Lok Sabha Election Results Analysis

All my Lok Sabha election results analysis at one place!

31 May. 2019: Five Factors That Determined The 2019 Results

28 May 2019: Why people rejected opportunistic alliances in 2019 polls

28 May, 2019: 10 myths about BJP that the 2019 polls busted

27 May, 2019: Five reasons why Rahul Gandhi is the biggest loser in 2019 elections

26 May, 2019: How BJP Trumped SP-BSP With Congress’ Help In Uttar Pradesh

25 May, 2019: How PM Modi ‘Trumped Caste’ Again In the Hindi Heartland

24 May, 2019: Eight reasons why Congress was routed in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections

24 May, 2019: Seven reasons behind BJP’s stunning victory

24 May, 2019: The Narendra Modi-Amit Shah victory script

23 May, 2019: Thugbandhan fails in Uttar Pradesh; BJP sweeps the state

22 May, 2019: Why Amit Shah is India’s modern day Chanakya

22 May, 2019: Here’s why BJP is a truly national party now



#Elections2019: Uttar Pradesh, A cakewalk for none


Mayawati and Akhilesh have sealed the deal for the state of Uttar Pradesh (UP) which sends the highest number of Members to Parliament. BJP swept the state in 2014 riding on Modi wave and its development agenda trumping caste politics. Opinion polls predict heavy losses for BJP in the state. In this article, we look at eleven key factors which will determine the results of UP in 2019.

Transfer of votes without leakages: The success of any alliance depends upon the ability of partners to transfer their votes to each other with limited leakages. While in Bihar in 2015, a similar Mahagathbandhan (MGB) of Lalu, Nitish and Congress succeeded in doing so, in UP, alliance of SP-Congress failed to shift votes to each other in 2017. An informal alliance of SP and BSP for three bypolls succeeded vote transfer in bypolls last year.

Management of rebels: SP and BSP contested…

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#Elections2019: Why Mamata Banerjee is frightened of BJP despite dominating Bengal


Mamata Banerjee’s government denied permission to Yogi Adityanath and Shivraj Singh Chouhan’s helicopters to land in Bengal. This after repeatedly refusing to allow top BJP leaders to hold rallies and conduct yatras in the state. The Kolkata Police, clearly at Mamata’s command, also entered into a stand-off with the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) that had come to the city to interrogate police commissoner Rajeev Kumar in relation to the Saradha chit fund scam.

Where have we seen ruling governments denying the Opposition permission for conducting rallies? Which state police has ever arrested CBI officials who have come for investigation? Why is Mamata afraid of the BJP and its leadership which according to her is a fringe player in the state?

It is difficult to fathom! As part of its project to improve its position in east and south India, the BJP is putting in all efforts and using star…

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#Elections2019: Rahul Gandhi and Congress apart, triple anti-incumbency looms as major threat to Narendra Modi’s return in 2019


BJP is hopeful of bettering its 2014 Lok Sabha performance in 2019. It has formed governments in 13 states which have held elections after May 2014 and retained two states. Along with its allies, the party now rules 20 states which send 63 percent of total MPs to the Lower House. Narendra Modi’s approval ratings remain high and he enjoys a lead of over 30 percent versus Rahul Gandhi in India Today Mood of the Nation Survey.

However, all is not hunky dory for the party. BJP has lost four Lok Sabha by-polls held in 2018, all in the Hindi heartland. The Opposition has smelled blood and Congress is leading discussions to form a grand alliance. Whereas, regional parties like TMC and TRS have initiated a discussion to form a Federal Front. Amidst this background, a number of commentators have started questioning BJP’s ability to repeat its historic performance in…

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#Elections2019: BJP, Hold Onto Allies – Regional Parties Will Call Shots in 2019


The regional parties can smell blood after a tight contest in Gujarat and bypoll results in Rajasthan. They see the prospect of a hung Parliament and the return of true coalition governments which would enhance their bargaining power.

Even some right-wing columnists like Minhaz Merhant, Swapan Dasgupta, and recently, Rajesh Jain have voiced their apprehensions about a Narendra Modi sweep of the scale of 2014 being repeated in 2019.

