How did BJP retain Gujarat?

There are a lot of interesting things about the recently concluded election in Gujarat. Let’s evaluate the most noted statistic – the overall voting percentage.

2007

2012

Total  Eligible Voters

3,65,93,090

3,78,27,502

Actual Votes Polled

2,18,73,375

2,74,17,656

Voting %

59.77%

72.48%

While, the size of the electoral rolls has increased by a small fraction, the voting % has increased dramatically. Approximately 55.5 Lakh more voters exercised their franchise compared to the last assembly polls.

Increase in Electoral Rolls

3.37%

Increase in number of Votes Polled

25.35%

Increase in Voters

55,44,281

Here are some statistics regarding the vote share of the major parties in the current and previous assembly polls.

Vote share %

2007

2012

BJP

49.1

47.9

Congress

38

38.9

Others (Including GPP)

12.9

13.2

BJP minus Congress

11.1

9

So, actually it’s more than 2% reduction in BJP’s advantage over Congress in vote share though it has translated into reduction of just 2 seats.

But how does this vote share difference translate into the difference in the number of votes polled?

2007

2012

BJP- Congress ( Approximate)

24,27,945

24,67,589

So, the margin in terms of absolute votes has remained almost the same between these 2 elections.

Another interesting fact is that both parties have registered a huge increase in the number of votes polled.

Total Votes ( approximate)

2007

2012

Increase in Total Votes
BJP

1,07,39,827

1,31,33,057

23,93,230

Congress

83,11,883

1,06,65,468

23,53,586

GPP

9,87,036

9,87,036

Some interesting needs to be noted here. By itself, Congress almost caught up with 2007 vote tally of BJP. In combination with GPP it even exceeded it.

Doesn’t this show a massive swing against the Modi Government? After all, the increase in the number of congress voters is not proportional to its previous vote share. In fact, both BJP and congress show the same magnitude of increase in terms of absolute numbers of votes polled. In overall terms, the opposition (GPP+ Congress) registered a larger increase in the number of votes than BJP. It is safe to assume that a large part of these votes were gained at the expense of the BJP.

So BJP in Gujarat is really not immune to those factors that were being discussed in past few months such as anti-incumbency, drought and Leuva-Patel alienation.

All things remaining same, if Modi had just hung on to his previous core vote bank, BJP would have definitely lost these polls. Perhaps, it might have been a nail-biting finish also.

Here is the logic to support the above contentions. Let’s consider this hypothesis.

Assume that around 70% of the additional votes Congress and GPP got this time are due to unsatisfied people who previously voted for BJP. Let’s subtract these votes from BJP’s tally from 2007.

1,07,39,827 – 23,38,435= 84,01,392

The BJP tally is now approximately 84 Lakh votes.

Let’s also add a 25 % increase on the remaining votes to account for the natural increase in eligible voters and other factors. That is approximately 21 lakhs more bringing the total BJP votes to around 1.05 crores.

In that case, the position during these polls would have been

BJP( Hypothetical 2012)

1,05,01,740

Cong( Actual 2012)

1,06,65,468

GPP ( Actual 2012)

9,87,036

The result would have been very close but would have probably been a Congress plus GPP government being sworn in Gandhinagar.

But the BJP actually got 1.31 Crore votes. So, almost 24-25 Lakh additional voters came in magically and voted for BJP. This swung the balance back in BJP’s favor.

Who are these 25 Lakh voters? What mobilized them? It is clear that almost all of them are 1st time voters or urban middle-class that ignores the electoral process generally. Some astounding force mobilized and spurred them into the polling booths in 2012. This alone overcame the anti-incumbency, the drought and all other impediments. BJP had a great hit rate in urban and semi-urban constituencies. Approximately half of Gujarat’s 182 constituencies fall in this category. So, it’s reasonable to assume that the counter-mobilization of an average of 20,000 voters over 100-110 constituencies turned the tide for BJP. Even if we were to rework our assumptions, 10,000 votes per constituency still appears reasonable.

Of course, BJP does not start with same advantage as Gujarat in the rest of India. However, what might happen if the same force is unleashed across the nation in the coming general elections? Gujarat has delivered a message. Is the BJP listening?

All data based on information provided by Niti Central.

http://www.indiavotes.com/nitiac/acinfo?stateac=29&yearac=2012

http://www.indiavotes.com/nitiac/acinfo?stateac=29&yearac=2007

 

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Venkatesh K

Venkatesh K

Wage slave. Hopes to teach at a university one day. Kannadiga living outside Karnataka
Venkatesh K

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