Bhopal: A couple of hours after counting began and results started trickling in, it became increasingly clear that the BJP is on way to beating even exit poll predictions in Madhya Pradesh. The BJP juggernaut has pulverized Congress candidates, including stalwarts like senior party leader Digvijaya Singh, Jyotiraditya Scindia, who had not tasted defeat in their political career. With the exception of Nakul Nath, the son of Chief Minister Kamal Nath, who took the plunge in electoral politics from Chhindwara seat, all other prominent Congress leaders were routed this time. BJP won 28 out of a total of 29 seats.
The lead of first-timer like Shankar Lalwani - more than 5 lakh -, who contested on the BJP ticket from Indore against rival Pankaj Sanghvi shows the ruling Congress failed to read the mood in the state. Or, to put it in other words: The pull of Modi magic. BJP leader Sumitra Mahajan had won this seat for eight times from 1989.
Even as media experts are racking their brains over what could have led to a dismal show of the grand old party in the state, some voters said a couple of factors, including Congress leaders’ questioning authenticity of claims about surgical strikes on terror camps in Pakistan proved the undoing of the party. “BJP victory march across the country is a downright rejection of Congress leaders questioning Indian forces destroying terror camps in Pakistan,” they say.
A senior journalist sums up the scene saying, “Nationalism worked. In Modi, voters saw a capable leader who could deliver on that count.”
A veteran journalist said emotion outweighed reason in this election.
But talk to people in districts where Congress looked well entrenched, it emerges that the ruling party despite starting out well after victory in the assembly polls in late 2018 squandered a good opportunity. The Congress failed to convey it delivered on loan waiver scheme as it promised. This counts a lot in the state where agriculture is the mainstay of the economy. Coupled with this, the party proved no match to strong organizational network of the saffron party, which succeeded in projecting an image of Narendra Modi as a doer and that he takes care of most sections of the society through welfare schemes.
Former chief minister and senior BJP leader Shivraj Singh Chouhan without taking names summed up the poor show of the party saying, “Here raja has lost, there maharaja has lost. The reference was obviously to Digvijaya Singh and Jyotiraditya Scindia. “Voters punished Congress with interest. Congress failed to see the ground reality,” he said.
BJP state chief Rakesh Singh said Kamal Nath should resign keeping voters’ sentiments in mind. This election was fought on prakhar rashtrawad (nationalism). Voters rejected four months of bad governance of the Kamal Nath government in the state. Voters blessed nationalism.
Digvijaya Singh lost to Malegaon bomb blast accused Pragya Thakur by around 3 lakh votes from Bhopal Lok Sabha seat and Jyotiraditya by more than one lakh votes from Guna seat. It is the first time when a defeat looks real for any member of Scindia family from this seat. Jyotiraditya Scindia’s father Madhavrao and his grandmother Rajmata Vijyaraje Scindia never lost election from this seat. Jyotiraditya, who had won this seat in 2002 by-poll, had not lost this seat in three Lok Sabha polls from 2004 to 2014.
Other Congress biggies who lost included former Union minister and tribal leader Kantilal Bhuria, Ajay Singh, former Leader of Opposition and the son of Arjun Singh from Sidhi. Famous lawyer Vivek Tankha, who was pitted against the BJP state chief Rakesh Singh from Jabalpur seat, also lost by over 2 lakh votes.
BJP spokesman Rajneesh Agrawal said, “Credit goes to leadership of Narendra Modi and hard work of party organization. Women, farmers and youngster were angry. They gave their answer.”