I have been saying this for long that since BJP has peaked in many states, it is difficult for the party to maintain its previous tally, and there isn’t enough scope to compensate for the loss of seats. This means we are staring at a depleted BJP in Lok Sabha in 2019, though it may continue to be the single largest party.

The Telugu Desam Party (TDP), which has 15 Members of Parliaments (MP), is on the verge of leaving the National Democratic Alliance (NDA). Its MPs…

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#Elections2019: Non-Yadav OBCs, non-Jatav Dalits hold key to success in UP Lok Sabha elections 2019


Mayawati and Akhilesh have announced an alliance for the key state of Uttar Pradesh. The BJP won 71 out of 80 seats from the state in 2014 which propelled it to cross the halfway mark in the same year. Data shows that the split of votes between the SP and BSP helped the party. Though two plus two is not always four in politics, and there are several challenges ahead for mahagathbandhan in UP, which has made the contest interesting.

Caste is cast in stone in UP

Caste plays a key role in politics in India, more so in the Hindi heartland states. A survey by The Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS) and Azim Premji Institute shows that 55% of Indians are likely to prefer the candidate of their caste in elections. The ‘agadey versus pichadey’ contest has been intensified in UP since the Mandal issue.

The Ram…

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#Elections2019: Can The UP Mahagathbandhan Put The Brakes On Mission Modi In 2019?


The bua and babua jodi in Uttar Pradesh announced their alliance in the state on Mayawati’s birthday on Saturday. Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and Samajwadi Party (SP) will contest on 38 seats each, leaving four seats for the others, not clear for whom. Mayawati thundered that this alliance will give sleepless nights to Narendra Modi and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

Anti-BJP parties and opposition are placing their hopes on this duo to defeat BJP in their stronghold. To note, BJP won one-fourth of its total tally in 2014 from Uttar Pradesh. Prime Minister Modi is a member of Parliament from Varanasi. While the mahagathbandhan hopes to defeat BJP in Uttar Pradesh and unseat Modi from Delhi, party president Amit Shah thundered at BJP national convention that National Democratic Alliance (NDA) would better its record and win 74 seats in 2019, one more than 2014 tally.

By-Poll Victories Not An Honest…

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#Elections2019: BSP-SP Alliance Is A Challenge But UP’s History Gives BJP Hope


Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party and Akhilesh Yadav’s Samajwadi Party today held a joint press conference to announce the much-awaited grand alliance (mahagathbandhan) for Uttar Pradesh. The BSP and the SP will contest 38 seats each, leaving 4 for others, mostly 2 family seats of the Congress and 2 for others (Nishad Party, in all likelihood). Mayawati thundered that this alliance will give sleepless nights to the BJP. Akhilesh commented that the BJP was trying to promote hatred in the land of Lord Ram and dividing people along communal lines. In theory, the MGB poses a stiff challenge to the BJP in 2019 after defeating BJP candidates in three by-polls last year, including the seats previously held by the CM and Deputy CM.

UP Helped BJP Gain Majority in 2014

The BJP swept the state bagging 71 out of 80 seats, even higher than at the peak of the Ram Mandir…

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#Elections2019: Mahagathbandhan: From lack of trust to vote blocks, 5 challenges before grand alliance in Uttar Pradesh


As per press reports, a deal has been sealed between SP, BSP and RLD for a grand alliance (mahagathbandhan) in Uttar Pradesh to take on the BJP. As per the deal, the SP and BSP will get 37 seats each to contest, while Ajit Singh’s RLD will get three seats and Nishad Party one seat. The mahagathbandhan has left out Congress from the seat-sharing arrangement, however, it will not field any candidate in the Gandhi family-stronghold seats of Amethi and Rae Bareli.

The BJP had swept the state in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, bagging 71 out of 80 seats, representing one-fourth of its overall tally of 282. An informal mahagathbandhan defeated the BJP in three by-polls of Gorakhpur, Phulpur and Kairana held last year which ultimately crystallised in this form. This has given hope to the anti-Modi / anti-BJP parties that by restricting the party…

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#Elections2019: Modi’s Approval Ratings, Swing Voters to Shape Result


With the Lok Sabha elections due in April-May this year, the invincibility of the ruling party at the Centre, that is, the BJP’s herculean election machinery and the durability of the ‘Modi factor’, is being openly questioned.

