The day started on a note that could be a possible countdown to the May 2019 Lok Sabha voting pattern.
Five states went to poll in November and December this year, of which Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan were more or less straight contests between the ruling BJP Vs main opposition party, the Congress. The BJP that took pride in governing this Hindi belt had been in power in two of them in MP and Chhattisgarh for 15 years. The other two states were Telangana and Mizoram.
The Hindi Belt
All three states of Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh were won last time by the BJP, which had also won 60 of the 65 total parliament seats in these states in the 2014 general elections.
CHHATTISGARH – Indian National Congress
Congress : 68 BJP: 16 BSP+: 6
In Chhattisgarh, the Congress had pulled way ahead in the first half of the day, leading in 52 of the state’s 90 seats. A party needs 46 to form government. The BJP was ahead in 25 seats. The Congress pulled off a thumping victory by closing at 68 the state’s 90.
Chief Minister candidates in the running for Chhattisgarh are :
TS Singh Deo: Till recently Deo had been the leader of the opposition in Chhattisgarh and
a sitting legislator from Ambikapur constituency. He was entrusted with the responsibility of drafting the manifesto by Rahul Gandhi and it appears that he has been successful in impressing not just the organization in the state, but also the high offices in Delhi with his efforts. The campaign that Deo & his team launched had the Congress workers travelling across the state to seek suggestions and ended up meeting more than a lakh people, from all walks of life.
The manifesto document turned out to be the game-changer for the party in Chhattisgarh and Rahul Gandhi couldn’t stop talking about it throughout his campaign in the state.
Bhupesh Baghel: Baghel is the Congress state chief and has been leading the Congress campaign from the front. He is a four-time MLA from Patan and has had stints as cabinet minister during the Digvijay Singh government in Madhya Pradesh and then the Ajit Jogi government in Chhattisgarh.
Tamrahdwaj Sahu: Sahu is the lone Member of Parliament from the state, and was brought into the assembly battlefield after alleged differences between Baghel and Congress’ state in-charge PL Punia. Sahu is the head of the party’s OBC cell, and exerts considerable influence over the Sahu vote bank.
Chhattisgarh Congress President Bhupesh Baghel arrives at Congress office in Raipur. He says, “Ppl of Chhattisgarh took the fight in their own hands. We are grateful to Rahul Gandhi, we fought for the ppl. We got more seats than expected, high command will decide who will be CM” pic.twitter.com/i5B8Js0gXR
— ANI (@ANI) December 11, 2018
RAJASTHAN – Indian National Congress
Congress : 99 BJP: 73 BSP+: 27
The Congress shot off the blocks early in Rajasthan, and by 10.30 am, two and a half hours into counting of votes, was leading in 101 seats, crossing a halfway mark for registering their majority in the 200-member assembly. The voting was held in 199 seats as a candidate died in one constituency. The BJP was leading in 78 seats.
The state bid adieu to the sitting BJP Chief Minister, Vasundhara Raje, although she did secure her old stronghold seat of Jhalrapatan.
Congress will form the next government in Rajasthan with 99 out of 199 seats.
Chief Minister candidates in the running for Rajasthan are :
Ashok Gehlot : Gehlot is one of the senior members of the Congress party in Rajasthan. He has been the Chief Minister of the State twice: from 1998 to 2003, and again from 2008 to 2013. Gehlot has won his candidature from the Sardarpura constituency.
Sachin Pilot : Pilot is the President of the Pradesh Congress Committee. He contested and successfully won from Tonk, a Muslim-dominated constituency. While he is contesting the State elections for the first time, he has been an MP and a Union Minister under the Manmohan Singh government.
At the moment, majority of the party members give a thumbs up for Gehlot, but it could be either of them.
MADHYA PRADESH – Indian National Congress
Congress : 114 BJP: 109 BSP+: 7
Exit polls conducted by various media houses, predicted a neck and neck race between the two key competitors, with a slight edge for the Congress. Any party would have required at least 116 seats in the 230-member Madhya Pradesh assembly to form the government. And yes, the race was nothing short of diving to the finishing line.
This state witnessed the closest battle since morning, with the BJP and Congress neck and neck for most part, till the latter pulled ahead. At 10.30 am, the Congress was leading in 110 seats, the BJP in 96. The tally continued to fluctuate by the minute as more numbers are counted.
The drama continued until wee hours of the morning. Learning from the Goa assembly fiasco, the Congress was quick to send a letter to the governor for staking claim to the government and unlike Mehbooba Mufti, thankfully they chose not to ‘fax’. However, Anandiben Patel, former CM of Gujarat and current governor of Madhya Pradesh, returned them away, asking only to return when the EC would have issued final numbers.
The Congress would have also gained confidence, after Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted accepting defeat at around 9.50pm in all three states – Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan.
We accept the people’s mandate with humility.
