The Chhattisgarh Assembly Elections of 2023 marked a significant turning point in the political landscape of the state. For the first time, Amit Jogi, the new leader of Janta Congress Chhattisgarh-Jogi (JCC-J), led the party into an election following the demise of his father and political stalwart, Ajit Jogi, in 2020. However, the results did not favor the JCC-J, resulting in the loss of all five seats previously under their control.
The Battle Lost
The JCC-J, formed by Ajit Jogi in 2016 after parting ways with the Congress party, had found success in the 2018 elections as an ally of the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP). They secured five seats, largely supported by the state's 7.61% Dalit and tribal voters. However, in this election, the party significantly trailed behind Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) candidates, even in their stronghold of Marwahi.
The Challenges for Regional Parties
Amit Jogi highlighted a worrying trend for regional parties. Across four mainland states, smaller parties are being wiped out by the national narrative, which is increasingly favoring larger national parties like the BJP. The BJP's successful polarizing strategies, coupled with issues such as communalism and corruption, have contributed to the regional parties' defeat.
Looking Towards a Two-Party System
The changing political landscape seems to be inching towards a two-party system, similar to that of the US or UK. Amit Jogi stressed the need for regional parties to adapt to this changing landscape by forming a united front. This reevaluation of approach is crucial in the face of a potential unipolar political contest in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.
As these state elections are often seen as a semi-final for the General Elections due in 2024, the results carry substantial importance. The Chhattisgarh elections were also the first crucial test for the INDIA Alliance, with the Congress party being at the forefront in all states on behalf of the alliance.