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Congress re-emerges in Hindi heartland

Congress re-emerges in Hindi heartland
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BJP loses vote share big time, faces tumult

New Delhi: In what could prove to be a game changer for the right wing BJP, the Congress has emerged as a force to reckon with months ahead of the 2019 parliamentary elections.
The Congress which emerged victorious in the three major states comprising the hindi heartland are all set to form the government in Chattisgarh, Rajasthan and may even cross the road in Madhya Pradesh.
With Congress’s emergence, the BJP suffered losses in three key states and lost its vote share which took a sharp dip in Chattisgarh, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh since the last assembly elections in 2013. However, all these votes do not seem to have gone to the Congress alone as other players have also reaped the gains.
The vote share loss is even bigger for the saffron party since the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, in which it had virtually swept all the three states by winning 62 out of 65 seats, as per the Election Commission data.
In Telanagana and Mizoram, it is the regional parties who have come out with flying colours, a post-2014 trend clearly visible in many states with sizeable presence of non-BJP and non-Congress parties.
Political pundits said this trend indicates that the regional satraps might play key roles in 2019 general elections for which attempts are already underway by non-BJP parties to put a united front against Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s bid for a second term.
For Chattisgarh, the latest data showed the Congress getting 43.2 per cent votes in this elections, up from 40.3 per cent in the 2013 state polls and 38.37 per cent in the 2014 general elections, where the party won only one out of 11 Lok Sabha seats in the state.
In comparison, the BJP’s loss has been wider with its vote share dipping from 41 per cent in 2013 to 32.9 per cent now. In 2014 general elections, the party had got nearly 49 per cent vote and 10 out of the 11 Lok Sabha seats.
The voting share analysis shows that some smaller parties and independents have managed to get more votes. While BSP had got 4.3 per cent in 2013, its alliance with former chief minister Ajit Jogi’s party has now got about 10.7 per cent votes.
Independents have also improved their performance from 5.3 per cent to 6.3 per cent.
Similar trend was visible in Rajasthan where BJP’s votes have fallen from 45.2 per cent in 2013 to 38.8 per cent now. It was much higher at nearly 55 per cent in 2014, when the party won all 25 Lok Sabha seats from the state.
On the other hand, the Congress has improved its vote share from 33.1 per cent in 2013 to 39.2 per cent in 2018. It had managed to get nearly 30 per cent votes despite losing on all seats in last parliamentary elections.
Independents have improved their assembly tally from 8.2 per cent to 9.5 per cent, while bagging larger number of seats.
The vote share situation is the most interesting in Madhya Pradesh, which saw the closest fight between the Congress and the BJP. The Congress’ share has improved from 36.4 per cent in 2013 to 41.4 per cent in 2018 assembly polls, while that of the BJP has come down from 44.9 per cent to 41.3 per cent, as per the latest update.
The BSP’s share here has actually fallen to 4.6 per cent, while that of the independents has remained nearly same at over 5 per cent. However, some other smaller parties have made gains.
In Telangana, the TRS is returning to power with a bigger mandate and a rise in its vote share from nearly 34 per cent last time to about 47 per cent. The Congress has also improved from 25.2 per cent to 28.7 per cent, though its newly-found ally TDP, which was earlier with BJP, has taken a beating.
BJP’s vote share has remained almost static at about 7 per cent since last assembly elections in 2014. However, its vote share has come down from 10.4 per cent in 2014 Lok Sabha polls.
Mizoram is the only state where the Congress has lost its vote share and the BJP has gained. However, the winner there is a third player, the Mizo National Front, which has returned to power with a clear majority by ousting the only Congress government left in the North-East.
The Congress vote share has come down from nearly 45 per cent in 2013 to just about 30 per cent, while that of BJP has risen five-fold from 0.4 per cent to 8 per cent.
The MNF has improved from 28.8 per cent to 37.6 per cent, while its seat tally has risen from five to 26. The Congress seats have come down from 34 to five, while the BJP has won its maiden assembly seat in the state.
While the vote share data for 2018 polls was still being updated by the poll panel, the final figures are expected to remain around these levels.

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