Accordingly these elections have once again underscored the crucial role of the Mahila factor. In mp, for instance 18.3 lakh women voters cast their ballots, 2% more than last time. women ‘labharthees’ clearly played a pivotal role in the BJP’s resurgence, driven by new welfare measures like the ‘Ladli Behna’ [Beloved Sister] scheme that put money directly in their pockets.
Women voters have been crucial to the BJP’s poll advances since 2014 in north India, on the back of welfare schemes and last-mile delivery with direct-benefit-transfers. Their rise has been a game-changer overturning traditional politics. The higher turnout of women voters is also intrinsically linked to the creation of a new ‘labharthee’ class’ and the rise of a new kind of competitive welfare politics. This trend is here to stay. As these elections showed, no major party can afford to ignore this.
Finally, it is important to remember that bjp had lost all these 4 key state assembly contests in december 2018. Yet, just a few months later in the 2019 national polls, it swept Rajasthan, mp and chhattisgarh and made inroads in Telangana. Voters often vote differently in state (where local issues matter more) and national contests.
Yet, five years later, the fact that bjp has managed to get ahead now in two assembly contests, indicates that it remains in pole position on the road to 2024. The congress has cause to celebrate with its telangana resurgence, for sure. However, in the hindi heartland, if these polls hold, it still faces a huge uphill battle up ahead in head-to-head contests with the bjp in 2024.