Shivraj Singh Chouhan said Madhya Pradesh chose pro-incumbency
The BJP has retained power in Madhya Pradesh, breaking any threat of anti-incumbency. Outgoing Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, in an interview with NDTV, said he always knew the people trusted the BJP and saw the development the party has brought to the state.
Mr Chouhan said his government has done such good work for the people that there is no such thing as anti-incumbency against the BJP, only "pro-incumbency".
The BJP won 163 seats in the 230-seat assembly, against the Congress's 66 seats.
"Prime Minister Narendra Modi is in the hearts of the people of Madhya Pradesh. The work done by the double-engine government, whether in the Centre or the state, such as the Ladli scheme, has helped uplift people and improve their lives. All of us have worked hard together," Mr Chouhan told NDTV today.
"I have always said this, and I will say it again, that I never saw any feelings of anti-incumbency among the people. They are pro-incumbency. Some Congress people tried to mislead the people, but people trusted us," the outgoing Chief Minister said.
Mr Chouhan has succeeded in making a point against detractors by spearheading his campaign around his government's schemes, especially Ladli Bahna scheme, and making an emotional connect with voters.
The BJP had chosen to head into the assembly polls without naming a chief ministerial face in any of the states and its leaders asserted that the results underscore the wider support for Prime Minister Narendra Modi's policies.
While Mr Chouhan has emerged as a favourite to remain at the helm in Madhya Pradesh despite the presence of some challengers, the leadership race is wide open in Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan, two states where the BJP has snatched power from the Congress.
Many possible contenders for the top job across the three Hindi-speaking states have not contested the assembly polls, but this may not be a factor as the party has in the past placed its trust in leaders who were not a member of state assemblies, such as Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath in 2017.
With inputs from PTI