03 August, 2021

Outlook-Lokniti-CSDS Election Analysis: How Madhya Pradesh Voted

Congress wins by a whisker, through a grind of factors

Laughter, At Last
Jyotiraditya Scindia, Kamal Nath, Digvijaya Singh and other Congress leaders exult after their party’s victory
Photograph by PTI
Outlook-Lokniti-CSDS Election Analysis: How Madhya Pradesh Voted

Badlav and takkar ka chunav were two oft-heard expressions used by many journalists reporting from the state during the run-up to the Madhya Pradesh assembly elections. In the end, when res­­ults were declared on December 11, both turned out to be true—the BJP lost power after 15 years, but not before giving a tough fight, resulting in a nail-biting finish, to the Congress. After spending a decade-and-a-half on the opposition benches, the Con­­­­g­­ress has eked out a narrow vict­ory, winning 114 seats, two short of majority (Table 1).

The return of the Congress in Madhya Pradesh has a very special significance for it, not just because the state had the highest number of assembly seats compared to all other states that went to polls along with it or because of its central geographic location, but also bec­ause it was a classic bi-party competition where third players have often remained distant. An...

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