The BJP appears to have floundered in the Hindi heartland states of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh but the election results indicate that either there was no anti incumbency or the congress failed to capitalize on one at-least in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh.
This wake-up call in the Hindi heartland ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections has sent alarm bells ringing at 11, Ashoka Road. Be that as it may, the Congress has also been unable to exploit to its full extent the incumbency against the ruling BJP government with the exception of Chhattisgarh.
Despite the loss, BJP put up a brave front, giving Congress a run for its money, in-spite facing a 15 year incumbency in Madhya Pradesh and the cyclic trend of changing Governments every 5 years in Rajasthan.
When compared to the past election results both in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, BJP has in fact improved on the situation for the ruling party. In the past election results when there was a change of governments there was a huge difference between the winning and the losing party, however this was not observed this time around.
It was widely perceived, especially in the case of Rajasthan that due to a huge anti incumbency against the sitting CM, BJP would lose by a large margin and all the exit polls had backed this perception. This however was not to be and Raje not only managed to save her own fort but also notched up face saving numbers across the state.
To understand if there was in-fact a widespread anti incumbency and if yes, did the congress fail to utilize on it, let’s see some numbers:
|Total Constituency where BJP change candidate||34|
|Out of these 34 seats total constituency where BJP wins in 2018||4|
|Out of these 34 seats total constituency where BJP wins in 2013||12|
|Total Constituency where BJP change candidate||95|
|Out of these 95 seats total constituency where BJP wins in 2018||32|
|Out of these 95 seats total constituency where BJP wins in 2013||68|
|Total Constituency where BJP change candidate||90|
|Out of these 90 seats total constituency where BJP wins in 2018||39|
|Out of these 90 seats total constituency where BJP wins in 2013||54|
The decision to change so many candidates and to add to it the fact that a major chunk of the candidates changed were from winning constituencies clearly indicates BJP’s own assessment of an anti incumbency. But when we look at the conversion ration that is on the seats that saw a change in candidate, Chhattisgarh saw a decrease of 66%, Rajasthan 52% and Madhya Pradesh 27%. This clearly indicates that BJP has lost ground on the seats it had won in 2013 but the percentage decreases as we go from Chhattisgarh to Rajasthan to Madhya Pradesh. This can also be closely related to the fact that the congress won by the largest margin in Chhattisgarh, then in Rajasthan and then in Madhya Pradesh.
What these figures also clearly indicate is that there was in-fact an anti-incumbency which either the congress did not capitalize properly or the BJP managed to maneuver itself out of it.