Kolkata: The mandate of four state assembly elections is out. With Congress losing in two states—Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh where they were in power, winning in Telangana and could not win Madhya Pradesh made the Grand Old Party’s fight for the 2024 General Election a tight one, and the advantage they had after the Karnataka assembly win seems gone.
Election results in four states
In the largest state of India, Rajasthan, where the Bharatiya Janata Party seems to be getting a comfortable majority, Congress could not break the jinx that the ruling party would never return to power in this state. But, Congress lost the opportunity of defeating the saffron brigade which had no declared chief ministerial face. Ashok Gehlot’s government had also done some welfare work. However political observers believe that the Gehlot government’s major policy decisions came late and could not benefit common men. There were also communal flare-ups from time to time in the state but the Congress government could not contain it. While Gehlot had a free hand in ticket distribution, there was also visible infighting between him and Sachin Pilot for almost five years. Additionally, Rahul and Priyanka Gandhi only campaigned for the assembly poll at the last stage. While Gehlot had a free hand in ticket distribution, it was also said that he did not distribute it to the right candidates.
In the heart of India—Madhya Pradesh, where there was huge anti-incumbency, Congress did not cash the situation. Kamal Nath, the party’s CM candidate, had a free hand in choosing candidates, but some of his selections proved to be detrimental. Kamal Nath did soft Hindutva and not only visited many temples during his campaigning, but he also called controversial baba, Dhirendra Shashtri to his constituency. He also gave interviews to Godi Media anchors, against whom the Congress party had boycotted and decided not to send spokespersons to their studios. Congress gave only two tickets to Muslims and did not field a Muslim from the Burhanpur seat, where minority voters are a decisive factor. Both Muslim candidates, Arif Masood and Atif Aqueel, won from their respective seats, Burhanpur’s Congress candidate Thakur Surendra Singh lost to the BJP by over 31,000 votes.
Kamal Nath also did not do an extensive campaigning like Shivraj Singh Chouhan did.
Chhattisgarh, where Congress had come to power after 15 years of BJP rule, its loss is more shocking than in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh. Here Congress CM Bhupesh Baghel was claiming it as a model state. Baghel did all to lure Hindu voters and throughout his five years of tenure, he always tried that he should not be seen as a leader who stands for minority rights, whether for Christians or Muslims. In one incident, in which both Hindus and Muslims were killed, he compensated the families of Hindu and not Muslim victims. Baghel also brought back an IPS officer, who was controversial during the BJP regime and civil society did not like the Congress government’s decision.
Telangana remains the only state where the BJP was not in a direct fight with Congress. Here, BRS, who completed two terms, had leaders seen as corrupt, and Congress became the alternative to the people here.
Impact on INDIA formation and the 2024 General Election
Losing in two states where Congress was in power is going to weaken the position of the party in the INDIA bloc, as TMC, SP, and AAP were already having issues with Congress on seat sharing. Now, they will not make any compromise. There was also a demand to declare a convener of the INDIA bloc, but it was not finalised.
Besides well-thought-out seat sharing, the INDIA block and its leaders have to think about how they can counter BJP’s propaganda and match the hard work of its leaders during campaigning to get the results of the Lok Sabha Election in 2024, in their favour.
On December 6, INDIA’s parties will meet to decide future course of action.