In five states, the assembly polls were not a semi-final before the general elections of 2024. Nevertheless, their results, which showed the BJP winning three states, highlight how people still believe in ‘Modi ki Guarantee’ and how the Modi magic hasn’t faded.
It sounds over the top to say that the five state assembly elections will determine the winner before the general election of 2024. Not overstated is the part played by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the elections that saw the BJP overthrow the anti-incumbency movement and win two states from the Congress while holding onto one.
Voters frequently display distinct behaviors in assembly (state) and parliamentary (general) elections in India, where the electoral process is a complex interplay of regional and national dynamics. In the 2015 assembly elections, for instance, the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) emerged as the single-largest party in Bihar. Despite garnering 81 seats, it was only able to win one seat out of 40 in the Lok Sabha elections of 2019. Voters who support a particular party in the Lok Sabha elections cast very different ballots from those who oppose it.
Speaking at the BJP headquarters following the spectacular show put on by the party, Prime Minister Narendra Modi stated that “the current hat-trick was a guarantee of a 2024 hat-trick.”
Therefore, drawing conclusions about how the three states that voted to install the BJP government would vote might be dangerous.
But it’s safe to say that the Modi magic is still going strong, as evidenced by the outcomes in the three states of Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, and Rajasthan.
‘MODI KI GUARANTEE’: MAGIC OR NOT?
PM Narendra Modi and other senior BJP leaders conducted extensive poll campaigning in all three of the states, and the BJP won handily without putting on a chief minister’s face. One could argue that in states where it lacks strong leadership, the BJP has traditionally avoided naming a chief ministerial face.
It is noteworthy that the BJP had Vasundhara Raje and Shivraj Singh Chouhan in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh, respectively.
The BJP could have chosen any of the several Union ministers it nominated for those states to become the chief minister, but instead it ran a campaign centered around Modi’s guarantee.
Several prominent BJP figures attributed PM Modi’s role in the party’s triumph in the three states on social media.
The leader of the Rajasthan BJP and one of the most formidable candidates for chief minister, Vasundhara Raje, claimed that the people’s confidence in PM Modi’s promises was the reason for the state’s victory.
According to External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, “the electoral results in Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, and Rajasthan currently for the BJP are a demonstration of faith in #ModiKiGuarantee…” Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma stated that only “Modi ki Guarantee” is a valid guarantee in India.
Shivraj Singh Chouhan, the chief minister of Madhya Pradesh, also attributed PM Narendra Modi’s leadership to the BJP’s win in the state.
BJP’s Aim for Women Electorates
For the BJP, a combination of Modi magic and other elements, such as Shivraj Singh Chouhan’s ‘Ladli Behna’ initiative, appeared to have worked. Additionally, the strategy for the 2019 general election continues to emphasize female voters. 46% of women appeared to have voted for the BJP and its allies, according to data from the exit poll—the only one that accurately predicted the results.
Based on Axis My-India and Lokniti-CSDS post-poll surveys, the BJP received more votes from women than from men in the 2022 assembly elections, which were held in four of the five states it gained, including Uttar Pradesh.
The attempt by the opposition, led by the Congress, to inflate the demand for a caste census across the country appears to have failed. The only strategy that proved effective for the Congress—and which the BJP eventually adopted—was the assurance of sops. Previous to this, the BJP had dismissed poll sops as “revdis”.