20 Nov 2023

Madhya Pradesh election-2023: Why political parties focused more on half of population this time

Before every election, the pivotal question emerges: Who will form the government this time? Post the assembly elections in Madhya Pradesh, this question echoes through political corridors, roads, squares, tea shops and other places where people asseble. Let's delve into understanding which party will wield influence in the heart of India.

Whose rule over the heart of India, who will get the crown?

The significance of this question is particularly pronounced in Madhya Pradesh, situated at the geographical center of the country and being a predominantly Hindi-speaking state. The election in this state is considered the semifinal of the 2024 Lok Sabha polls. 

The ruling BJP faces significant stakes, while the Congress stands to gain substantially in this election. If the main opposition party, Congress, fails to establish a stable government this time, it may face a situation akin to Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, and Bihar, where it is very difficult for it to return to power. 

Realizing this, Congress put in concerted efforts, reaching out to every voter from organizational to grassroots levels. The party banked on the perceived anti-incumbency sentiment, asserting that only Congress government will come to power. On the other hand, BJP, known for its organizational strength, particularly in Madhya Pradesh, remains confident in its ability to secure victory once again.

Politics hinged on half the population

In the current Madhya Pradesh elections, the entire political landscape revolves around half the population. Both major parties, BJP and Congress, sought to capture the votes of entire families by focusing on women voters. This strategy stems from the fact that women constitute half the population in the state. Both parties have made substantial promises targeting the female voters.

Promises made by BJP for women voters

Ahead of the elections, the BJP government initiated numerous schemes for women in the state. Chief Minister Shivraj introduced measures, including 35 percent reservation for women in government jobs (excluding the forest department) and allocating them 50 percent of teaching posts. The ambitious 'Ladli Bahna' scheme and announcements related to the PM Ujjwala Yojana and the availability of LPG gas cylinders for Rs 450 from September 1 were also made.

Election promises by Congress for women voters

Congress, too, made substantial promises to woo women voters. The Nari Samman Nidhi was introduced, offering women a monthly assistance of Rs 1500. Additionally, pledges were made to provide LPG cylinders for Rs 500, offer financial assistance of Rs 1.01 lakh for daughters' marriages, facilitate loans up to Rs 25 lakh for startups at a 3 percent interest rate, promise housing for rural homeless women, and provide free transportation on metropolitan bus services. Upon assuming power, Congress committed to providing Rs 2.51 lakh to every daughter born in the state, from birth to marriage, under the Meri Bitiya Rani Scheme.

Focus on half the population in politics

Examining the voting figures, a notable trend emerges. In the 2018 elections, the voting percentage of women increased by 3 percent compared to 2013. While men's voting percentage was 73.95% in 2013 and 75.72% in 2018, women's voting percentage rose from 70.11% to 74.03% during the same period. 

In 2023, men's voting percentage was 78.21%, and women's voting percentage was 76.03%, indicating a continual increase of 2 percent from 2018. Recognizing this trend, political parties strategically focused their entire election campaigns on addressing the concerns of half the population.

Cong and BJP vote percentage

In this election, BJP set a target of securing 51 percent of the votes. In the 2018 elections, BJP garnered 41.0 percent more votes than Congress, which received 40.09 percent. Despite this lead, BJP lagged behind Congress in numerical strength. This prompted BJP to strategize and work towards securing 51 percent of the votes, with a particular emphasis on targeting women voters, given their increasing presence by 2 to 3 percent in each election. 

Observing this trend, Congress also formulated strategies to specifically target women voters. Consequently, both parties designed comprehensive plans focusing on engaging both the youth and women in their electoral strategies.

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