BJP loses ground, all around | india | Hindustan Times
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BJP loses ground, all around

The HT-CSDS Survey 2003 brings bad news for the BJP on more fronts than one. A detailed analysis of voting patterns in 1998 and the Survey shows that the BJP has taken a beating in almost every respect.

india Updated: Oct 20, 2003 18:26 IST

The HT-CSDS Survey 2003 brings bad news for the BJP on more fronts than one. A detailed analysis of voting patterns in 1998 and the Survey shows that the BJP has taken a beating in almost every respect.

The BJP’s ‘retention rate’ (i.e., the number of voters per 100 who said they would vote for the same party as they did in 1998) is 75 per cent — much lower than the Congress’s 83 per cent.

The BJP has been able to win over only 7 per cent of the Congress vote; the Congress has snatched away 14 per cent of the BJP vote. Among those who voted for other parties the last time, the Congress is exactly twice as popular as the BJP. It is almost as if the Lok Sabha election of 1999 and the humiliating defeat of the Congress in the Capital in that election never took place.

Caste no bar

The survey data shows the Congress ahead among nearly all social groups. The only communities that seem to be extending greater support to the BJP are the two traditional Jan Sangh vote banks: Vaishes and Punjabis, including the Sikhs, who do not seem to have forgiven the Congress for 1984.

Several communities which turned to the BJP over the past decade appear to be going with the Congress this time. The ruling party has established a small but significant lead among the Brahmins, Rajputs and Jats. The lead is of course massive among traditional Congress voters: Dalits (though about a quarter of Jatav voters favouring the BSP) and Muslims.

Hit with the poor

The BJP leads among the very rich and rich, while the Congress leads in every other class. The equation is very stark here: the poorer the voter, the greater his/her chances of voting for the Congress.

There’s a surprise in age-wise preferences. Unlike everywhere else in the country, the Congress in Delhi is more popular among younger voters than among the elderly. There is little evidence of gender differences in voting.

Not swinging

The survey does not hold the hope of a ‘late swing’ for the BJP. About a fifth of the interviewees said they weren’t sure they’d vote on December 1 the way they voted in the survey. But the BJP is at a disadvantage among this group — 22 per cent of those who voted BJP in the survey said they might change their minds, only 19 per cent of those who voted Congress said the same.

God unwilling

Even religion is not working for the BJP. The Congress did expectedly better among Hindus who were not enthusiastic participants in religious activities. But even among the more ‘devout’, it led the BJP by a good 13 percentage points.