New Delhi, Nov 6: The real battle for Madhya Pradesh Assembly is being fought in the Malwa and Nimar region of the state and it is said that whichever party wins the region actually wins the state. In the last Assembly elections, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had won 56 out of total 66 seats of the region. Knowing importance of the region, all big leaders including MP chief minister Sivraj Singh Chouhan, BJP president Amit Shah and even the Congress president Rahul Gandhi started their campaign from this region only.
The RSS has sizable influence over the Malwa region which provided not only big leaders but produced several chief ministers for the state. Leaders from the region included former Bharatiya Janata Party president late Kushabhau Thackrey who is known for giving steel frame to the organisation of the state, Madhya Pradesh chief ministers Sunderlal Patwa, Kailash Joshi and Virendra Saklecha. However, tribal areas like Dhar, Jhabua, Alirajpur and Ratlam have largely been Congress strongholds.
Interestingly this is the region where farmers movement started and five farmers got killed in the police firing and Patidar leader Hardik Patel is constantly in touch with Patidars of the region. Around 50 lakh Patidar live in the region who are financially very strong and this was the reason that Patel asked for a dozen of Congress ticket for Patidars.
The BJP came to power in the State in 2003 by winning 173 out of the total 230 Assembly seats in the state with a 42.5 per cent of vote share. The Congress, which had been in power for 10 years (1993-2003), had won only 38 seats with a 31.6 per cent vote share. Though the vote share of the BJP declined from 42.5 per cent to 37.6 per cent in the 2008 Assembly elections, it still had managed to win 143 Assembly seats against the Congress' 71 seats. The BJP kept on register its third successive victory by winning 165 seats with 44.9 per cent vote share in 2013 and the Congress had a 36.4 per cent vote share.
The BJP has won seats in five regions - Chambal, Vindhya Pradesh, Mahakoshal, Malwa Tribal and Malwa North. The party is particularly very strong in the Malwa Tribal (28 seats) and thhe Malwa North (63 seats). In these two regions, the BJP has always gained huge lead over the Congress. It also has a sizable presence in the Mahakoshal region with 49 seats in the region. The Congress had a strong presence in Chambal with 34 seats and Vindhya Pradesh with 56 seats bordering Uttar Pradesh.
The BJP had won 27 out of 50 seats in this region in 2008 elections and 45 seats in 2013 elections. In 2013 elections, BJP had won 165 out of 230 seats in the state, nearly 22 more from previous elections. As many as 18 out of the extra 22 seats were won from Malwa region. The saffron party knows that it will be a daunting task to retain all 45 seats but what's bothering it is anti-incumbency factor apart from issues like unemployment, fuel prices, soaring crime graph, farm issues and above all SC/ST Act issue.