Post-poll survey: Kamal Nath government falls in popularity charts in Madhra Pradhesh

Modi factor added to the BJP’s stupendous win, according to the The Hindu CSDS-Lokniti Post-poll Survey 2019

Just five months after narrowly losing power to the Congress in the Madhya Pradesh Assembly election, the BJP virtually obliterated its rival in the Lok Sabha election by winning 28 out of 29 seats and garnering a vote share that is 17 percentage points higher than what it had secured in the Assembly election. So massive was the scale of the BJP victory that except for Dalits and Muslims, all other castes and communities, including the Adivasis, ended up consolidating around the BJP in the State. It is quite astonishing that an electorate that gave a chance to the Congress only a few months ago has deserted it so quickly. What explains this sudden turnaround?

Post-poll survey: Kamal Nath government falls in popularity charts in Madhra Pradhesh


Data from the Lokniti post-poll survey indicate that there was a strong desire among voters to see Narendra Modi back as Prime Minister and this seems to have been among the chief reasons for the BJP’s stunning success. Close to three-fifths (59%) of the respondents said that they would like to see Mr. Modi back as Prime Minister whereas only about a third (31%) said they favoured Congress president Rahul Gandhi. Moreover, one in every four respondents spontaneously stated that their main voting consideration had neither been the party nor the candidate but the prime ministerial candidate instead. This perhaps explains why despite facing a rebellion on many seats, the BJP was able to pull off this sweeping win.

But besides the Modi factor which seems to be a common explanation for BJP victories across the Hindi heartland States, disappointment with the new State government’s performance also seems to have contributed a great deal to the Congress rout. It is not very often that voter satisfaction with a newly elected government evaporates so quickly. The survey found only 29% of the respondents to be completely satisfied with the Kamal Nath-led Congress government’s performance. Not only is this satisfaction level lower than the one that the survey recorded with respect to the Narendra Modi government’s performance (38% said they were fully satisfied with it), it is also below the figure of 37% that was recorded five years ago at the same time when voters were asked to assess the performance of the then newly elected Shivraj Singh Chouhan government.


Voting pattern of castes and communities in the 2018 assembly and 2019 Lok Sabha elections in Madhya Pradesh


(Source: Lokniti-CSDS Post Poll Surveys during 2018 Assembly elections and 2019 Lok Sabha elections)

Loan waiver

One of the main reasons for poor satisfaction level with the State seems to be resentment among farmers on account of not having received their promised loan waiver amounts on time and the inability of the Kamal Nath government to convince them that the amount would reach their accounts once the model code of conduct gets lifted. The post-poll survey found 67%, or two-thirds, of the farmers had not benefited from the loan waiver scheme and only 27% or one-fourth had benefited from it. Among the former, satisfaction with the State government’s performance was found to be 40 percentage points less than the satisfaction among the latter category.

The sudden unpopularity of the State government can also be gauged from the fact that when respondents were asked who they would like to see as the next Chief Minister in the event of a snap Assembly election, close to half of them (48%) took former Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan’s name and only 18% said Kamal Nath. For a sitting Chief Minister to be trailing a former Chief Minister so soon into his tenure is extremely unusual and should sound a warning bell to the Congress government in the State which currently survives on a wafer-thin majority.

The outcome of the Lok Sabha election is a clear indication that despite its defeat in the Assembly election, the BJP continues to be the strongly entrenched party in the State with Congress only a distant second.

Satisfaction with the State government among farmers (in %)

Farmers who had benefitted from the loan waiver scheme (27%)



(Source: Lokniti-CSDS Post Poll Surveys during 2018 Assembly elections and 2019 Lok Sabha elections)

(The writer is Director, Madhya Pradesh Institute of Social Science Research, Ujjain)

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