April 22, 2018

Electoral Numbers

The election season in Bharat never ends and the parties are perennially in election mode. There is no end to it. The 2019 elections are being considered as one of the crucial elections because of the resurgence of the Hindutva issues into the campaign. Both the Congress and BJP have begun to give importance to the issues of Hindutva during the campaign and post the elections the issue is put in a garbage bin until the next elections. This attitude is going to give diminishing returns because people will see through the games of the political parties’ in spite of having short public memory. The 2019 elections shall be fought on the failed promises of the 2014 and the congress has already set its game rolling while the BJP is battling to win the various states. The congress does not seem to be much bothered about the state elections because it knows that the power in Delhi is key to control the powers in the various states. The Congress party does use the constitutional powers to the fullest extent and it is a master of getting its things done from the government machinery which may not necessarily mean that the things will be good for every citizen.

Before penultimate election round of state elections start from the Karnataka assembly elections, the previous data will give a hint about the nature of the voters and the status of the various political parties. The numbers that are being discussed are regarding the two poles of the elections namely the BJP and the Congress. The effects of the political allies, caste politics have both a positive and negative effect but on the whole if more people come out to vote for a given party then in all likelihood the party with more voters to support it shall win the elections except in rare circumstances. Rare phenomenons are become more common in a complex world that we inhabit today but for the sake of simplicity let’s see a story of simple effects of the numbers of the voters supporting a party in the general elections.

Figure shows the vote share percentage of the two poles of the Indian electoral politics – communal (BJP) and the secular (INC). Unless in extraordinary cases a party with less than 5% of votes will win a given poll and hence the same is taken as the minimum limit. Also a party winning more than 50% of the votes polled shall be the winner and hence it is another important figure in a given scenario. With these two conditions when the data is seen it throws a very interesting case.

The number of seats where BJP was an insignificant player has dropped very much from a high of 211 in 1999 to the new low of 131 in 2014. On the other hand the congress(INC) has as many as 196 seats where it has less than 5% of the votes polled in the 2014 elections which is its worst performance while ironically it had only 108 seats with then 5% votes polled in 1999 elections. Hence both the congress can gain strength by organizing themselves better and could either gain more seats on their own or take back seats given to allies based on their inherent strength demonstrated in other seats. The hard bargain would be made by the stronger parties to get more seats. In general a party with more  number of seats and less than 5% of the votes polled indicate the weakness of the political party and congress seem to be getting weaker everytime with occasional blips.

Coming to the absolute strength of political parties is when a party gains more than 50% of the votes and when it happens the party need not bother about many issues if their booth management is good. The 2014 elections show that BJP had tremendously increased its performance and got as many as 130 seats with more than 50 % of the votes polled while the same number for congress is 7. If the 1999 elections is considered an anomaly then if not for Modi, the BJP would be in the political wilderness.

The analysis indicates a clear trend. Congress does not want to win election on its own unless there is no other secular party in contention. The congress wants to be the king maker, it wants to be the glue that binds the various secular parties in search of power to achieve some agenda and hence the bosses of the Congress does not seem to be bothered about any election result as they work to a predetermined agenda. On the other hand, BJP which appeared to be on a terminal decline is has become dreaded electoral machinery entering a contest to win and not in “also contested” mode which was its earlier behavior.

Picture Credit: Tribune India


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About Vijendra Bhat 104 Articles
Currently working as an Assistant Professor in an Engineering College in Udupi district, Karnataka. Earlier Worked in Steel Foundry Industry for 6 years. Interested in the politics and revival of Bharat.
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