Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Declining vote share is pm Modi’s Achilles’ heel


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Modi’s psycho-political warfare has several faultlines

By Dr Gyan Pathak

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s psycho-political warfare for electoral battle 2024 began on December 23, the concluding day of the BJP’s two-day meet. He asked party leaders to increase vote share by 10 percent compared to the 2019 elections. Union Minister of Home Affairs Amit Shah said the BJP’s performance should leave the Opposition “stunned” with an “unprecedented majority”.
The psychology of warfare plays a crucial role, but giving expression to such impossibilities cannot alter the ground reality of the BJP’s falling vote share in the last five years in the state elections, including in Gujarat. Even in the recent elections in Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, and Rajasthan, BJP vote shares had slid despite the party winning the elections.
This is the chief fault-line in the Modi-Shah strategy which will leave its impact on the general elections. At the national level, it may look like a 10 percent increase is possible because the BJP vote share in 2019 was only 37.36 percent. However, looking at the BJP’s declining vote share in the last five years in state elections would make it apparent that a 10 percent increase is unlikely.
Take Gujarat for instance. It is the home state of the Modi-Shah duo, where BJP bagged 62.21 percent of votes in 2019 compared to the Congress’s 32.11 percent. Even riding on the Pulwama wave in favour, the swing in the BJP’s favour was only 2.1 percent over and above the 2014 election.
This time there is no BJP wave. How can it increase its vote share to 72.21 percent? It is just impossible. Further, if we look at BJP’s declining vote share in the state elections 2022, BJP’s share of votes reduced to 52.5 percent, which was a decline of 9.71 percent between 2019 and 2022. Since the state elections in 2022, there is no perceivable political factor that could enable BJP to increase its vote share to 72.21 percent.
In the recently held elections in five states – Mizoram, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Telangana, the BJP’s vote shares declined considerably. In Mizoram, BJP’s share of votes declined by 3.03 percent compared to the election 2018. We cannot compare the BJP’s loss compared to 2019 since the party did not field any candidate and its alliance MNF had won the seat. MNF has lost 2023 election in the state and it has also parted ways from the BJP.
Decline in BJP’s vote share in the November 2023 election compared to Lok Sabha election 2019 was 17.38 percent in Rajasthan, 9.99 percent in Madhya Pradesh, and 5.17 percent in Chhattisgarh. Even in Telangana BJP’s vote share has reduced from 19.45 percent in 2019 to only 13.90 percent, which was a decline by 5.55 percent.
In Bihar, BJP’s vote share in Lok Sabha election 2019 was 23.57 percent when it contested with JD(U). Now, JD(U) has parted ways and is part of the INDIA alliance. In the state election in 2020, BJP’s vote share was reduced to 19.46 percent, which was a decline of 4.11 percent. It should be noted that the party had registered a fall despite the JD(U) being with the BJP at that time.
In Haryana, BJP’s vote share in 2019 was 58.02, which reduced to 36.59 percent in the state election held only a few months later. That was a decline of 21.53 percent. In Assam its vote share had reduced from 36.05 percent in 2019 to 33.21 percent in 2021, which was a decline of 2.84 percent.
Karnataka Vidhan Sabha election result of May 2023 shows that BJP could get only 36 percent of votes while the party had bagged 51.38 percent of votes in Lok Sabha election 2019. It was a humiliating defeat and the decline of vote share was 15.38 percent.
BJP depends heavily on Uttar Pradesh from where the party had the largest number of MPs in the Lok Sabha. The party had bagged 49.56 percent of votes in Lok Sabha elections 2019, however, in the Vidhan Sabha elections, 2022, it could get only 41.29 percent of the votes, a decline by 8.27 percent.
As for Delhi, the BJP had won all seats in 2019 Lok Sabha elections by bagging 56.56 percent of votes. However, in 2020 Vidhan Sabha elections, it could get only 38.51 percent of the votes. It was a decline of 18.05 percent.
BJP’s vote share in Lok Sabha election 2019 in Arunachal Pradesh was 58.22 percent, in Goa 51.18 percent, in Himachal Pradesh 69.11 percent, in Jammu and Kashmir 46.39 percent, in Maharashtra 27.59 percent, in Manipur 34.22 percent, in Odisha 38.37 percent, in Punjab 9.63 percent, in Tripura 49.03 percent, in West Bengal 40.25 percent, in Jharkhand 50.96 percent, in Uttarakhand 61.01 percent, in Chandigarh 50.64 percent, and in Daman and Diu 42.98 percent.
However, in Vidhan Sabha elections BJP’s vote share has shown declining trend. In Arunachal Pradesh election in the same year, the party got 50.86 percent of the vote, in the Goa election 2022, its share was 33.31 percent, in Himachal Pradesh election 2022, its share fell to 43 percent, in Jammu and Kashmir no election was held after 2014 and hence no comparison is available. In the Maharashtra election 2019, its vote share declined to 25.75 percent, in Odisha election 2019, BJP’s vote share fell to 32.49 percent, in Punjab election 2022, BJP’s vote share reduced to 6.6 percent, in Tripura election, 2023, its vote share fell to 38.97 percent, in West Bengal election, 2021, its vote share declined to 38.13 percent, in Jharkhand its vote share declined to 33.37 percent, and in Uttarakhand, the vote share declined to 44.33 percent.
Only in Manipur election 2022, the BJP’s vote share rose by 3.61 percent to 37.83 percent compared to the 2019 Lok Sabha elections but the violence due to its hate politics since May 2023 has dampened the party’s political prospect not only in Manipur but in the entire Northeast, which is reflected in the recent Mizoram election results.
All these show that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s charisma is not working and BJP’s share of votes are declining fast. The point to note is the Modi-Shah duo will not be able to reverse the declining trend of the BJP’s vote share in time for Lok Sabha elections 2024. Hence, the duo’s psycho-political warfare calling for a 10 percent increase in votes to stun the Opposition is just a thought and nothing more. (IPA Service)


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