BJP displays Gujarat-like infallibility in MP win
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has won 163 of 230 assembly constituencies (AC) in Madhya Pradesh with a vote share of 48
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has won 163 of 230 assembly constituencies (AC) in Madhya Pradesh with a vote share of 48.6% against Congress’s 66 wins with a 40.4% vote share. While the seat tally of the BJP in the current round of elections in the state is in line with its past performance, its vote share suggests unprecedented support for the party in the state.
In fact, if the 2023 result in Madhya Pradesh is read with the BJP’s long-term vote share in the state, it appears that the party could turn the state into a stronghold like Gujarat if it is able to consistently convert support for the party into seat share. This is because, barring the 2018 election, it has consistently won the state since 2003. Even after losing the state to the Congress in 2018, it was close enough to the majority mark to be able to form a government in the state in 2020 after members of the Congress deserted the party for the BJP.
To assess the BJP’s 2023 victory, HT generated the result for Madhya Pradesh going back to 1977 excluding the ACs that became part of Chhattisgarh. This shows that the BJP’s seat share in 2023 (70.9%) is ranked only seventh since 1977. However, its vote share is the second highest for a winning party since 1977. The Janata Party (JNP) won just a marginally higher 49.1% vote share in the state in 1977.
To be sure, it is possible for a party to poll a very high vote share even if it wins big in a few seats where a large share of the state’s voters are concentrated. However, this is not the case with the BJP’s 2023 victory. Even its median vote share — it is the middle value of vote shares are arranged from lowest to highest across ACs — is the highest since 1990. The BJP itself had a median vote share of 49.01% in 1990. The highest median vote share in the state (for a winning party) is 51.1%, won by the JNP in 1977.
See Chart 1
Another statistic that highlights the BJP’s success in Madhya Pradesh is its victory margin. Its median victory margin across the ACs it has won is 12.1%. This is the highest for the single largest party in the state after 2003 when the BJP had won with a median victory margin of 13.6%.
See Chart 2
These statistics suggest that Madhya Pradesh is turning into another stronghold of the BJP like Gujarat. Here is why. With the brief interruption of around 15 months starting December 2018, the BJP has ruled Madhya Pradesh consistently since 2003. This means that the party will be ruling the state for almost the fifth consecutive time, a feat it has been able to achieve only in Gujarat. With the exception of the 2008 election, the party has polled at least 40% vote share in the state consistently since 2003. The BJP has had this kind of consistent support also only in Gujarat. To be sure, the BJP has also polled 40% vote share in Himachal Pradesh consistently since 2007 with the exception of one election (2012), but it has been in government in Himachal Pradesh only every other election. Taken together, these numbers mean that Madhya Pradesh is turning into another state where the BJP not only wins consistently, but also does so with a high vote share.
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