Gehlot tried but state’s political tradition remains too strong | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Gehlot tried but state’s political tradition remains too strong

By, Jaipur/bhopal
Dec 04, 2023 07:54 AM IST

Madhya Pradesh CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan's welfare schemes helped BJP win 163 seats, while Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot's similar plans didn't work for Congress. BJP had a strong ground structure and was able to use anti-incumbency against Congress, while Congress's ground campaign in MP was weak. PM Modi's credibility and timely delivery of benefits also worked in BJP's favor in MP. No such transfers were made in Rajasthan. Gehlot's welfare schemes prevented a landslide win for BJP in Rajasthan. BJP won 115 seats in Rajasthan and 163 seats in MP, while Congress won 70 seats in Rajasthan and 66 seats in MP.

The welfare schemes championed by Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan seemed to work for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the state, with the party winning in 163seats, but a similar welfarism plan promoted by Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot did not reap the same benefits for Congress in the state, where the party conceded defeat after assembly election results were declared on Sunday.

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A deeper look at the ground situation points to two key reasons for the disparity in the outcomes.

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First, the BJP had a strong ground structure to counter anti-incumbency against its sitting MLAs in Madhya Pradesh, which was absent in Rajasthan. Rajasthan usually votes out the incumbent every five years. Second, while BJP was able to utilise the anti-incumbency against Congress MLA’s in Rajasthan, the Congress’s ground in campaign in MP was not strong enough to do the same in the state where BJP has been in power for 18 of the last 20 years.

Additionally, experts said, the credibility of Prime Minister Narendra Modi among the public was an added factor that worked in the BJP’s favour, which the Congress was not able to counter.

“Guarantee PM Modi worked well in MP. In every speech, Modi successfully convinced the voters that double engine government can do wonders in MP and the voters will get priority in all the schemes,” political expert from MP, Girija Shankar said.

The delivery of benefits under the Ladli Behna and Kisan Nidhi schemes was also timed well by the by Chouhan-led BJP government in Madhya Pradesh. Under the Ladli scheme, each woman in the state received 1,250, while farmers were given 6,000 for an acre of land under the Kisan scheme.

According to a senior MP BJP leader, who declined to be named, the benefits were directly transferred into the accounts of the beneficiaries in early November, just days before polling was held on November 17.

“We wanted to remind the people that the BJP delivers money directly into their bank accounts,” a senior BJP leader in MP said.

That was not a case in Rajasthan, where no such transfers were made in the days leading up to the polls. The state went to polls on November 25. “Most of the state government schemes were running for months and there was no direct transfer in month of November,” a senior Congress leader in Rajasthan, on condition of anonymity, said.

However, the Congress leader said that it was because of Gehlot’s welfare schemes that the party was able to win a respectable 70 seats, as compared to 2013 when it only secured 21 seats.

“The schemes prevented a landslide win for BJP in the state,” he said.

The BJP won Rajasthan with 115 seats of the 199 assembly seats, for which the votes were counted on Sunday, while the Congress only secured 70 seats. In Madhya Pradesh, the BJP was leading with 163 seats of the 230 seats. The Congress only won 66 seats.

Political analyst Narayan Bareth said the BJP had a better and more effective election machinery in Rajasthan as compared to Congress in Madhya Pradesh. “And, therefore, the BJP was effective taking benefit of the anti-incumbency and counter Gehlot’s welfare schemes through narrative of change in government every five years,” he said.

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