Months before the Assembly polls in Madhya Pradesh, Congress leaders in the state believe that the BJP’s election machinery is stronger and poses a challenge in the state. Moreover, as the elections come closer, the saffron camp is expected to ramp up its political ammunition to counter the Congress.
Yet, there is a strong sense, among the party leaders, that the Congress will win the elections. Congress leaders believe that their electoral standing in the state is better than the BJP even if they have a well-oiled election machinery. Moreover, to improve its poll prospects against the saffron party, the Congress has repeatedly warned the sitting MLAs who have not been active on the ground and also not been responding to the needs of the public. Party insiders suggest that there were around 35 sitting MLAs out of the 96 who were in red zone eight months back and needed headway changes in their functioning.
By the way the party is functioning, there is a relief within the cadre knowing that due political processes in the state will culminate rapidly as Kamal Nath is himself a power centre with the state leadership calling him a “mini high command”. A party leader said, “There is full faith in Kamal Nath among the party’s rank and file as they believe that Nath knows the state politics and has been able to keep the party in his grip.
Moreover, there is another important element in the state that works in favour of Congress, which is Kamal Nath is himself a mini high command and there is not much interference from other leaders. So, the party leaders are not confused. They are aware that they have to receive order from this person and have to be accountable to him only. The unity of command eventually helps the hierarchical process to function smoothly.”
However, Congress Madhya Pradesh spokesperson Mithun Singh Ahirwar told The Sunday Guardian, “No it is not challenging. We have already seen this machinery in 2018 and it had failed terribly; so the same machinery has been deployed now. They need an updated machinery for 2028 elections because we are winning the 2023 elections.”
In the 2018 Assembly elections, BJP had scored 109 out of 230 Assembly seats, whereas the grand old party was just 2 short of the majority at 114. Later, the Jyotiraditya Scindia camp had defected from the Congress and joined BJP helping the saffron camp form the government. A political analyst in the state said, “The BJP is ever ready to contest elections. And they are always serious about it. Their booth committees are strong and their preparations have kicked in. Though the election trend is in favour of Congress and there seems to be a strong mood among people to the change the incumbent government. Yet the saffron camp won’t let the state go so easily. They will definitely try to consolidate their vote share by aggressive campaigning. Like we saw in the Karnataka Assembly elections where the BJP was able to retain its 36% vote share, they only lost 0.36% in the process. They will try to replicate the same formula in Madhya Pradesh.”