Political experts generally point towards an anti-incumbency factor in an election having a higher polling percentage but the ruling BJP in Madhya Pradesh hopes it will script a hat-trick in the Assembly polls amid a “pro-incumbency” wave across the state.
The saffron party, which fought the elections on the development plank, feels that the state, despite witnessing a higher voter turnout in the last few elections, has shown a trend of favouring an incumbent government since 2003.
The pre-poll surveys and exit polls also support the pro-incumbency factor, as claimed by the BJP. The counting of votes for the state elections would be held on December 8.
In the run up to the polling on November 25, Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha, Sushma Swaraj had claimed that BJP will score a hat-trick in MP on the back of a “pro-incumbency” wave sweeping across the state.
“The commitment shown by the BJP government in implementing welfare schemes since last 10 years and specially during Shivraj Singh Chouhan’s leadership and the kind of vision and sensitivity shown by it, has resulted in a pro-incumbency wave in favour of the ruling party in the state,” she had said.
But, Leader of Opposition in state Assembly, Ajay Singh on Thursday claimed that there is strong anti-incumbency prevailing against the BJP government in MP.
“The development talked of by the BJP was a myth which will be exposed on December 8,” he added.
Till 2003, anti-incumbency sentiments prevailed in the state.
In 1985, the state recorded 49.79 per cent polling with Congress retaining power in the aftermath of the assassination of Indira Gandhi.
However, in 1990, the BJP came to power in the state riding on the Ayodhya movement, with 54.21 per cent polling.
The BJP remained in power for just over two years and after the demolition of the Babri mosque in Ayodhya, the Centre imposed President’s rule in the state.
In 1993, Congress came back to power under the leadership of the then state Congress president Digvijay Singh with 60.17 per cent people exercising their right to vote.
The Congress retained power in 1998, amid rising prices of onion becoming a major issue and a marginal increase in polling at 60.21 per cent.
However, 2003 witnessed a record 67.25 per cent polling in the state with people coming out to vote on the issues of power, roads and water.
BJP then came back to power in the state under the leadership of Uma Bharti, with a mandate of 173 seats, which is a record till date.
Significantly, that was the first election in Madhya Pradesh after the carving out of Chhattisgarh.
Despite BJP frequently changing chief ministers from Bharti to Babulal Gaur and then Shivraj Singh Chouhan in 2005, the Congress was unable to turn the tables on the ruling party.
In 2008, the poll percentage rose to 69.78 in the state as BJP retained power with 143 seats and rebellion Uma Bharti cornering 5.1 per cent votes.
Mr. Chouhan became the first BJP Chief Minister to complete a full term in the state.
The poll statistics in 2013 have set a new record with 72.52 per cent voters, including 73.53 per cent men and 69.77 per cent women, exercising their right to franchise, which is the highest in the state in the last 57 years.