This notwithstanding, it doesn’t look like the Congress party alone can beat the BJP in the 2019 general elections. Thus, the idea of a mahagathbandhan (grand alliance) has been afloat for a while, but it is yet to see fruition.

100 days is a long time in politics, and the narrative for the general elections in 2019 is yet to be set. Here, we analyse the math for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

Voter Bases & the Task of Government Formation

BJP’s lowest vote share during this period (as above) (excluding the 1989 number when party was still young) is 18.8 percent in 2009. This is its core vote bank, comprising…

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#Elections2019: Federal clout at power centre


Regional parties have played a key role in government formation at the Centre since the advent of the coalition era in 1989. BJP’s loss in three Hindi heartland states have given them hope of a hung Parliament in 2019 where they could again play the role of a kingmaker. Many such parties are discussing with Congress to form the mahagathbandhan (MGB) to take on the BJP. Alliances in key states of UP, Bihar, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu, which account for 207 seats, out of which NDA won 150 in 2014, will decide the course of 2019.

Uttar Pradesh: The entire premise that BJP will have a tough time in 2019 is built on the alliance between Samajwadi Party (SP) and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) in UP. It was tested in bypolls to three seats earlier this year where BJP recorded big losses. BSP and SP have a solid…

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#Elections2019: BJP, 2019, And The Durability Of The ‘Modi Factor’


The Indian National Congress has made significant inroads in the three Hindi heartland states defeating the Bharatiya Janata Party in its den. These states account for 65 Lok Sabha seats out of which BJP won 62 in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. The historical trend shows that whichever party wins these state elections goes on to win the maximum seats in the Lok Sabha election that is held within three-four months of the assembly mandate. BJP’s tally is expected to reduce by half, on the basis of a simple extrapolation of the state results. The results have made the 2019 contest wide open with no clear favourites.

Did The Modi Factor Work, Or Fail In 2018?

The boost the BJP gets from Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s personal political capital—which took the party past the finish line in elections over the last few years—has often been referred to as the ‘Modi…

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#Elections2019: The Countdown to the Circus Begins

The Election Commission has announced the dates for Lok Sabha elections 2019. The elections will be held in 7 phases from April 11 to May 19. The results will be announced on May 23. While Prime Minister Narendra Modi is hoping to get a second term on the plank of majboot sarkar versus majboor sarkar, Congress emboldened by the three wins in the Hindi heartland states is hoping to stop the BJP juggernaut.

The National elections in India are like a circus. Groups of men from different parties’ camp across cities in India. They camp in a city for a month or so, campaign for their respective parties and return to the Head Quarters waiting for another round of elections. There are national level branded circuses like Congress and BJP, and regional circuses like SP, BSP, DMK, TMC, BJD etc. Lions (top leadership of national and regional parties), jokers / entertainers (spokespersons) and ringmasters (local heavyweight karyakartas) are the mainstay of any circus.

Lions are fast becoming rare species, nowadays, while jokers are a plenty. Even the national level circuses have only one lion on whom they rely solely. He hops from one city to another showing his prowess. Jokers fill in the gap and entertain the crowd. While lions of the circus draw crowds and get maximum applaud, it is the ringmaster (local heavyweight karyakarta) who play a key role in converting this audience into votes on the D-Day. They fulfill the role of last mile connectivity.

The BJP circus is led by Narendra Modi. Modi hops from one city / circus to another roaring. He attacks the other main contender / lion (Rahul) of the Congress circus in each appearance. BJP’s circus is very high tech and attached with a lot of media blitz. The Congress circus after survival scare has got its confidence back. Their lion (Rahul) is also roaring, has brought in sister lioness Priyanka to bolster its prospects and draw more crowds compared to BJP circus. People bored with the same tricks of 15-year old BJP circus in Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh opted for new circus of Congress in recently held competition. The Congress circus has many jokers / spokespersons who entertain voters and have been loyal to the lion family. The party though still lacks good ringmasters in key states. They have been disillusioned in most parts of country with the lion’s unwillingness to take a serious plunge. The surgical strike 2.0 has once again dented their confidence.

