BHOPAL – The BJP’s recent loss in two assembly elections — Himachal Pradesh and Karnataka — has given rise to speculation on whether the Congress can come back to power at the Centre in 2024 like in 2004? As the Congress won these two elections after its leader Rahul Gandhi’s “Bharat Jodo Yatra”, which covered 14 states and over 3,800 km was over, it was obviously going to create a buzz.
A question gaining momentum is what if the BJP loses the upcoming assembly elections in three Hindi speaking states — Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan. Out of these three, the BJP is in power only in Madhya Pradesh, while the Congress is ruling in Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan.
Madhya Pradesh based political analysts IANS spoke to were of the view that Karnataka’s outcome may not have much impact on the Lok Sabha elections, but it has given the impression that the opposition has strongly planted their feet on the battle ground for the general elections in 2024.
In Madhya Pradesh the Congress as of now seems in a better position against the ruling BJP, mostly because of the huge anti-incumbency against Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan’s government of nearly two decades. The BJP is also striving hard to remain in power, and at the same time, it has also started preparing for the Lok Sabha elections.
Replying to an IANS query on this subject, former Chief Minister and Madhya Pradesh Congress president Kamal Nath in a statement said currently he was completely focused on the assembly elections due later this year and maintained that the party will form the government with a full majority. However, he stated that the Congress will win the maximum number of Lok Sabha seats in Madhya Pradesh.
“See, right now we are fully focusing on upcoming assembly elections which are just a few months away. People of Madhya Pradesh are fed up with corruption and anarchism of the BJP government. As of now, I can’t make any assessment about the number of Lok Sabha seats the Congress will win in 2024, but yes, I am confident that we will win the maximum number of seats,” Nath added.
In the Lok Sabha elections in 2019, the BJP had won 28 out of the total 29 seats in Madhya Pradesh. The Congress had managed to save only Chhindwara, where Kamal Nath’s son Nakul Nath could win the election. If it is assumed that the Congress can win the maximum Lok Sabha seats in 2024, it would be pertinent to mention that when the last general election was held in 2019, the Congress was in government in Madhya Pradesh, but it could win just one seat.
Political analyst N. K. Singh talking to IANS said that the position of both the national parties, the BJP and the Congress, is getting clearer by the day. The saffron brigade is not just struggling to tackle anti-incumbency but many more issues also, while the Congress seems in a better position.
“It would be too early to make any assessment regarding the Lok Sabha elections, but it is a fact that the Himachal and now the Karnataka results have made a strong impression on the people. The BJP seems weak, more because there has been no change in the leadership in the state for the last 18 years and now people are getting irritated with the bunch of promises when the elections are just a few months away.”
He mentioned that the people’s perception of Prime Minister Narendra Modi has started changing gradually due to many reasons. “If the Congress wins the assembly elections in Madhya Pradesh, it will increase its number of Lok Sabha seats also in 2024.”
However, Madhya Pradesh BJP President V.D. Sharma, who is also a Lok Sabha MP from Khajuraho, ruled out these perceptions, arguing that the party is in power in 16 states and the loss in just one or two assembly elections will not have any effect. Sharma also asserted that the BJP won the Assembly polls in Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh in the recent past.
He said that those who are predicting that the Congress can pull off 2024 like in 2004, should understand that Prime Minister Narendra Modi is still an unopposed leader in the country.
“PM Modi has been working with commitment for changing the life of the poor people of the country and people have faith in him. Our loss in Karnataka was just a one-off incident, even though the party received more votes than the last elections. Under PM Modi’s leadership, the BJP will retain power in Madhya Pradesh,” Sharma told IANS. -IANS