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  Opinion   Edit  12 Dec 2018  MP: BJP bid to retain power was abortive

MP: BJP bid to retain power was abortive

Published : Dec 13, 2018, 12:00 am IST
Updated : Dec 13, 2018, 12:00 am IST

The final score-line in the Hindi heartland read 0-3 against the BJP, with its arch-rival Congress taking everything.

Shivraj Singh Chouhan (Photo: PTI)
 Shivraj Singh Chouhan (Photo: PTI)

The result of the Madhya Pradesh Assembly election, which became known early Wednesday after a long night of see-saw fluctuation of fortunes between the Congress and the BJP as votes were counted the previous night, confirmed the worst fears of the incumbent saffron party. The final score-line in the Hindi heartland read 0-3 against the BJP, with its arch-rival Congress taking everything.

Chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan threw in the towel only on Wednesday morning after making sure through the night that there was no way he would be in a position to stake his claim to form the next government.

There were four obstacles in his path. One, the BJP had fallen short of a majority and had thus lost power. Two, it was not even the first party in the Assembly after the election even if it was short of a majority. Three, it became clear that the two BSP MLAs, the lone SP MLA, and the four Independents (who were Congress rebels) were plumping for the Congress, not the BJP. And finally, the BJP had lost 56 seats. Any attempt to cobble up a majority in these circumstances would have been unsavoury.

Thus, any prospect of giving governor Anandiben Patel some room for manoeuvre to give the BJP the first shot at government-making was ruled out. There was no parallel whatsoever with the Karnataka case of earlier this year, although some may have hoped to drag the issue in that direction. But saner counsel prevailed in the end. It would have been recalled that in the southern state the governor had played partisan mischief and had been humiliatingly put in his place by the Supreme Court.

Although the Bahujan Samaj Party and the Samajwadi Party formally decided to support the Congress, which fell short by a single seat to hit the halfway mark to form the government, it’s far from clear at this stage that this would automatically lead to a tieup of the SP and BSP with the Congress in Uttar Pradesh for the Lok Sabha election early next year.

The reason advanced by the two regional parties was that they desired to prevent the return of the BJP to power in Madhya Pradesh. In a broad political sense this does make sense. After all, in UP, the SP and BSP are expected to come together in order to fight the BJP. However, in respect of MP the two regional parties would have been aware that their too few MLAs were likely to jump ship and switch to the Congress anyway.

The Congress is likely to look at the victory in these politically sensitive states for its own sake, and also as a stepping stone for the next parliamentary election.

Tags: madhya pradesh assembly election, shivraj singh chouhan