Lok Sabha elections 2019: Why BJP gained despite TMC vote share rise

Updated on May 24, 2019 08:57 AM IST

The increase in headline vote share numbers does not mean that the AITC has increased its vote share across the state.

Mamata Banerjee’s experience in 2019 elections can be compared to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)’s in the 2017 Gujarat assembly elections.(Samir Jana/HT)
Mamata Banerjee’s experience in 2019 elections can be compared to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)’s in the 2017 Gujarat assembly elections.(Samir Jana/HT)
Hindustan Times, New Delhi | By

Mamata Banerjee’s experience in 2019 elections can be compared to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)’s in the 2017 Gujarat assembly elections. The BJP’s vote share increased from 47.9% to 50% between the 2012 and 2017 Gujarat assembly elections.

But its seat tally went down from 115 to 99. Between 2014 and 2019, the All India Trinamool Congress (AITC or TMC) has actually increased its vote share in the Lok Sabha elections in the state by around 3.5 percentage points. Despite this, AITC’s seats have come down by 12 between 2014 and 2019. To be sure, the increase in headline vote share numbers does not mean that the AITC has increased its vote share across the state.

 

How did this happen? Headline vote share numbers suggest that there has been a complete consolidation of the opposition vote behind the BJP. The Communist Party of India (Marxist) led Left Front has collapsed from its 2014 vote share of 30% to 7.5%. The drop in Left Front’s vote share is exactly what the BJP has gained. It has gone up by 23.2 percentage points between 2014 and 2019.

Also read: BJP’s Amit Shah of strategy now emerges as leader of masses

The transfer of Left votes to the BJP is not a first in West Bengal. This trend was first seen in the 2014 elections, when a large chunk of Left voters shifted to the BJP. In fact, the combined vote share of the BJP and the Left Front, which has the Communist Party of India, Revolutionary Socialist Party and the All India Forward Block, has been almost identical in the 2009, 2014 and the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

With the BJP now a close second to the TMC, both in terms of vote share and seat share, it is not going to be easy for the latter to hold on to its ground in the next assembly elections in the state.

Also read: 2019 performance could boost BJP’s assembly prospects in Bengal

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Roshan Kishore is the Data and Political Economy Editor at Hindustan Times. His weekly column for HT Premium Terms of Trade appears every Friday.

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