Is 2023 the year of Congress?

The Indian National Congress won the Himachal Pradesh elections defeating the BJP. The Indian National Congress elected its first non-Gandhi chief in two and a half decades.

At least 14 major elections were held in 2022. Be it presidential elections, assembly elections or by-elections all got media coverage and publicity.

India got its first tribal president and the BJP continued its winning streak by winning 5 out of 7 state elections. Moreover, winning Gujarat with an unprecedented victory and returning to power in Maharashtra with the support of Eknath Shinde. By returning to power in Uttar Pradesh, BJP also broke the curse of power.

The Aam Aadmi Party under the leadership of Arvind Kejriwal won in Punjab and its first performance (5 seats) earned it the status of a national party. It also completed 10 years of the party’s formation. AAP defeated the BJP in the civic body elections, ending the 15-year rule of the saffron party.

The Indian National Congress won the Himachal Pradesh elections defeating the BJP. The Indian National Congress elected its first non-Gandhi chief in two and a half decades.

What does 2023 look like?

2023 will be the year when assembly elections will be held in nine states and possibly the Union Territory of J&K. These polls are crucial as they will set the pace for the 2024 general elections and create a pro-or-con narrative.

Elections in 2023:


After the Left’s defeat, mobs brought down Lenin’s statue in Tripura

In the 2018 elections, when the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) won 35 seats, the margin of votes between the saffron party and the Left was only 1.37%. Congress is at the third position.

CPI(M)’s Manik Sarkar, who had been the chief minister for almost two decades, slipped away and BJP’s Biplab Deb took over. In May 2022, Deb was replaced by Manik Saha, apparently with an eye on defeating the anti-incumbency. He faces the challenge of bridging the growing differences in the state unit.

Relations with the BJP’s key ally – the tribal organization Indigenous People’s Front of Tripura (IPFT) – are experiencing turbulence.


Although the Congress emerged as the single largest party in the 2018 Meghalaya Assembly elections, its 21 seats in the 60-member assembly are less than half.

The saffron party joined hands with the National People’s Party (NPP) to form the government. Conrad Sangma became Chief Minister. Last month, there was a rift between NPP and BJP. Recently two MLAs resigned from NPP and joined the saffron party.

BJP aims to lead the coalition government this time. Alliance partners are trying to mend fences among themselves.

The NPP and BJP’s Meghalaya Democratic Alliance (MDA) will face a tough fight from the Trinamool Congress (TMC). Congress has also accelerated the campaign.


The Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP) – BJP alliance is strong. BJP plans to contest 20 seats in 2023 elections and support NDPP candidates in 40 other seats. Won 12 seats in 2018. This time BJP is looking to increase its vote count.


Kumaraswamy’s swearing-in ceremony turned into a show of strength for the opposition

Karnataka is the only southern state where the saffron party is in power. Congress is eager to wrest power from the saffron party. But both face challenges. While the BJP government is facing allegations of corruption, the Congress is facing internal strife.

The BJP came to power in Karnataka in the midterms in 2019 after the HD Kumaraswamy-led JD(S)–Congress alliance government lost a trust vote.


In 2018, Congress won 68 out of 90 seats in the state while BJP won 15 seats.

In the recently held Bhanupratappur assembly by-election, Congress won a resounding victory. This was BJP’s fifth consecutive defeat in the by-elections after 2018.

Second are Dantewada, Chitrakot, Marwahi and Khairagarh. Congress’s victories in these by-elections indicate what is in store for the 2023 assembly elections, but cannot be taken as a marker.

State units of Congress and BJP are planning strategies and action plans to reach out to the masses. Both the parties are meeting to discuss key issues and discuss the election manifesto.

Three new districts were inaugurated by Baghel in September this year. Development works worth Rs 930 crore were announced for two of these districts. These districts will play an important role in the outcome of the election.

Madhya Pradesh

Jyotiraditya Scindia joins BJP

In 2020, another Congress-elected government emerged victorious in the mid-terms of the BJP. Shivraj Singh Chouhan was sworn in as Chief Minister for the fourth time after former Congress loyalist Jyotiraditya Scindia changed the ship in Covid wave 1.

There is a buzz in the political circles that the BJP has chosen a new chief ministerial face and won, just like in Gujarat. By replacing Chief Minister Shivraj Chauhan, the party will be able to overcome the anti-incumbency wave. In July, the BJP won the local body elections. After the victory, the party claimed that it had defeated the Congress in the semi-finals ahead of the 2023 assembly elections.


The Mizo National Front (MNF) government won 26 out of 40 seats in the 2018 assembly elections. Congress could win only 5 seats. BJP opened its account for the first time in the state.

MNF wants to improve their numbers and so does BJP. Congress is struggling to keep its flock together. The MNF is part of both the NDA at the Center and the BJP-led NEDA in the region. And there is a possibility of usurping power again.


Ashok Gehlot with Sachin Pilot

Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot is facing a tough fight from his former Deputy Chief Minister Sachin Pilot. The contest between them for the post of Chief Minister has been revealed. Three months ago, Gehlot’s camp did not attend the legislature party meeting and incurred the wrath of the high command. Gehlot had to drop out of the Congress president race. But he continues to resist.

The campaign for 2023 has begun. In October, former Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje had asked the BJP to get ready for the elections. On 18 December, Gehlot had claimed that there was no anti-incumbency in the state and there could be no greater achievement.

Like the Congress, the BJP is also suffering from factionalism within the party. While the BJP is banking on the Gehlot-Pilot rift, its cadre has also been at loggerheads of late.


In 2018, Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) which is now BRS (Bharat Rashtra Samithi) led by K Chandrasekhar Rao won a landslide victory by winning 87 out of 119 seats. In 2014, the party increased its number from 63. Rao dissolved the House on September 6, nine months before the completion of his tenure.

The Congress won 19 seats, two fewer than in 2014. He had formed a pre-poll alliance with the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) and two others. TDP won two seats against 15 last time. BJP could get only one seat.

This time, the political landscape has changed drastically as per the recent Munugodu by-election. TRS defeated BJP, but only by a margin of 10,000 votes. The 2023 assembly elections will be tough for the TRS as the BJP’s spirited efforts show. Rao has a stranglehold on the constituencies, but there is a sense of resentment among some of his party workers.

Meanwhile, KSR’s daughter K. Kavita is drawing attention from the Central Bureau of Investigation in the (now defunct) Delhi liquor policy case.

Jammu and Kashmir

Gupkar Aghadi

President’s rule has been in force in Jammu and Kashmir since the summer of 2018. Therefore, everyone’s attention is on the upcoming assembly elections.

Jammu and Kashmir BJP in-charge Tarun Chugh has recently hinted at early elections. He has appealed to the party members to reach out to the people of the state and mingle with them. The party has started preparations for the elections.

And the meetings of party president JP Nadda, Home Minister Amit Shah and Prime Minister Narendra Modi will take place in the next three months.

The opposition party is also tightening its belt. On 5 December, former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah was re-elected as the head of the National Conference.

NC wants to revoke Article 370 of the Constitution and grant statehood to Jammu and Kashmir.

The NC, Mehbooba Mufti’s People’s Democratic Party, the CPI(M), and the Jammu and Kashmir Awami National Conference – the Gupkar Alliance – may join hands with the Congress before the elections.

Former Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad, who has formed the Democratic Azad Party, may also support the alliance.

It will be interesting to see if BJP’s winning momentum continues or the wind changes. It will also be a litmus test of whether the Bharat Jodo Yatra can create a long-lasting electoral impact.

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