36 in the 90-member house.

The proverbial silver lining in the dark cloud for the Congress, hoping desperately for political revival, was Telangana where it was poised to snatch power from the BRS.

The Congress was ahead in 64 seats, leaving the BRS with leads in 40 seats in the 119-member house.

While BRS leaders went into a huddle over reasons for the looming defeat, the day belonged to party Congress chief Revanth Reddy, who could well be the next chief minister.

Counting began at 8.00 am amid tight security and huge anticipation in the four states. Votes in the fifth state which went to the polls, Mizoram, will be counted on Monday, 4 December.

A three-tier security arrangement has been put in place and only people holding valid passes will be allowed to enter the counting centres, election officials said.

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