A breakdown of the results of the recently concluded assembly elections in five states reveals that the Congress’s tally in the three Hindi heartland states of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh has been propelled by agrarian distress and the resulting anger of farmers. A compilation of constituency-wise data shows that the incumbent Bharatiya Janta Party regimes lost a significant number of rural constituencies in the Hindi belt to the Congress.
In Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh—BJP bastions for the past 15 years—the Congress outperformed the BJP by wresting control of a chunk of rural constituencies. In Madhya Pradesh, the Congress won 93 rural seats compared to its 2013 tally of 55, while the saffron party won 87 rural seats vis-à-vis its 2013 tally of 125.
In Chhattisgarh, the Congress has won 62 rural seats to the BJP’s 13. Here too, the BJP’s loss was stark— the party lost 30 rural seats compared to its 2013 tally of 43 while the Congress improved its number by 25 seats.