SPONSORED BY

Auto Segment
Mutual Fund Segment
My Budget
Expert Speak
In Association With
 
Business Standard

5 election myths busted

Five trends that were broken in the 2014 elections

Related News

The massive victory for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) led by its prime ministerial candidate, Narendra Modi, in the recently concluded shattered many established trends and broke quite a few records. The not only managed to become the first party in 30 years to win a majority on its own, it did so with the highest ever conversion ratio (number of seats won divided by the percentage of votes) of nearly nine, which is more than the ratio achieved by the Congress in 1984. Here are five trends that were broken in the 2014 elections:

BJP is an urban party
The BJP is traditionally seen as a party of upper classes and castes that gets maximum support in urban centres. The party's less-than-par performance in urban constituencies in the 2009 Lok Sabha elections came as a big surprise. However, in the recently concluded elections, the BJP has become a true representative of rural India. Of the 342 predominantly rural constituencies in the country, the party won 178 seats, a quantum jump from the 66 it had in the previous elections. The Congress' rural tally, on the other hand, fell from 116 the previous time to 27 seats.

Sanjay Kumar, director of the Centre for the (CSDS), a think tank, says, "Our surveys show that the BJP got more votes in rural areas and less in urban centres in Uttar Pradesh. On the contrary, parties like the Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party won more urban votes but saw massive erosion in their rural support." CSDS surveys have been predicting big wins for the BJP for a long time.

Milan Vaishnav, an associate with South Asia Programme for the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, argues, "The BJP understood that the preferences of urban and rural voters have become increasingly blurred in India. The behaviour of rural Indians is increasingly marked by urban characteristics. Economic growth, in particular, has been the single most transformative factor in Indian society, not only in urban segments but also in rural localities." Rural-urban continuum has become possible because, at least in some cases, what was perhaps a rural constituency in 2009 has become an urban constituency by its character and basic amenities, if not by definition.

Political scientists also attribute the rising popularity of the BJP among new social groups as other reason for its successful rural foray. And this brings us to another myth that got smashed this time.

People 'caste' votes
The BJP would not have swept the polls in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, politically two of the most influential states in the country, if it had got the support of its traditional vote bank of upper castes alone. Surveys now show that the BJP under Modi got more Dalits votes than even the BSP and managed almost 50 per cent of the votes. At the same time, the party took its support among upper castes to the highest ever level. Sanjay Kumar, a veteran of many pre- and post-poll surveys since 1995, says, "The BJP's successful rural foray has been made possible by its rising popularity among OBCs and Dalits. These two social groups are more rural than urban." The fact that disparate social groups, sometimes even hostile to each other, have voted for the same party indicates that the hold of caste in deciding electoral outcomes is weakening. "Caste is hardly irrelevant in the Hindi heartland, or in most of the country. Social biases are still very much present in India and they manifest themselves in political choices voters make. However, appeals to caste alone are not enough anymore. The new politics of caste links social justice to a development agenda. Social justice for social justice's sake is increasingly a political tactic of the past in India," argues Vaishnav.

Business is bad
Both the Congress and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) tried to make an election issue out of Modi's alleged association with big business. The poor showing by the AAP and the Congress and the stellar performance by the BJP suggests that corporate India is no longer viewed with suspicion as was the case some years ago.

"What is important for the people is good governance. Other issues are increasingly becoming irrelevant," argues Kumar. "The top three issues of the election, as demonstrated by the CSDS post-poll survey, were inflation, economic development and corruption," says Vaishnav. Since India Inc is increasingly seen as a partner in economic development, its association with politicians is not frowned upon.

Swings happen in a band
A positive swing for an established party in excess of 6 per cent has been a rarity in the country's electoral history. The Rajiv Gandhi-led Congress achieved it in 1984. The BJP, too, has seen its vote share rise from 11.4 per cent in 1989 to 20 per cent in 1991, a swing of slightly less than 9 per cent. But that happened when the Ayodhya movement was at its peak. There have been other modest swings in favour of an established party. The BJP, for instance, did manage a positive swing of 5 per cent of votes in the 1998 Lok Sabha elections, when it managed to get 25.59 per cent votes and 182 seats. However, in the 2014 elections, the BJP managed a gravity defying positive swing of more than 12 per cent. Such a massive swing has been made possible by the BJP's stellar performance in states like Bihar and Uttar Pradesh. In the most populous Uttar Pradesh, the BJP managed a positive swing of 24 per cent as its vote share increased from just under 18 per cent in 2009 to 42.3 per cent in 2014. In Bihar, the party managed an equally impressive positive swing of 15 per cent votes.

Incumbency hurts
Anti-incumbency did hurt the Congress almost everywhere. It impacted the electoral fortunes of the ruling Samajwadi Party in Uttar Pradesh and the Janata Dal (United) in Bihar as well. But pro-incumbency was visible in states like Gujarat, Odisha, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal and Tripura. It clearly indicates that anti-incumbency alone cannot make or break the chances of a particular party. Lessons from the recently concluded elections are clear: effective governance can negate anti-incumbency to a great extent.

