Riding on Modi guarantees, BJP's big lead in Hindi heartland sets template for 2024 LS polls

It will be an uphill task for Congress and the INDIA bloc as Lok Sabha polls approach

Narendra Modi BJP workers and supporters outside the party headquarters during counting of votes for the Rajasthan Assembly elections, in Jaipur, Sunday, Dec. 3, 2023. On the right, PM Narendra Modi during an election rally | PTI

The big lead for the BJP in the three Hindi heartland states has come as a boost for the party ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, chosen as the mascot for the party’s campaign in these states to override the any fatigue factor with the regional leadership, has delivered impressive results.

The BJP had worked the narrative with promise of Modi guarantees – LPG cylinders at Rs 450, sops for women, doubling of allowance to farmers from Rs 6,000 to Rs 12,000, hike in MSP, big scheme for tribals, free ration for 81 crore people across the country for next five years. The clear cut lead by Sunday noon suggests the electorate has reposed faith in Modi’s word and party’s outreach.

The other issues that the party had focused on were the construction of Ram Temple and the message that a votes in these elections will be a vote for Modi in 2024. This has set template for the 2024 elections.

The key differentiating factor that other parties tend to overlook and works in the BJP’s favour is its organisational strength even when there is anti-incumbency on the ground. The BJP was consistent in holding its cadre meetings, booth-level meetings, enrolling new voters, engaging with the beneficiaries of its central government schemes for over a year even before the campaigning had started. This brings the party in touch with its foot soldiers who in turn engage individually with the voters to establish contact.

These elections have also come as a boost for the image of Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan who despite the “fatigue” against BJP’s 20-year rule nurtured the women voters through the Ladli Laxmi and Ladli Behna scheme. Even when the vocal male voters were talking about change a few months before the elections, the silent women voters stood behind ‘Mama'. The results make him a frontrunner for the CM's post even when there are other contenders.

In Rajasthan, the BJP’s massive lead over the incumbent Congress was in tune with state’s revolving door policy of picking up a new government in each election. Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot government’s performance was marred by series of paper leaks, allegations of corruption and poor law and order situation.

There were initial jitters when BJP did not project Vasundhra Raje as CM candidate but as the BJP brought in other CM hopefuls, it helped the party in their respective pockets of influence. Here also, the party promised Modi guarantees with party’s master strategician and Union Home Minister Amit Shah saying a vote for BJP in these elections will be a vote for Modi in 2024 and people will celebrate three Diwalis – the other being, the result day and the building of the Ram temple.

The results are shocking for the Congress not just in Madhya Pradesh but also in Chattisgarh. The BJP's aggressive targeting of CM Bhupesh Baghel by levelling corruption charges against him and wooing tribals seems to have paid.

The BJP played a strategic game in Telangana where ruling BRS has been ousted from power to elect the Congress. When it comes to elections, the BJP does well when it has Congress as key opponent. So in 2024, with the Congress in power in Telangana, the BJP is expected to chalk out new strategy for the Lok Sabha polls. The same is expected to happen in Congress-ruled Karnataka.

The BJP’s good show in the Hindi heartland has given it a boost needed for the 2024 polls. On the other hand, it will be an uphill task for Congress and the INDIA bloc in the months ahead.

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