For Congress and BJP, writing is on the UP wall

MATHIHALLI MADAN MOHAN writes from Hubli: Uttar Pradesh has proved once again the trend observed  in the assembly elections in  West Bengal and Tamil Nadu last year that political changes are wrought mostly by new voters rather than old voters.

The essential difference is that while in West Bengal and Tamil Nadu new voters en masse plumped for the leading opposition party, in UP new voters distributed their largesse among the main contestants and the Samajwadi party proved to be biggest benefactor.

A study of the electoral behaviour in the country has proved one thing in rather conclusive terms: that parties hold on to their bases generally and the shift of political loyalty is very rare indeed. Whatever shift happens takes place marginally, while the bulk remain loyal to the party they have voted before.

Under the circumstances,  political change depends essentially on new voters.

They comprise of two categories, namely newly enrolled voters and those who, though enrolled, had not previously voted before and come to exercise their franchise for the first time.

In Karnataka, it is the newly enrolled voters, who have regularly voted for the BJP in the past three elections, even managing to catapult the party to power in 2008.  It had happened in West Bengal too, where they supported the Trinamool Congress last time.

In Tamil Nadu first-time voters sent packing home the Karunanidhi government of the DMK and put the crown on  Jayalalitha of the AIADMK.

It has  happened once again Uttar Pradesh elections too, where SP led by the father and son duo of Mulayam Singh and Akhilesh Singh, have turned in a stunning performanance to displace the BSP government of Mayawati and regain power in a very convincing matter.

The UP polls, it may be noted here, witnessed a higher turn out for a State which has a track record of low poll percentages  all these years. For the first time nearly 60% of voters—that is three out of every five voters—turned up at the booths, which is perhaps a record for the State.

It marked a more than 14% increase in the poll turn out and reports said that women turn out was appreciably higher this time.

In terms of  numbers, the increase in poll turn out, meant that more than 2.35 crore voters had cast their votes. This included around 1.38 crore voters who had enrolled themselves as voters for the first time and  remaining chunk being the voters though registered long ago, were exercising their right for the first time.

All these voters were making the choice of parties for the first time.

Of the total of 2.35 crore new votes waiting to be shared, the SP was able to corner a whopping 88 lakhs, to win 224 seats as against 97 in 2007 and earned right to rule the biggest state in India by its own right. This appeared to be direct offshoot of the social engineering done by the SP in the allotment of tickets, the aggressive campaign done by Akhilesh Singh and rising disenchantment with the Mayawati government.

The  ruling BSP which could not match with the superior election campaign of the father-son duo lost the race to retain power. Its only consolation has been that despite all the propaganda unleashed against it, it did receive an additional vote support to the extent of 37.74 lakhs. But this was not enough to retain the power and stem the tide of support that SP had  been able to mop up.  It lost 126 seats to end up with only 80 in a house of 403  but emerge as the main opposition party in the sprawling State.

The Congress, which ran a spirited campaign under the leadership of  Rahul Gandhi, had the next highest share to the extent of 42 lakhs votes. In terms of the seats, it meant an additional six seats to its previous tally of 22.

What is significant is that its share in the polled votes reached the double digit bracket  perhaps for the first time, though it has still a long way to go in quest of power in the state, by taking on the two well entrenched parties, the  SP and the BSP.

All those who are writing off Rahul Gandhi’s campaign as a failure appear to have overlooked a significant fact that the campaign had brought an increase in the base of the Congress. This trend had  also been noticed in Bihar too, where also the campaign was managed by Rahul Gandhi.

The BJP, which regarded the present poll as something of a  runup to the parliamentary polls scheduled in 2014, had quite a disappointing performanance. Though it did receive an additional votes to the extent of  25.19 lakhs,  it lost four seats. Its share in the polled votes showed a decline with the party receiving 15.01% as against 16.96 % of the previous poll.

Another interesting factor is that there had been considerable reduction in the number of voters and seats going to the other splinter parties.  The four main parties between themselves could bag 376 seats in 403-member house, and capture more than 81% of the votes.

From a national point of view, in the context of the  coming parliamentary elections in about two years of time (if not earlier), the prognosis is not good at all for the top two national parties, the Congress and the BJP, whose disconnect with the voters at large has shown no signs of receding.

Of the 2.35 crores of additional voters who exercised their right, in UP, the share of  the two national parties was a  mere 68 lakhs, while a marked higher chunk of votes went in favour of the regional satraps, Mulayam Singh and Mayawati, who between them had received a combined support  to the tune of  1.25 crores of votes.

Going by the present mood, it is unlikely that the either the Congress or the BJP is able to show any improvement in the days preceding the next poll.

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9 Responses to “For Congress and BJP, writing is on the UP wall”

  1. DailyBread Says:

    @Mathihalli Madan Mohan,

    Good analysis. IMO Mayawati deserved a second chance……

    What is the difference between SP – BSP – BJP-Congress in absolute number of votes?

