The BJP is intensifying its preparations for the upcoming state Assembly elections in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Chhattisgarh.
Notably, these elections are crucial for the party's strategy for the 2024 Lok Sabha polls.
Among the five states going to polls, the BJP currently holds power only in Madhya Pradesh, while Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh are governed by the Congress.
The BJP leadership hopes to leverage the various welfare schemes implemented by the Shivraj Singh Chouhan government to regain power in Madhya Pradesh.
However, there are concerns about the party's prospects in Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh due to the welfare initiatives and freebie-handouts undertaken by the Congress governments in these states.
In Madhya Pradesh, the BJP has been facing the challenge of "fatigue factor" as it has been in power since 2003, except for a brief period between December 2018 and March 2020 when the Congress was in charge.
Nevertheless, the morale of the saffron party in the state has received a boost due to the positive response received by the Chouhan government's welfare programs, particularly the Ladli Behna scheme.
On the other hand, in Rajasthan, the BJP is concerned about the perceived popularity of the freebie schemes introduced by the Congress government led by Ashok Gehlot.
One such scheme is the Chiranjeevi health insurance program, which has gained acceptance among the public, according to BJP sources and other reports.
According to reports, however, the BJP in Madhya Pradesh is successfully overcoming the anti-incumbency factor by leveraging a strong party organization and the welfare initiatives implemented by Chief Minister Chouhan.
The Mukhyamantri Ladli Behna Yojana, introduced by the BJP government, provides a monthly financial empowerment amount of Rs 1,000 to married women between the ages of 23 and 60. In July, the government transferred the second installment of the scheme's funds to 1.25 crore women.
In response to growing concerns among voters about rising prices, the Chouhan government is expected to announce new subsidies, including one for cooking gas.
Numerous BJP leaders have praised Chouhan as a skilled campaigner, highlighting his precision and endurance as qualities that make him a formidable opponent. They believe that Chouhan's main rival, Kamal Nath, will struggle to keep up with him.
While there may be some fatigue among the public, there is no widespread anger against Chouhan. With his popular schemes and goodwill, he has the ability to further strengthen his position, as stated by a party leader.
In order to strengthen its position in Madhya Pradesh, the BJP is aiming for a three-way contest in challenging seats, particularly in tribal areas and constituencies where the Congress has historically had an advantage. Alongside the BSP, smaller parties like the Jai Adivasi Yuva Sangathan (JAYS), a tribal group, have also declared their intention to contest in 80 of the state's 230 seats.
To oversee and manage the election campaign in Madhya Pradesh, the BJP has appointed Union Ministers Bhupender Yadav and Ashwini Vaishnaw as the in-charge and co-incharge, respectively.
Additionally, Union Minister Narendra Singh Tomar, who is from the Gwalior Chambal region, has been named as the convener of the party's campaign management committee.
In an effort to address internal divisions within the Madhya Pradesh BJP, the state leadership is working on accommodating various leaders within the party structure and assigning them different responsibilities.
Recently, the party has also appointed election-in charges for the districts.
Reacting to the Congress' corruption allegations against the Chouhan government, the BJP is determined to counter their campaign, particularly following their loss in Karnataka.
In a synchronized move, Congress leaders have accused the Chouhan government of allegedly receiving a "50 per cent commission." This echoes the party's previous successful campaign in the Karnataka polls, where they targeted the former BJP government with the "40 per cent commission" accusation.
Party sources have expressed concern over the potential consequences of this campaign, referencing the price the BJP paid in Karnataka. They are determined to prevent a similar outcome in Madhya Pradesh.
The situation in Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh presents a different narrative.
The Congress governments, led by Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and CM Bhupesh Baghel respectively, have made significant strides in implementing various welfare schemes. This has caused some unease within the BJP camp.
In Rajasthan, where the BJP remains optimistic about its chances, they are particularly worried about the perceived popularity of the Chiranjeevi scheme. The wide coverage and positive public response to this program have boosted the morale of the Congress party.
As a result, the BJP will be working actively to devise a strategy to counter its impact.
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