Outcomes of Assembly Elections of India held in December 2023 in states of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chattisgarh.

Reminiscent of 2003 are the Indian cricket team’s One Day World Cup defeat to Australia and the BJP’s stunning wins in the 2003 Assembly elections in Chattisgarh, Rajasthan, and Madhya Pradesh. The BJP won all three states handily, and the Indian Cricket Team lost to Australia in the 2023 World Cup final. The striking parallels bring to recall the 2004 Lok Sabha elections, in which the Saffron party was humiliatingly and unexpectedly defeated. But 2024 is a vastly different game than it was in 2004.

Following the surprising defeat of the Saffron Party in the Karnataka and Himachal Pradesh Assembly elections, the party was projected to lose Madhya Pradesh and Chattisgarh in pre-election opinion polls. On the contrary, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) scored a huge victory, earning victories in three crucial states. The opposition Indian National Congress party lost support in Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh, while the BJP won a historic fifth term in central Madhya Pradesh.

Drawing on prior lessons, the Saffron party embarked on an assertive campaign approach led by Narendra Modi. They encouraged booth-level cadres to engage directly with voters, promising a change in state leadership following the elections. This proactive strategy instilled hope in voters, building anticipation for the smooth implementation of social policies and the seamless delivery of Direct Benefit Transfers to the public.The effective implementation of Central Government Welfare Schemes, such as the zero balance Jan Dhan Bank Account and the Ujjwala scheme, which provided LPG cylinders, sanitation facilities, and electricity connectivity, was critical in gaining support from the underprivileged and marginalized Other Backward Classes (OBCs). These policies benefited a sizable voter group that accounts for more than 40% of India’s population. Under Prime Minister Modi’s leadership, the government also launched the Ayushman Bharat Yojana, a national health insurance system aiming at providing millions of residents with financial security for healthcare and treatment. Furthermore, the extension of a pandemic-era policy assuring free food grains for 800 million individuals demonstrates the government’s commitment to social welfare, cementing its breadth and impact among the masses.

In Madhya Pradesh, where pre-election polls predicted a close fight, the party won handily, thanks in large part to the impactful welfare packages implemented by Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan. These measures have been critical in gaining the favor of the electorate, particularly among women voters.The state’s model for women’s empowerment, as exemplified by women-centric welfare initiatives like as Ladli Behna and Ladli Lakshmi, has been critical in gaining the trust and support of female voters. The success of these social initiatives demonstrates the government’s dedication to empowering women and encouraging their socioeconomic development, which helped the party win a landslide victory in Madhya Pradesh.

In Chattisgarh, while pollsters predicted a comfortable victory for the Baghel government, the BJP successfully channeled public resentment and disenchantment into votes, scoring an unexpected triumph. The success of the party can be credited to its effective organizational outreach, especially at the grassroots level through the “Prant Pramukh” campaign and the resonance of “Modi Ki Gurantee.” Furthermore, welfare programs such as the Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana (PMMVY), which focuses on maternal benefits, had a substantial impact on voter attitude. Despite earlier forecasts to the contrary, the BJP’s emphasis on last-mile connectivity, combined with these impactful welfare programs, connected with the electorate, ultimately contributing to their victory in Chattisgarh.

The BJP chose not to project Vasundhara Raje in Rajasthan, marking a new age of leadership. Congress’s position was damaged by factionalism in the state’s shifting political scene. The BJP benefited from voters’ long-standing faith in Narendra Modi, which was boosted by welfare pledges, an anti-corruption posture, and specific outreach to women, backward castes, and Dalits. Criticism of the Gehlot administration’s handling of lawlessness rang true. Individual profiles flourished as a result of early and planned candidate nominations, assisting the BJP’s victory in Rajasthan’s political landscape.

Shivraj Singh Chouhan, Vasundhara Raje, and Raman Singh were replaced by Mohan Yadav, Bhajan Lal Sharma, and Vishnu Deo Sai in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Chhattisgarh, respectively. Interestingly, the party currently lacks a designated Chief Minister, a break from the era of Atal Bihari Vajapayee and L.K. Advani. This strategy appears to be aimed at harnessing the administrative knowledge of long-serving Chief Ministers at the central level. It might also pave the way for nurturing a pool of leaders prepared to succeed Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the future.

Shri Mohanji Yadav, the current Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh, holds a Ph.D., demonstrating a solid educational background. Meanwhile, the Chief Minister of Rajasthan, Bhajan Lal Sharma, has extensive organizational expertise, having been a member of the party for several decades.On the other side, Vishnu Deo Sai, a famous tribal leader, is an agriculturist by profession and a key organizational leader within the party. These different backgrounds and expertise emphasize the multifaceted character of leadership within their respective disciplines, bringing significant qualities to their responsibilities in governance and party leadership. The BJP’s recent appointments demonstrate its dedication to strengthening underrepresented communities. Notably, Smt. Droupadi Murmu of the Santhali tribal clan was elected as India’s 15th President, demonstrating this inclusive spirit. Her life’s work as the former Governor of Jharkhand focused on uplifting those who are disadvantaged, amplifying voices from marginalized groups, and promoting democratic values. These efforts demonstrate the party’s commitment to diversity and empowerment, as well as its strong belief in establishing a more equal and representative society.

The modern BJP has established its ideological pillar, the RSS. Unlike previous schisms between leaders such as Atal Bihari Vajpayee and former RSS chief Sudarshanji, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and current RSS president Mohan Bhagwat interact fluidly, prioritizing national objectives while respecting limits. This synergy, bolstered by the relentless dedication of about one million Swayamsevaks (RSS cadres) across several sakhas, built critical linkages with the grassroots voting base. The Sangh’s massive welfare measures were critical to the BJP’s spectacular victories in recent assembly elections, particularly in the North East and tribal regions. This unified collaboration, as well as the RSS’s continuous efforts, were critical in delivering convincing victories for the BJP in these crucial areas.

The BJP, buoyed by stunning victory in the Hindi Heartland and increasing its vote share in Telengana, is poised to return to power for a third term. The construction of the Ram Temple in Ayodhya will aid the party in consolidating its dominant vote share. The Congress will most likely be removed from the political landscape, and history has shown that when the Indian National Congress loses three elections in a row, it never returns to power. The opposition parties’ newly formed dotted alliance appears to be lacking in cohesion, with disagreements about who should be the leader to face Prime Minister Modi and seat sharing among parties hitting a roadblock.

Global investors were ecstatic by the prospect of NDA 3.0 at the helm. The Bombay Stock Exchange index reached new highs, boosted by new inflows from Foreign Institutional Investors. This result implies that the Modi government will continue structural and constitutional reforms, cementing India’s position as a preferred investment and alternative supply destination in the near future.

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