  2. Omanakuttan Thonakkaraparyil Says:

    Most important message for the BJP: Ignore Narendra Modi at your own peril. If you want to show at least a respectable show, then make him the PM candidate. Show the paper-tigers SSwaraj, NGadkari, RSingh and others their deserved place. Or else, receive the worst drubbing you can imagine.

  3. Deepak Says:

    The author and Churumuri are so obsessed with BJP bashing that they total ignore facts before putting BJP in the same corner with Congress. When we compare performances, the benchmark used should be the immediate previous one. So, if we look at the latest i.e: 2009 LS elections, Congress was ahead in 90+ seats and BJP is around 25+ seats. From 90 congress is down to 25+ and BJP is up from 25+ to around 50+. So where’s the question on the author’s assertion that BJP is not doing well.

    Further, he himself points out that the BJP has got more votes. Also, as we saw during the counting, in initial leads it looked like BJP was giving a good fight to SP, but of course trends changed when more rural results started coming in. But this shows that the BJP has the potential to edge our BSP for 2nd place – provided they stop fighting amongst themselves!!

  4. Prakash Says:

    It is not the loyalty or likings. When Maya was voted to rule, UP voters desired change. Again they have acted in similar manner by giving Samajavadhi Party a chance to rule. Let us see how the young CM leads the oldest State, that has been ruled by many Chief Ministers of National level Parties. The trend has proved that, the major voters are youngsters and they know whom to be voted. They know the contribution of Gandhi family to the Nation. Dynastic rule is all bygone conclusion. Rahul is neither Nehru or Indira Gandhi. Those things are all past. Party cannot survive on its past legacy. Let the party cleanse itself and oust its corrupt leaders. Let it come out clean and give a budget that helps the nation to give a boost to the Nations economy.

  5. shemej Says:

    This was originally published in May 2011. Every one now, says Congress is fading away and third front is emerging. This is not a big finding today. Every child understands it now. And for anyone who does not observe and fail to understand the direction of Indian politics, it is not easy to predict current trend 2 years ago, in 2011, soon after last Loksabha elections. – If one can at least appreciate that this article, written an year ago, provides some insight about the present day political scenario, then, arguably, It also can give some insights about what is in store for tomorrow. Please read —
    (2nd and 3rd part of the article are written later.)

    This article shows, why BJP will cease to be a National party by 2014 and Congress’ disintegration would start by 2014.
    This article examines who will win the 2014 Loksabha elections. Also explains why Rahul Gandhi can not revive Congress at national level.

    If Rahul Gandhi tries to revive Congress based on a long term policy, then, he may have to identify who are those sections he can bring into his fold. We all know that it is easy to attract highly ambitious and unrealistic urban middle class. But they would quickly get disillusioned.

    If one party tries to help poor at the expense of Corporate, then, that party cant get fund. Most national political parties, in the future, would tend to flare up the regional aspirations or try to rally behind some identity based slogans. In both cases, national parties inevitably, would disintegrate into several small groups.

    One note I want to add to this is– Parliament Elections are different. Third parties can not get the same vote share in parliament elections. Secondly, no political party would cease to exist overnight. There would be major instances of rebellions in BJP and congress. And They will be still bigger parties compared to any of the third parties. And some of the break-away groups of BJP and Congress also would become part of third group in the future.

    Please read

  6. AlanJ Says:

    As a Problem Solver and an Optimizer; I am appalled at the state of Indian Politics. Democracy as it is applied to India is a bane, it is ruining people that is supporting it. I hope a smart alternative is implemented, smart people and visionaries are able to inspire all Dumb people towards their betterment.

  7. Manivannan Says:

    Very good analysis! It makes sense to a person like me, who had the privilege of observing the dynamics of voting pattern closely.

    @Deepak, you appear to have missed the point the author is making. Please correct me if I am wrong. He is talking about the increment in the voting, and its dynamics, not just total number of votes. In the first -past-the -post system, its the incremental votes which decide the winner!

    Indian democracy is getting more and more interesting. The effect of the internet and sms era (among the youth) is yet to be fully understood. That is likely to be the game changer of the future.

  8. B k chowla Says:

    It is a God sent oppurtunity for BJP.,but,looking at their leaders and confused responses,I wonder if they will be able to take advantage.

  9. Simple Says:

    If BJP has lost 1.5% vote share , how can it get extra incremental votes? Sounds like a silly analysis.

    Although ostensibly the BJP seeme to have been pleased with the resulst of these five states, a deeper analysis throws up the following facts

    The writing on the wall is very clear for BJP
    It lost votes and seats in Uttar Pradesh
    it lost votes and seats in Uttarkhand
    it lost votes and seats in Punjab
    It lost votes and seats in Manipur.

    The only tiny state it won was Goa – hardly a consolation.

    And now this BlueFilm Janata party lost an assembly bypoll in Gujarat! It lost in Udupi to boot – both these constituencies, the BJP had been winning for the past 20 years.

    There is a massive anti BJP wave sweeping across the country. It is sure to be reduced to a sub regional party in the 2014 LS polls with its seats diving to sub 100.

    Narendra Modi is not able to win his own Gandhinagar, and we are talking about making him the PM! The moment BJP makes him the PM candidate BJP will lose everywhere

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