Assembly Election Results 2023: Madhya Pradesh involves a big prestige fight between the Congress, BJP.
In four Assembly elections that are being seen as a semi-final to the 2024 general election, the BJP has walked home with wins in three states. The Congress must find consolation in one win in the South.
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After the BJP won comfortably in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the results point to the party doing well in the 2024 Lok Sabha polls as well. "Some people are saying this hat trick has guaranteed the 2024 victory. Today's mandate proves people have zero-tolerance towards corruption, appeasement and dynastic politics," the PM said in an address to party workers.
Madhya Pradesh, which was expected to see a close contest, was a clean sweep with the BJP scoring a huge victory over the Congress. The Madhya Pradesh results will hugely disappoint Congress, which had thrown its weight behind former Chief Minister Kamal Nath and given him a free hand, hoping for a victory.
In fact, posters proclaiming Mr Nath's victory had come up even before the counting began this morning. Speaking to the media this morning, Mr Nath said he was sure of a Congress win, adding that he had not seen the trends and neither did he want to.
In Rajasthan, the Congress's fears of infighting scuttling its prospects have come true. Despite the party's attempts to show a united front, the power tussle between the Ashok Gehlot and Sachin Pilot camps appears to have hit the party's chances.
Eastern Rajasthan, which comprises several Gujjar-dominated areas, has slipped from the Congress's control and added to the BJP tally. The party has also made considerable gains in the west.
Chief Minister Gehlot has accepted the mandate and described it as "unexpected". "This defeat shows we were not completely successful in taking our policies, laws and new practices to the people," he said.
The results in Rajasthan are in line with exit poll predictions of a BJP victory. The numbers also continue the state's trend of not re-electing the incumbent party.
The BJP has sprung a surprise in Chhattisgarh. All exit polls had predicted a Congress victory in the tribal-dominated state. The day started with the Congress leading, but the BJP kept narrowing the gap and took a massive lead as the counting progressed.
The Congress will seek some consolation in Telangana, where it has scored a victory over the ruling Bharat Rashtra Samithi, which had been ruling the southern state ever since it was carved out of Andhra Pradesh in 2014.
State Congress chief Revanth Reddy is being credited with playing a key role in the party's victory. Appointed to the top post in 2021, Mr Reddy led from the front and the Congress high command's complete backing for him has paid off.