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Assembly Elections – BJP is down, but still formidable; Congress victory not emphatic; Non-Hindi states opting for Regional Parties

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The outcome of the Assembly elections for the five states has made it abundantly clear that the electorate is pining for a change. Though the BJP’s appeal is on the decline, the Congress is not yet capable of filling the void. The BJP is certainly down, but very much a virile contender for power and fully competent of giving the Congress a run for its money. Here we present the scenario post-Assembly elections in the five states:

Total seats 119

Telangana Rashtriya
Samithi (TRS) 88
Indian National
Congress (INC) 19
Majlis e Ittihadul Muslimeen(MIM) 07
BJP 01
Telugu Desam Party
(TDP) 01
Others 02

Madhya Pradesh
Total seats: 230

Party Won in 2018 Won in 2013
Congress: 114 58 BJP: 109 165
BSP: 2 4
Others: 4 3
Total Seats; 200
Elections held: 199

Party Won in 2018 Won in 2013
Congress: 99 21
BJP: 73 163
BSP: 6 3
Others: 20 13

Total Seats; 90

Party Won in 2018 Won in 2013
Congress: 68 39
BJP: 15 49
BSP: 7 1
Others: 0 1

Total Seats: 40

Party Won in 2018 Won in 2013
MNF: 26 5
Congress: 5 34
BJP: 1 0
Others: 8 1
MNF = Mizo National Front

BJP’s shrinking vote-share in Hindi Belt
State 2018 2013 Vote swing against BJP
Madhya Pradesh
41% 44.88% -3.88%
33% 41% -8%
38.8% 45.2% -6.40%

Declining Victory Margins
37 seats in three states of the Hindi heartland saw victory margin of less than 2,000 votes.
In Madhya Pradesh 17 candidates won with a margin of less than 2,000 votes, in Rajasthan there were 16 such narrow victories, while in Chhattisgarh, four candidates just about made it to the winning line.
Gwalior South Assembly seat recorded the narrowest victory margin in the Hindi belt states, where Congress candidate Praveen Pathak defeated incumbent Narayan Singh Kushwah of the BJP by just 121 votes.
In Mizoram, MNF candidate in Tuivawl won by only three votes. Nine candidates won by a margin of less than 500 votes.

Women MLAs Decline
There are just 62 women among the 678 members of legislative assembly elected in the 2018 state elections, according to dataandnbsp;compiled by the Association for Democratic Reformsandnbsp;and theandnbsp;Election Commission of India. They thus make up only 9% of the elected MLAs. In 2013, 77 women, 11% of the total MLAs elected in these states, were women.
Only in one state, Chhattisgarh, has there been an increase in the proportion of female MLAs, even though more female candidates contested elections across all five states than the last time.
Mizoram will continue to have zero female representation in its state Assembly. Women comprise 49% of the State’s population of one million-plus people.

Key Takeaways
The first major pointer emerging out of the Assembly polls in the five states is that the BJP’s hold on the Hindi states has been weakened and repetition of the 2014 performance cannot be taken for granted. In the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, the BJP had garnered 62 of the 65 LS seats from the three Hindi states. It is now on unsure ground.
In the two major states of Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, the Congress has fallen short of majority. The BJP remains a major player in both key states of the Hindi belt. The defeat for the BJP, particularly in Rajasthan, has not been as bad as it was being projected. It terms of votes, the BJP has 0.1% more votes than the total secured by the Congress.
The Congress has shown only signs of recovery. Its victory margin in narrow, and unless it sheds its arrogance in spurning alliances with smaller parties such as BSP, it may not achieve a comfortable victory in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
In Chhattisgarh, it has been a runaway victory for the Congress, where it has garnered two-thirds majority, despite there being an alliance between BSP and Ajit Jogi’s Janata Congress, which together secured 11% votes.
Had there been an alliance of Congress with BSP (which secured 5% votes) in Madhya Pradesh, the two parties together would have secured 143 seats in 230-member house.
In Telangana, the Congress-TDP alliance did not yield any dividends. Rather, the Congress bore the brunt of allying with a party which was opposed to the creation of the state.
In Mizoram, the Congress has lost out badly against its regional rival while the BJP does not seem to be in the reckoning at all in this northeastern state.
Significant Features: In Madhya Pradesh, the BJP received 47,817 more votes than the total votes polled by the Congress although the latter was able to win more seats.
In Rajasthan, 27 members have won from parties other than Congress or the BJP. These include two from the Communist Party of India (CPI); the newly formed Rashtriya Lok Tantrik Party (RLTP) won three; and the BSP six. They together polled 18% votes.

Important losses:
Madhya Pradesh: 13 cabinet ministers lost; Rajasthan: 13 of the 19 ministers of the outgoing Vasundhara Raje govt lost; Chhattisgarh: six ministers of the outgoing Raman Singh govt lost;

NOTA-using voters:
Madhya Pradesh 5.42 lakh;

Crorepati MLAs
158 or 79% MLAs in Rajasthan are crorepatis. Jump from 73% in 2013.
106 or 89% MLAs in Telangana are crorepatis. Jump from 70% in 2013.
36 or 90% MLAs in Mizoram are crorepatis. Jump from 75% in 2013.
(Source: Association of Democratic Rights)