I thank the people of Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan for giving us the opportunity to serve these states. The BJP Governments in these states worked tirelessly for the welfare of the people.
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) December 11, 2018
At around 3am on Wednesday morning, the trio, Kamal Nath, Digvijay Singh and Jyotiraditya Scindia even did a press conference, where Nath expressed his happiness informing that Congress that won with ‘clear majority.’
Kamal Nath, Congress in Bhopal: With utmost happiness, I wish to inform you that Congress has won clear majority. We have written a letter to the Governor to invite us so that we can prove our majority before him. #MadhyaPradeshElections2018 pic.twitter.com/sgccRiYUXi
— ANI (@ANI) December 11, 2018
However, the counting has ended finally and Congress even though has gained maximum seats, it has failed to secure the 116 halfway majority mark.
Chief Minister candidates in the running for Madhya Pradesh are :
Kamal Nath: Senior most Congress leader Kamal Nath was elected as the president of Madhya Pradesh Congress Committee in May 2018 to lead the party in the November-December 2018 assembly election. Nath is one of the longest-serving and senior most members of Lok Sabha; the lower house of India’s bicameral Parliament. Kamal Nath was first elected to the 7th Lok Sabha in 1980. He re-entered 8th, the 9th, 10th, 11, 12th, 13th 14th and 15th Lok Sabha.
Jyotiraditya Scindia: Harward graduate Scindia was elected to the Lok Sabha for the first time in February 2002 from Guna District. Jyoti was formerly represented by his father Madhav Rao Scindia. He was re-elected in May 2004 and was introduced to the Union Council of Ministers in 2007 as Minister of State for Communications and Information Technology. He was then re-elected in 2009 for a third consecutive term and became Minister of State for Commerce and Industry. Scindia was also the Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Power.
Eitherways, the ‘OTHERS‘ will be a happy lot!
TELANGANA – Telangana Rashtriya Samiti (TRS)
TRS : 88 Congress+: 19 AIMIM: 7 Others: 5
While the votes were being counted in Telangana, K Chandrashekhar Rao’s Telangana Rashtriya Samiti (TRS) had raced to a massive lead, validating his decision to call early elections.
The Congress, along with its regional allies, were trailing in the state, where Rao, popularly called KCR, established his supremacy early in the day, never looking back. His TRS has closed on 87 seats, way more than the 60 he needs for a majority in the 119 member assembly.
TRS was the one which spearheaded the Telangana statehood campaign that culminated in the creation of India’s youngest state out of Andhra Pradesh in June 2014. They took a gamble in September thereby opting for early elections almost a year ahead when CM Rao dissolved the assembly.
KCR was facing a united challenge from the Congress, the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) and the Left that formed a ‘mahakootami’ (grand alliance) to unseat the TRS. The BJP fought separately.
K Chandrashekhar Rao will retain the Chief Minister chair in the state once again and will be taking oath tomorrow, on Thursday, 13th December.
MIZORAM – Mizo National Front (MNF)
MNF : 26 Congress: 5 OTHERS: 9
Mizoram’s five-time Chief Minister Lal Thanhawla has lost elections from both seats – Champhai South and Serchhip. He lost Champhai to Mizo National Front’s (MNF) TJ Lalnuntluanga. In Serchhip, Zoram People’s Movement’s (ZPM) chief ministerial candidate Lalduhoma defeated Thanhawla.
Poll of exit polls had predicted a hung house with the Mizo National Front (MNF) beating the Congress by a slim margin.
The Mizo National Front (MNF) is set to return to power, having won 26 of 40 seats. Zoramthanga will lead the charge of the state as chief minister.
As per the Election Commission website updated at 8pm on Tuesday, the NOTA (None Of The Above) votes ranged as high as 2.1 percent in Chhattisgarh to 0.5 percent in Mizoram.
Now the Man of the Moment!
A Congress victory in all 3 Northern states has been a huge morale booster for the party. This should also be the best Anniversary gift Gandhi has received, who completes exactly a year today as the President of the traditional Indian National Congress.
Someone who has been at the receiving end of the propaganda machinery consistently and the one who is always taunted by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah for a series of debacles in state elections since the 2014 general elections – has clearly sealed his mark with this triumphing victory in all top three crucial states just before the 2019 rundown.
Full marks to him, who deserves to be credited in being a binding factor between the old guard and the young turf within the Congress and how his leadership geared the entire party to fight each state elections unitedly as one.
Following a good show by his party, that is being dubbed as a semi-final for the 2019 general elections, party president Rahul Gandhi said the outcome was a “clear message” to the Modi government that people are not happy with it and time has come for a change.
Despite facing some of the worst offensive campaigns run by the BJP social media team, the right wing trolls and some of the mainstream media against the Congress and their President in particular, Rahul Gandhi, has not only won the informal love and respect of the people, but also gracefully proven to be the leader of the masses along his party, who has arrived.
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