The regional, smaller circuses also boast of many lions. But they have limited influence, they think they can challenge lions of national level circuses, but the audience thinks otherwise. There is a continuous fight for who will be king among regional lions. People do come to see them for the sake of curiosity but have got bored over the years. They are fed up of these self-proclaimed lions in the end queuing up to national level circuses. The depleting sales (seats) under the growing popularity of BJP circus has forced state level circuses who have been competing for decades to come to the table. Due to existential threat from national level circuses, mainly BJP, some regional level circuses are forming alliances, like mahagathbandhan of SP-BSP in Uttar Pradesh. Some have formed alliance with BJP like JDU, Shiv Sena and AIADMK. Some are backing Congress and have jumped onto their ship like RLSP, JDS, DMK etc.

Aam Aadmi Party made its debut in state elections of Delhi 2013 just before central elections of 2014. It didn’t boast of lions, jokers or ringmasters. It offered audience a unique circus, audience as well as performers belonged to the same set of people. What tricks you want to see was determined through sms campaign. Aam aadmi by rotation got a chance to become a performer. The success in Delhi made the Aam Aadmi leader Kejriwal roar and put up himself for national contention (to become a lion). But over the years they copied other circuses and are following their footsteps. Kejriwal is AAP’s lion. He eliminated internal competition by throwing them out of his circus. The audience is now bored of their tricks. This circus also has gone the other regional circuses way almost begging for an alliance with the national circus Congress.

Elections have been like this in India for long. Protagonists of the circuses keep on changing. We have a lion (Modi) who has been roaring continuously for the past 5 years, people including his own party fear whether he will run out of steam before D-day. Lion and Lioness jodi of Congress is giving tough competition. The lion family in Congress has propped up “holy cows” in the past. But now the lion (Rahul) is confident of ‘mera time aayega’. AAP was trying to prop up a new concept of an “aam lion” but lions are not “aam aadmi”. They are special. If they appear “aam”, audience won’t worship them.

This leaves the audience (voter) totally confused. He goes in all the circuses, watches all tricks but doesn’t necessarily vote for the circus which amuses him the most. The popularity of BJP’s lion is declining and Congress’ lion is improving. However, Modi is still the most popular among lions by far. The voter would vote for a lion who understands the country, the issues faced by it, and has practical solutions for its problems. Interesting circus this time around….

#Elections2019: Why AAP and Congress need each other in Delhi?

The Congress party has decided that it will not enter into any alliance with AAP for Lok Sabha polls in Delhi. AAP has been wooing the Congress leadership for an electoral understanding to prevent split of anti-BJP votes. This is seen as a setback to efforts of opposition to put up a united / joint candidate against BJP. Kejriwal, unhappy with Congress decision, has accused the grand old party of having a secret understanding with the BJP. Hard core Congress loyalists are questioning its decision and accusing it of playing a big brotherly approach even after being reduced to less than 50 seats in 2014 Lok Sabha polls and failing to open its account in 2015 Delhi Vidhan Sabha elections.

Why did Congress say no to AAP’s offer?

The grand old party wants to revive itself in the national capital. Victories in three Hindi heartland states last December has boosted Congress party’s confidence of making a comeback in Delhi as it considers itself to be the top national alternative to BJP. It didn’t want to commit its 2013 mistake when after supporting AAP from outside in a hung assembly situation, it got wiped off in subsequent election in 2015. Almost the entire vote share of Congress shifted to AAP, with BJP at similar levels in 2015. Additionally, Kejriwal is a maverick leader. He has been attacking Congress top leadership in the past. He could continue to do so outside Delhi thus embarrassing the party. His statement that Congress has a secret understanding with BJP proved this point. Also, AAP unilaterally announced candidates to 6 out of 7 seats, which was seen as pressure tactic by Rahul Gandhi and Sheila Dixit.





Votes % Party Seats Votes %













INC 8 24.7 INC 0


Source: http://www.indiavotes.com

Reasons in favour of alliance

1. INC + AAP > BJP

The vote share of Congress and AAP across polls since the new kid came on the block has been more than BJP, signifying the two together they could take on the party and its famed organizational might.