Read more on:   
|
|
|
|

Read More

Tears well up as Modi turns emotional

Smriti Irani, Ravishankar Prasad and even Giriraj Singh unable to control emotions as PM-designate speaks to them in Central Hall

Recommended for you

Columnists Rss icon

Ashok Lahiri

Ashok Lahiri: Move forward on infrastructure, not back
Ashok Lahiri

Shifting to a PPP model where the state bears most of the risk could repeat the errors of the past

A K Bhattacharya

A K Bhattacharya: The politics of Budget 2015-16
A K Bhattacharya

So far, there has been very little assessment of the political content in Finance Minister Arun Jaitley's second Budget, presented last ...

Editorial Comment Rss icon

Setting goals

The pros and cons of inflation targeting

Sentiment success

Budget has succeeded in keeping market mood positive

TWEETS @ POLITICS
@SinghRPN
#370 degree Uturn by BJP in J&K. Interesting how rapidly they've abandoned their core ideology for a chance at power
@milinddeora
A Pune School Choir Sings @Metallica's “Nothing Else Matters” And It’s Just Awesome http://t.co/Ii3mD7GZMt via @storypicker
@digvijaya_28
A sms from a friend. Fwd: एक दुकानदार मोदी नामक रंग बेच रहा है.. कहता है लगने के बाद हर घंटे रंग बदलेगा !
@thekiranbedi
Just returned from DD after recording a very lively program for Women's day,March 8th.Women's issues in India still have very long way to go
@ajaymaken
#Shame on Rajasthan BJP Govt. RT @IndianExpress: Sachin Pilot injured in lathicharge http://t.co/pJtvVLEjlA http://t.co/3ehMqbaLXl
@MPNaveenJindal
Just saw the visuals of #turkishairlines flight #TK726 . Thanks to the almighty the passengers escaped unhurt.
@Panda_Jay
My Twitter handle changed yesterday to @PandaJay 😊, please follow that..
@ShashiTharoor
Still, @INCIndia supports the principle ofFDI in Insurance as embodied in our bill, but is unable to support the NDA version in present form
@Swamy39
@srinivasprusty : Yes I will file a fresh affidavit.
@narendramodi
Interesting article on yoga & meditation at workplace. http://t.co/wNHRy9cwDM
@abdullah_omar
Stunning “@firstpost: Paradise on Earth: Here's a snow-clad Kashmir looking like a fairytale http://t.co/oXXuBqDV2n http://t.co/4rzEYpFtvx
@varungandhi80
One of the best pieces on this year's budget, by @Swamy39. http://t.co/zoWP2nYNOj
@ArvindKejriwal
I refuse to be drawn in this ugly battle.Will concentrate only on Delhi's governance.जनता के भरोसे को किसी भी हालत में टूटने नहीं दूंगा(2/2)
@PMOIndia
RT @google: If the Indian PM's Office had an app, what would it do? No, really, they’re asking you → http://t.co/81nQpf41sa http://t.co/x9
@rajeev_mp
Thank you all ! for your questions and for being engaged on this subject! Stay engaged and we can #TransformIndia ! #askrajeev
@quizderek
RT @noor1606: @quizderek ur speech on motion of thanks presidential address was awesome which made bjp leaders mum specially naqvi
@
Telangana govt to call bids for 1,000-MW solar PV projects http://t.co/SPnDS8dTOJ
@SushmaSwaraj
International Ramayan mela hosted by ICCR. To watch Cambodia's presentation in Bharat Bhawan Bhopal today at 8 pm.
@arunjaitley
Congratulations to people of J&K on getting a historic BJP-PDP govt. in the State. I wish the best to CM & Deputy CM for J&K's development.
@MVENKAIAHNAIDU
Pleased to note that Security & Swachhatha are getting high priority. This budget is a remarkable road map for growth of railways.
@nitin_gadkari
Requested shipping ministry officials to take steps to encourage coastal shipping of automobiles so as to decongest our roads
@DVSBJP
RT @AmitShahOffice: Congratulations to @bjpkarnataka unit for enrolling 50 lakh new members with our Toll Free number 1800 266 2020. @BJP4…
@umasribharti
चन्‍द्रशेखर राव को बधाई. तेलंगाना राज्‍य का मेरा संकल्‍प एवं सपना पूरा, तेलंगाना की नदियों का ध्‍यान रखेंगें.
@AnanthKumar_BJP
Paper Bag Making workshop at Ragihalli Gram Panchayat, Anekal Taluk under #SAGY for Bengaluru South https://t.co/OoKGfJGleU
@smritiirani
RT @HRDMinistry: Revision of rates of Ph.D. Scholarship in AICTE funded & Centrally Funded Technical Institutions (w.e.f 1.10.2014) http://…
@drharshvardhan
Roadmap for five years of unprecedented growth & prosperity articulated by FM Jaitley through Budget for fulfilling the dream of PM Modi.
@Gen_VKSingh
@madar08 OROP will come as promised by RM. Have patience!
@Rao_InderjitS
RT @NeetuGarg6: Gurgaon MP @Rao_InderjitS allocated Rs 60 lakh from his "MP local area development fund" for railway station upgrade★ http:…
@nsitharaman
. @SreeIyer1 Thank you.
@RSSorg
सावरकरजी के जीवनकार्य के परिचायक शब्द है स्वातंत्र्य, दूसरा है अद्ययावत, अद्यतनता -Dr Bhagwat

Back to Top