The BJP has started a detailed strategy session for next year’s assembly elections in Madhya Pradesh, with an eye to gaining back the seats it lost to the Congress in 2018. The party has set itself an ambitious target to increase its vote share by 10 per cent — taking it from the 41 per cent in the last election to 51 per cent.
The Congress won the 2018 election with 114 of the state’s 230 seats, wresting the state from the BJP after a decade. The BJP got 109 seats.
But two years later, the BJP came to power when the Kamal Nath government collapsed as Jyotiraditya Scindia crossed over from the Congress to BJP with 22 loyalist MLAs.
Most of the Congress gains in 2018 had been on the seats dominated by the Scheduled Castes and Tribes — seats the BJP has vowed to get back.
The state has a chunk of Scheduled Castes and Tribes — around 37 per cent — and of the 82 reserved seats for the Scheduled Castes and Tribes in the state, the BJP could win only 33 in 2018.
Ground-level feedback gleaned by the Rashtrya Swayamsevak Sangh — the BJP’s ideological mentor — indicates that a lot of work will be required to bring back the votes of the Scheduled Castes and Tribes.
At a meeting between the senior BJP and the RSS leaders today to discuss the roadmap for Madhya Pradesh, it was decided that the party should reach out to the Scheduled Castes and Tribes.
The four-hour meet in Delhi was attended by BJP President JP Nadda, Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, state BJP president VD Sharma, General Secretary Organisation BL Santosh, party in-charge for Madhya Pradesh Murlidhar Rao, national general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya, Union minister Narendra Singh Tomar, state minister Narottam Mishra and senior leaders from the RSS.
A similar exercise has been conducted for Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan — the two other states the BJP lost to the Congress that year.