The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is facing a tough challenge from the Indian National Congress in the Madhya Pradesh Assembly elections. The state will go for polling on November 28. Counting of votes is scheduled for December 11 along with other state assembly elections.
The saffron party led by Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan has been in power in the central Indian state since 2003 but the route for 2018 is expected to be tougher. Opinion polls have suggested the possibility of the election going down to the wire.
The poll result in the state is likely to have a major impact on the 2019 Lok Sabha poll. Many Political Scholars are terming the assembly elections of 2018 as the semi-final before the grand Lok Sabha 2019. A win in Madhya Pradesh would widen BJP’s advantage while a win for the Congress would give its chances a major boost going forward. A win here would also allow Congress to lead the Grand Alliance in upcoming Lok Sabha, but a defeat will possibly restrict its role.
To get a sneak peek into what the election result could turn out to be, political observers have been studying opinions and reactions of voters in Madhya Pradesh’s bellwether or the pacemaker seats- a seat that votes for the party that eventually ended up forming the government in the state.
Madhya Pradesh has 16 such bellwether seats. There are three seats showing a bellwether trend for 24 years (six assembly elections), six seats showing a bellwether trend for 29 years (seven elections), another three have been bellwether seats for 34 years (eight elections) and four that have been bellwether seats for 37 years (nine elections).
Here are the seats and the number of years or elections they have shown bellwether trend for:
6 elections — 24 years
Bijawar, Chhattarpur district
Gwalior East, Gwalior district (This includes the erstwhile Gwalior constituency)
Susner, Agar Malwa district
7 elections — 29 years
Barwara, Panna district
Betul, Betul district
Ghoradongri, Betul district
Hoshangabad, Hoshangabad district
Jawad, Neemuch district
Naryoli, Sagar district
Sausar, Chhindwara district
9 elections — 37 years
Khargone, Khargone district
Nepanagar, Burhanpur district
Niwas, Mandla district,
Sendhwa, Barwani district