New Delhi, Dec 3 (IANS): Not accommodating INDIA bloc partner Samajwadi Party and raking the issue of Other Backward Class (OBC) in Madhya Pradesh seems to have hurt the party badly, as BJP looks poised to retain power with a brute majority.
As per the Election Commission of India, at 12.50 p.m., the BJP is leading on 162 out of 230 seats in Madhya Pradesh, while the Congress is trailing far behind with leads on 65 seats.
Samajwadi Party (SP) chief Akhilesh Yadav had demanded an alliance with the Congress and asked the latter to accommodate it six seats.
However, cracks appeared in the INDIA bloc after Madhya Pradesh Congress chief and former Chief Minister Kamal Nath did not allow any alliance with the SP.
Following the refusal by the Congress, the former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister targeted the grand old party, accusing it of being selfish.
SP fielded 69 candidates in Madhya Pradesh. However, three candidates later withdrew their nomination.
Now it seems the SP candidates have dented Congress' prospects in the districts bordering Uttar Pradesh.
Moreover, former Congress President Rahul Gandhi raising the issue of OBCs not being properly represented in the decision-making process also seems to have hurt the party's chances, as Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan already represents the community in Madhya Pradesh.
With Rahul Gandhi promising caste-based census if voted to power, the party leaders followed him in the state.
Even Chouhan -- who was said to be out of favour of the BJP leadership in the run-up to the elections -- emotionally connected with his core women voters by telling them that they will remember him and miss him once he is gone.
This statement of Chouhan connected with his core voters and helped rebrand himself.
Targeting Chouhan and the BJP on the lines of Karnataka by accusing the state government of 50 per cent corruption has also backfired for the Congress in Madhya Pradesh.
The Congress' guarantee of providing Rs 1,500 a month to every woman in the state was undone by the Chouhan-led government's 'Laadli Behna' scheme.
Some party leaders also feel that over dependency on Kamal Nath has proved costly for the Congress, which is visible in the election results trends that is showing the saffron party way ahead of the Congress.
The Congress made 11 promises to the people of Madhya Pradesh, which included implementation of the old pension scheme (OPS), LPG cylinder for Rs 500, 100 units of free electricity, Rs 1,500 per month to women etc.
The Congress had led an aggressive campaign in the state and also appointed party General Secretary Randeep Singh Surjewala, who had delivered the goods in Karnataka earlier this year, as in-charge for Madhya Pradesh, replacing J.P. Agarwal.
If party sources are to be believed, Congress strategist Sunil Kanugolu, who oversaw the party's campaign in Madhya Pradesh, gave up at the last moment.