Madhya Pradesh’s Post-2018 Assembly Election Political Shake-Up 

The state of Madhya Pradesh, situated in the central part of India, has always been a political hotbed. The 2018 Madhya Pradesh Assembly elections witnessed a close battle between the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), aiming to secure another term in office, and the Indian National Congress (INC), seeking a return to power in the state. Joining the fray were the Samajwadi Party (SP) and the Bahujan Samaj Party.  

Elections to the Madhya Pradesh Legislative Assembly were held on 28 November 2018 to elect members of the 230 constituencies and results were declared on 11 December 2018. 

A cliffhanger resulting in a hung assembly 

The 2018 elections witnessed a fierce battle unfolding between the INC and BJP, with both parties running neck to neck. As the results were declared, it became evident that neither the Congress nor the BJP had secured an outright majority. 

Party Wise Seats

The INC emerged as the single largest party with 114 seats, just two short of the magic number required for a majority in the 230-member assembly. The BJP secured 109 seats, reflecting the fierce competition and the divided mandate of the electorate.   

Back at helm 

The INC had secured the support of a total of 121 MLAs, including SP – 1 and BSP – 2 legislators, and the support of four independent legislators, allowing it to regain power by surpassing the crucial majority threshold of 116 seats. 

On December 13, 2018, Kamal Nath assumed the role of Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh following the INC’s victory and successfully put an end to the 15-year rule of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Madhya Pradesh.” 

Mass defection that rocked the boat 

Under the leadership of senior INC leader Jyotiraditya Scindia, 25 MLAs of the erstwhile Congress government switched over to the BJP in March 2020, leading to the fall of Kamal Nath’s 15-month-old government. Three seats were left vacant after the deaths of sitting legislators.  

BJP’s Shivraj Singh Chouhan was sworn in as chief minister of Madhya Pradesh by Governor Lalji Tandon on 20th March 2020. 

Post-resignation by-elections 

By-elections for 28 state assembly constituencies left vacant by the resignation of 25 INC MLAs and the death of 3 MLAs of Joura (INC), Agar (BJP) and Biora (INC) were held in the state on 3 November 2020. 

At the time, the BJP held 107 seats in the 230-member Assembly and was required to secure a minimum of nine additional seats to maintain its grip on power. In contrast, the Congress faced the uphill task of winning all 28 seats to regain power or, alternatively, at least 21 seats to establish a potential bargaining position with the BSP, SP, and Independent MLAs. 

How they fared 

Performance of BJP & INC

BJP secured victory in 19 out of the 28 assembly seats, granting the party a clear majority in the 230-member legislative assembly. In contrast, the Congress managed to secure 9 seats. 

New political equation 

Changed Political Equation

The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had won 19 out of the 28 assembly constituencies. With this win, the BJP had secured a comfortable majority, having had 127 MLAs in the 230-member assembly, while the Congress had 96 legislators after clinching nine seats. 

By-elections in 2021 

Rahul Singh Lodhi, formerly associated with the Congress in Madhya Pradesh, decided to exit the party and switch allegiance to the BJP just ahead of the by-elections for 28 vacant seats in the state. Subsequently, another by-election took place on April 17, 2021, to fill the seat left vacant by Rahul Singh Lodhi. In this contest, the Congress party’s candidate, Ajay Tandon, successfully retained the seat. 

In the wake of the unfortunate passing of three sitting MLAs, bypolls were conducted on 30th October, 2021 to select their replacements and fill the vacant seats in the legislative assembly. The ruling BJP won two of the three Assembly seats while the Congress secured victory in one constituency. However, none of the parties managed to retain the seats in contention.  

Current electoral scenario 

Party Wise Seat Position

In the current scenario, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) continues to hold a commanding position with 128 seats. Following closely behind, the Indian National Congress (INC) maintains 95 seats, securing its role as the primary opposition party.

Among other prominent parties in the state, the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and Samajwadi Party (SP) each hold 2 and 1 seat, respectively.

The 2018 Madhya Pradesh assembly elections and their aftermath were a political rollercoaster that lasted for more than 15 months and ultimately led to the BJP’s return to power. 

We will be continuously exploring the political landscape of the Madhya Pradesh Assembly in greater depth for the upcoming elections in the state. Stay tuned to check out more with Meradesh App available on Appstore and Play Store.    

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