Bhopal, Nov 1: Winning the Madhya Pradesh elections would be more crucial for the Congress, when compared to the rest of the four states which go to polls in November/December.
The BJP has been in power for the past 15 years here and the first priority would be to dislodged the saffron party and reclaim power. Madhya Pradesh incidentally is the biggest states among the five which is polling this year. The Congress would also be mindful of the fact that this state is important in the context of the 2019 poll as well.
If the Congress is able to dislodge the BJP in MP, then its prospects in 2019 to would open up considerably. The heartland state has 29 Lok Sabha seats and a good showing here would help better its tally in 2019.
The battle for the BJP will not be easy as it was in the previous elections. The first big battle it would be fighting is anti-incumbency. The Mandasur killings and the agrarian crisis have also been haunting the Shivraj Singh Chouhan government for sometime.
Congress president, Rahul Gandhi who launched his campaign in this state earlier this week has been sharp in his attacks against the BJP, accusing the party of being anti-poor, anti-Dalit and corrupt. While the direct attacks on Prime Minister Narendra Modi regarding corruption may not gain any traction, the farmer related issues could work in favour of the Congress.
The Congress has been attempting to make all the right noises in the state. Rahul Gandhi along with strongmen, Jyotiraditya Scindia and Kamal Nath held a road show before visiting the Mahakal Temple in Ujjain. He also followed it up with public meetings in Dhar, Khargone and Mhow.
The Congress would have however hoped that its alliance with the BSP worked out ahead of the elections. Mayawati while making stinging remarks against leaders such as Digvijaya Singh decided to fight it without the Congress. The BSP could dent the Congress vote bank in certain pockets.
However one cannot rule out the possibility of a post-poll alliance in case the need arises. It may be recalled the while attacking Singh, Mayawati was all praises for Sonia and Rahul, thus giving a clear indicator that the door was not completely shut.