The Congress' 2018 election win broke a streak of three successive wins for the BJP (File).
The BJP has claimed a massive win in the Madhya Pradesh Assembly election. This is despite exit polls predicting a tight race; some even gave the Congress an outside chance at ousting the BJP from a state it has dominated since 2003. At 6.25 pm the BJP had won, or was leading in, 163 seats - over double the Congress' 66. These numbers represent a staggering gain of 57 seats for the BJP and an equally staggering loss of 52 for the Congress, relative to the 2018 results.
READ | The Scindia Factor: How BJP Crushed Congress To Win Madhya Pradesh
Among the heavyweights in the fray, Chief Minister Shivraj Chouhan has won from his Budhni stronghold and his predecessor, the Congress' Kamal Nath, was ahead in his bastion of Chhindwara.
Speaking after BJP win became clear, Prime Minister Narendra Modi thanked voters and said the results indicated the people of India had chosen "politics of good governance and development".
READ | "Indians Firmly With Politics Of Good Governance": PM On BJP's Big Wins
Earlier in the day, Mr Chouhan also spoke and praised the party's 'double engine' approach.
"The reason for this (win for the BJP) is the double-engine government and the welfare schemes. These touched the hearts of voters... we will win with a comfortable majority."
Earlier today Kamal Nath had declared himself "very confident" of a Congress win.
READ | "Have Not Seen Trends, Don't Need To...": Kamal Nath
On Thursday too he played down exit polls' prediction. In a post on X (formerly Twitter) he said, "I want to remind all Congress workers of their strength... it is because of your hard work and dedication the public has voted overwhelmingly... public will put a stamp on the Congress government."
READ | "Country Runs By Vision, Not Television": Kamal Nath After Exit Polls
However, Shivraj Chouhan was confident the BJP would return to power and form the government for a fifth time. This morning he said the party would retain power with a commanding majority.
"... I am confident that with the blessings of the people and the able leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the BJP will form government again with a full majority," Mr Chouhan said on X.
READ | Full Majority In Madhya Pradesh With PM's Blessing: Shivraj Chouhan
Union Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia - whose walk-out of the Congress in 2020 brought down the Kamal Nath government - said he too was confident the people would put their faith in the BJP.
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"We will wait till the complete results are in. We will form government with complete majority. The people's faith in PM and the welfare schemes are the reasons for such a mandate."
What Did Exit Polls Say?
The exit polls predicted a tight BJP vs Congress race, with the odds, perhaps, in favour of the former.
READ | In Battle For Madhya Pradesh, Congress Out For 'Revenge', BJP Plots 5th Win
Four of nine gave the BJP a comfortable win; three gave it over 139 of the Assembly's 230 seats.
Madhya Pradesh has been a BJP stronghold - the party has won three of the past four elections - since Digvijaya Singh led the Congress to back-to-back wins in 1993 and 1998.
Those wins were the last time the Congress defended a state.
The Congress had said it was confident it could upset the BJP's apple cart this time and its plans for next year's Lok Sabha election. The exit polls, however, disagreed. Only four predicted they might win
Even then, in each case the BJP was within striking distance in a state they have dominated.
With input from agencies
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