Tough battle lies ahead for BJP in Madhya Pradesh

Ruling BJP faces myriad of issues ahead of MP assembly election; it is banking on PM Modi’s charisma to avoid another heartbreak

| Updated: 28 June, 2023 8:49 pm IST
Anti incumbency and corruption charges are weighing down the BJP 

NEW DELHI: After days of international engagements, Prime minister Narendra Modi is back in the domestic arena as he sets the tone for the upcoming Madhya Pradesh assembly election that is scheduled to be held later this year.

With strong words, promises, and attacks on the opposition, PM Modi’s speech has it all, which makes him one of the best orators that the country has seen.

However, even PM Modi’s energetic words were not enough to shroud the fact that the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is facing a tough battle in the key state.

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Known for its meticulous planning, the BJP seems to be aware of the situation. The party is ready to shed some of its colours as they plan to launch a major push to woo Muslims – a section, if not all.

From highlighting the real benefits of the Universal Civil Code (UCC) to abolishing triple talaq to woo the Pasmanda Muslims, the party is leaving no stone unturned in the state where Muslims constitute 6.75 per cent of the population, as per the 2011 census.

Congress appeared to be aware of how communal politics had entered the state, which largely remained unaffected even during the Babri Masjid riots.

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The Grand Old Party, which was often referred to as anti-Hindu, aligned itself with the Madhya Pradesh Bajrang Sena, a lesser-known outfit but one that is said to be campaigning for Yogi Adityanath in UP and holding agitations for Ram Janmabhoomi. Sources also said that there is a subtle attempt to portray one of Congress’ key leaders in the state, Kamal Nath, as a Hanuman bhakt.

While the rise of communal politics may be one of the reasons for the BJP to worry, they also have bigger worries, including the anti-incumbency and corruption charges against the incumbent Shivraj Chouhan-led government.

Last year, in October, multiple surveys conducted by the BJP and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) were discussed during a meeting of the BJP leaders. It was clear in the meeting that corruption is going to be an Achilles Heel for the party.

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Sources in the party told The New Indian that the magic number of 116 in the 230-seat assembly is a distant dream. The surveys pegged the BJP at 60-70 seats.

After 16 years at helm, Shivraj Chouhan might be the longest-serving CM in the state. But there appears to be voter fatigue.

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The inclusion of Jyotiraditya Scindia and his supporters, from Congress, might have brought the BJP back to power in 2020, but it also gave the party a big headache. It has been learned that many BJP leaders have made it clear that there is a chance of revolt if 22 MLAs, who jumped ship with Scindia, were given seats during the distribution of seats.

While PM Modi was in Bhopal to flag off five Vande Bharat Express trains, the fact that the BJP is once again banking on the charisma of its tallest leader to help them tide over the tricky situation in Madhya Pradesh.

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