Did 100 million new voters do the trick for BJP?

  • Chetan Chauhan and Prashant Jha, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: May 18, 2014 11:16 IST

The Congress was not decimated as much as its numbers in the final outcome of this summer’s poll suggests but the BJP was able to catch on the imagination of aspiring youth looking for better job leading to additional 100 million votes, thanks to Narendra Modi.

The increase in number of voters for the BJP was almost same as the new voters added into the electoral rolls — 100 million. And it was probably because the BJP was able to attract most of the new voters in the 18-25 age group, which constituted about one-fifth of India’s electorate.

The Congress witnessed a dip of about 10 million in voters as compared to 2009.

The biggest loss for the Congress was in Uttar Pradesh where it got just 6.6 million votes, almost half of the votes it received five years ago. Another state which the party accounted for huge loss in votes was Andhra Pradesh, where its total votes halved.

In Gujarat, Congress’ vote in absolute number increased from 7.5 million to 8.4 million even though its vote share dipped by about 10 percentage points. Its votes increased in other BJP ruled states — Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh — and in Bihar, where the party was contesting in collaboration with Lalu Prasad’s RJD.

Though the BJP’s votes increased in all its home states, it got the biggest boost from Uttar Pradesh, which contributed one-fifth to the party’s total votes. This indicates that the party expanded way beyond its traditional army of supporters, winning over substantial votes of upper-castes, OBCs, and even sections of Dalits, particularly the non-Jatav voters.

The BSP, which failed to open its account in Uttar Pradesh, got about four lakh more votes than in 2009. The data indicated that the party was able to retain most of its core dalit votes, especially those of Jatavs, but couldn’t attract other sections such as Muslims and upper caste Hindus. On its own, any one social segment cannot drive a victory.

The story is no different for the ruling Samajwadi Party which got five million more votes than in 2009. This indicates the Yadav-base of the party remained loyal, and so sections of Muslims, but the combination seems to have been too dispersed to have made an impact.

In Bihar, Nitish Kumar headed JD (U) managed 15.80 % votes, a slight dip in total votes as compared to 2009. Early trends indicate that BJP was able to make inroads in Kumar’s own base of Extreme Backward Castes and Mahadalits.

The BJP’s gain in Bihar and UP was primarily on account of division of votes among its opponents and reverse polarisation.

In West Bengal, the Trinamool Congress was able to increase its votes by about 55 % to about 20 million as compared to 13 million in 2009. It votes increasing along with that of the BJP caused huge electoral losses for the Left and the Congress in the state. AIADMK in Tamil Nadu swept the polls with three times increase in number of votes.

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