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BJP’s Chief Ministerial Gamble: Mixed Results in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan Echo Complex Electoral Realities

Having previously performed well in both states during the general elections, the BJP encountered surprising outcomes in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.

New Delhi: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) embarked on a new strategy by appointing fresh faces as chief ministers of Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan following the party’s victories in the two states in Assembly elections last year. In Rajasthan, the party selected Bhajanlal Sharma, a first-time MLA and a leader belonging to the Brahmin community, while in Madhya Pradesh, it opted for senior leader Mohan Yadav.

Having previously performed well in both states during the general elections, achieving clean sweeps in Rajasthan in 2014 and 2019 and securing a significant number of seats in Madhya Pradesh, the BJP encountered surprising outcomes in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.

While it celebrated a complete victory in Madhya Pradesh, winning all seats for the first time, it faced a setback in Rajasthan, securing only 14 out of 25 seats, with the rest claimed by the Congress and its allies.

Various factors have been cited to explain these divergent outcomes. In Madhya Pradesh, the involvement of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) in election management, the extension of VD Sharma’s tenure as state president and strategic caste equations have been credited for the saffron party’s success.

Conversely, in Rajasthan, the sidelining of prominent leaders like Vasundhara Raje, changes in leadership, an inexperienced chief minister and dissatisfaction among sitting MPs were identified as factors contributing to the party’s loss.

The low voter turnout in Rajasthan, especially in the first phase, raised concerns among party members. However, efforts to mobilize voters, including appeals from Prime Minister Narendra Modi, led to improved turnout and better results in the subsequent phases. Nevertheless, the absence of strong leadership and internal disarray affected the BJP’s performance.

The election dynamics were further complicated by local issues, such as caste-based politics and the Jat-Rajput dispute, which gained prominence, particularly in Rajasthan. The denial of tickets to certain candidates, including sitting MPs and the failure to address grievances within the party ranks added to the challenges faced by the BJP.

Overall, the contrasting outcomes in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh underscore the complex interplay of local and national factors in shaping electoral results, highlighting the importance of strategic planning and effective leadership in navigating diverse political landscapes.

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