Madhya Pradesh: Assembly elections
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The results of the Madhya Pradesh assembly elections, 2018
Comparisons with the 2013 assembly elections
The final scoreline may be too close to call, but what’s remarkable is how Congress vote share rocketed. In 2013, Congress (36.38%) had 8.5% less votes than BJP (44.88%).
With an undercurrent of anti-incumbency after 15 years of BJP rule, coupled with Congress chief Rahul Gandhi’s promise of farm loan waiver, it was estimated that Congress would sweep MP with its 70% agrarian vote bank. PCC chief Kamal Nath repeatedly said the party would get nothing less than 140 seats.
later it was clear that though Congress had made tremendous gains in voting percentage and was likely to double its seat count — it may not be in a position to form the government on its own.
In the morning hours, it looked like Congress was slowly taking a lead, gaining one seat at a time as trends starting pouring in. Around 11.30am, the tide swung for BJP, before tilting back to Congress at 3.30pm. For most of the day, the two sides see-sawed in the 100-114 range. At one point, BJP slumped and was leading in only 94 seats, while Congress climbed to 119. Thereafter, the tooth-and-nail fight again came down to the same range of a difference of one to 10 seats.
The state Congress brass — Kamal Nath, Digvijaya Singh, Jyotiraditya Scindia and Vivek Tankha — reached the PCC office after 10:30am where they were welcomed with bursting of crackers, beating of drums and slogan shouting by party workers.
Despite strong antiincumbency against the 15-year old Shivraj Singh Chouhan government, a large number of voters preferred not to go with Congress. This is one of the factors that made the election so uncertain.
Congress managed to nearly double its seats, but its vote share is still a shade lower than BJP’s. Gondwana Gantantra Party and Samajwadi Party, on the other hand, increased their vote share significantly.
SP even ended up winning a seat in this election. The party’s vote share shot up from 0.03% in 2013 to 1.3% this time, and the party secured over 4.96 lakh votes, roughly 10 times the difference between BJP and Congress. There is a meagre difference of 47,827 votes between Congress and BJP in this election.
GGP, whose vote share in the 2013 elections was only 1%, bagged 1.8% votes this time — 6.75 lakh people chose GGP rather than the big parties, roughly 14 times the difference in votes between Congress and BJP. The 2018 election was not only a reality check for BJP, but BSP as well. BJP lost 3.87% of its vote share but BSP, which hoped to make a bigger mark, ended up with a lower vote share and seat tally. It dipped from 6.29% in 2013 to 5% in 2018 and its four seats in 2013 were reduced by half.
Though BJP and BSP lost votes, it wasn’t Congress alone that gained. Votes were diverted to smaller parties like GGP, SP and even new entrants AAP and SAPAKS which got 0.7% and 0.4% votes respectively, thus cumulatively grabbing 1.1% votes.