RAIPUR: The strategic decision by the BJP’s central leadership to field 11 new faces in all Chhattisgarh Lok Sabha constituencies, coupled with PM Modi’s charisma, trumped the ruling Congress, which had won the last Assembly elections in the state by a landslide.
The BJP swamped as many as 49 (72%) Assembly constituencies out of the 68 won by the Congress in the 90-member House only last December.
The saffron party also secured nine of the 11 Lok Sabha seats in Chhattisgarh with a vote share of 50.45 per cent, a sizeable increase from the 33 per cent it got in the last Assembly elections while winning just 15 of the 90 seats.
The LS poll results were nowhere close to the expectations of the Chhattisgarh Congress, which won a landslide with 43 per cent of votes polled.
However, with a 41 per cent vote share, it managed to win the Lok Sabha constituencies of Bastar and Korba.
The decision to replace all 10 sitting MPs played rich dividends and beat anti-incumbency.
“The candidate selection process was meticulously done. No candidate who had contested the past LS elections, no sitting MLA, no relative of any sitting MP, no one who had lost an Assembly poll were nominated for any of the Lok Sabha constituencies. All credit goes to the BJP central leadership—Amit Shah’s strategic and courageous gamble and Modi’s charisma—which worked in tandem. The state BJP organisation had no contribution, nor can it take any credit”, said political analyst Sunil Kumar.
“During the entire poll campaign, the BJP only projected the prime minister. That clicked with the voters”, said political commentator Dr Parivesh Mishra.
He felt the Congress paid a heavy price for being overconfident after registering a landslide victory in the Assembly poll.
The self-assured Congress did not work hard to ensure the visibility of its candidates, and as a result the BJP gained.