BJP leading in Hindi heartland states, Congress set to wrest power in Telangana
BJP president Jagat Prakash Nadda credited political strategy and work on the ground for the party’s performance as it hopes to retain power at the Centre
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was leading in Hindi heartland states of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, and Chhattisgarh, and Congress appeared set to wrest power in the southern state of Telangana, months before the national poll is due by May.
BJP president Jagat Prakash Nadda credited political strategy and work on the ground for the party’s performance as it hopes to retain power at the Centre even as the Congress is set to contest the national polls as part of the 28-party Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance (INDIA). The four states send 82 representatives to the Lok Sabha and the election results are expected to impact seat-sharing negotiations within the INDIA bloc.
In Chhattisgarh, the BJP was leading on 55 of 90 seats while the Congress on 32 and others two. The contest was expected to be more evenly poised in the state, where the Congress swept the polls in 2018. Five exit polls predicted a close fight with the Congress ahead. Three others forecast that chief minister Bhupesh Baghel was comfortably set for a second straight term. The Congress campaigned on its paddy procurement scheme and welfare programmes.
The BJP was leading on 161 of 230 seats in Madhya Pradesh. The Congress was ahead on 66 and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) two. The BJP has ruled Madhya Pradesh, the largest of the states to go to the polls, for 18 of the last 20 years. It was in a head-to-head battle with the Congress in the state as the Congress hoped to cash in on anti-incumbency to return to power. A majority of exit polls predicted an intense contest between the BJP and the Congress. Two gave the edge to the Congress and one to the BJP. IndiaToday-AxisMyIndia and Today’s Chanakya-News 24 surveys predicted a sweep for the BJP.
The BJP fielded ministers and parliamentarians in addition to focussing on its welfare outreach. The Congress focussed on anti-incumbency and corruption allegations against Chouhan.
In Rajasthan, the BJP was ahead on 112 of 199 constituencies while the Congress on 71, independents eight and BSP two, in line with the trend of voting out the incumbent every five years. Chief minister Ashok Gehlot expected to put up a tough battle on the back of welfare and cash transfer schemes. A majority of exit polls predicted that the BJP was coming back to power. But IndiaToday-AxisMyIndia and Today’s Chanakya-News 24 predicted that Congress was marginally ahead.
The Congress was leading on 63 of 119 constituencies in Telangana as it appeared set to wrest power from Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS), which was ahead on 41 seats and BJP eight.
A resurgent Congress was ahead across Telangana, barring the Hyderabad urban region. In the 2018 elections, the Telangana Rashtra Samithi, the earlier avatar of BRS, bagged 88 seats while the Congress managed to win only 19 seats. The BJP won just one seat.
Every exit poll predicted that the Congress, which was in power at the Centre when Telangana was created in 2014, was set to replace the BRS in the only southern state that went to the polls in this round. BRS has ruled the state since its inception. Four exit polls said the Congress would get a simple majority of its own. Others predicted that it would likely emerge as the single-largest party.
The Congress was decimated in the 2018 polls and ended up around 20 percentage points in vote share behind the BRS. It ran the 2023 campaign under its state unit chief Revanth Reddy who targeted the BRS over corruption and anti-incumbency.
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