Bhopal: Assembly elections in Madhya Pradesh, due in November 2013, will be a do-or-die battle for the main opposition Congress. Since December 2003, the party has lost two consecutive assembly elections in Madhya Pradesh, and losing for the third time in a row would be a severe blow. Sources said the party leaders fear that if Congress failed to reclaim power in 2013, it would be very difficult to revive it in the following five years in MP, and it might go the way of Uttar Pradesh or Gujarat units.
It would be a challenge for Congress general secretary Digvijaya Singh, who enjoyed ten years' tenure as the state's Chief Minister, to bring about a turn-around. The ruling BJP, on the other hand, is confident that it will score a hat-trick. "If the Congress wins next year, it would be nothing short of a miracle," said state BJP president Prabhat Jha.
But the Congress veterans haven't lost hope. They think that factors such as steep increase in corruption under BJP rule would help. Also, party leaders say, BJP has done nothing to fulfil its 2003 promises of improving the road and power situation. The two issues would dominate the 2013 elections, political pundits believe.
Jha said Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan had now become "a leader with mass appeal", and there was no one in Congress to match up. Leader of Opposition in Assembly and Congress leader Ajay Singh, however, said, "People of Madhya Pradesh are fed up with the corruption of BJP. "The results of the 2013 assembly elections will prove that claims of BJP's invincibility are hollow."