It's a saffron wave. The kind even Bharatiya Janata Party's chief ministerial candidate Uma Bharti did not see coming.
In Madhya Pradesh, the BJP won 172 seats in the 230-member legislative assembly.
The ruling Congress, which had 124 seats in the last assembly, won only 39. The Samajwadi Party did quite well for itself bagging seven seats. The Gondwana Gantantra Party (3), Bahujan Samaj Party (2), Nationalist Congress Party (1), Communist Party of India (1) and Independents (2) were the others who registered a mark.
The sanyasin, who would be the first woman chief minister of Madhya Pradesh, was mobbed by the media at the Bhopal airport. And in true Uma Bharti style, she declared: "This was the semi-final."
The final will be played in September 2004, when the general elections are due.
Bharti, however, admitted the margin of the party's victory took her by surprise.
It took her rival, Chief Minister Digvijay Singh, by surprise too.
Just two hours into the counting and Diggy Raja, as he is known in the state, had conceded defeat. An hour later he was addressing a press conference.
"We had not imagined there would be such a wave in BJP's favour," he said and repeated his vow of not accepting any organisational post for ten years. He said he will also not contest any elections. "I will be just a primary member of the party and work on my pet subject of decentralisation of power...I will also continue to fight against communal forces in the state," he said.
He denied it was the lack of roads and electricity in the state that cost him dear. "It's an anti-incumbency vote. We were in power for 10 years...people this time decided they wanted a change," he said speaking to a television channel.
Uma Bharti said her party's positive campaign with focus on development and governance coupled with the Union government's excellent performance took the BJP to this victory.
|Congress Others |
Both Digvijay Singh and Uma Bharti won their seats comfortably -- from Raghogarh and Bada Malhera respectively.
Other prominent Congress winners were senior ministers Hazari Lal Raghuvanshi and Sajjan Singh Verma.
Phool Singh Baraiyya, who broke away from the Bahujan Samaj Party to form the Samata Samaj Party, was defeated in Bhander by a BJP nominee.
The Nationalist Congress Party opened its account in the state with party nominee, Hamid Kazi, winning from Burhanpur, defeating his nearest rival, BJP's Kailash Parikh, by 4213 votes.