2013 VS

2014 LS 2015 VS 2017 MCD
















BJP 33.3 46.6 32.3


Source: http://www.indiavotes.com

2. To prevent split of anti BJP vote

Both parties contesting separately will lead to division of the anti-BJP vote. This was evident in 2014 Lok Sabha elections. BJP won all the seven seats sweeping Delhi. In 6 seats, Congress which finished 3rd recorded higher vote share than margin of victory, thus denting the prospects of AAP.

3. Similar anchor voting segments freely transferable

In any alliance, transferability of votes is crucial. AAP and Congress have support of complementary vote blocks. Dalits, Muslims, Gujjars (33% of population), poor and lower classes, which were traditional supporters of Congress in the capital, almost entirely voted for AAP in 2015. In the 2017 MCD elections, these voters were split between AAP and Congress. This vote block is mostly anti-BJP which is likely to stay with these two parties indicating AAP and Congress are natural allies. Due to this factor, the leakages are likely to be low, in other words, both partners can theoretically do a seamless transfer of votes to each other.

5. Congress lacks leaders to match Modi-Kejriwal charisma in the state

Congress party doesn’t have leaders in the state to match the charisma of Modi and Kejriwal. They have once again fallen back to old warhorse Sheila Dixit to head the party. Younger predecessors like Ajay Maken and Arvinder Singh Lovely couldn’t revive the party’s fortunes. At a time when 65% of India’s population is between 18-35 years of age, expecting Sheila to connect with the youth is too much of a task. Central elections are becoming more and more Presidential style. In such a scenario, combined popularity ratings of Rahul-Kejriwal-Sheila might have been higher than Modi.

5. AAP could have proved handy in Punjab as well

AAP has emerged as the main opposition party in Punjab. The alliance could have been extended outside Delhi as well. The two together have 60%+ vote share in the state. AAP and Congress could have swept the 20 seats in Punjab and Delhi. AAP is among few regional parties like BSP which has a good number of votes outside their home states of Uttar Pradesh and Delhi.

Party Name

% of Votes from Main / Home State in 2014 Lok Sabha Polls











Source: www.politicalbaba.com

The arithmetic was clearly in favour of the alliance. However, alliances are not always about arithmetic but also about chemistry, and here is where it lacked. Congress could not forget the acrimonious past. Obviously, it has not been able to shed its big daddy mentality. While polls suggest a hung house, Congress party’s strategy is to get higher number of seats for UPA than the non-NDA regional parties. Even if they would have agreed to contest together, seat sharing arrangement would have posed problems. Its advantage BJP for now in Delhi…..


#Elections2019: Three factors which will decide who wins 2019 Lok Sabha Elections

The Election Commission is likely to announce the election dates for 2019 anytime now. Speculations are rife as to who will win the elections. Pre-poll surveys which were predicting a hung Parliament are re-assessing the situation after surgical strike 2.0. In my opinion these three key factors will determine who wins 2019.

1. To what extent these elections are held Presidential style (Presidential vs Local)

General elections in India are increasingly becoming Presidential style. In 2014 Modi’s persona weighed heavier than any other parameter. According to CSDS which carried out a National Election Study 2014, 28% voters gave importance to PM candidate, 26% to the local candidate and 18% to state level leadership. PM candidate emerged as the top most consideration for voters. With opposition not putting up any PM candidate, Modi had an open field of sorts. Further, 27% people who voted for BJP in 2014, had not done so if Modi was not the PM candidate. This fetched BJP around 5 crore votes out of its total 17 crore votes.

The opposition cannot afford to run a presidential style election this time if it wants to win. Though Rahul is catching up with Modi on popularity ratings, PM is still ahead in the race. Congress and anti-BJP regional parties need to raise the issues on the ground and failures of the existing MP of BJP to exploit the agrarian / rural distress and unemployment issue. Opposition will have to convert a single / national election into 543 mini contests.

Terrorist attack like Pulwama and response in form of Surgical strike 2.0 is helping BJP to make it a Presidential ‘majboot versus majboor sarkar’ contest. The opposition is falling in to the trap by raising the issue of number of casualties. Congress needs to learn from its victories in Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh where it downplayed the leadership angle and focused on local issues, failures of local representatives rather than just targeting Shivraj Chouhan and Raman Singh.

2. First time voters and their preference 

In 2019, 8 crore plus voters aged 18-19 will be voting for the first time in Lok Sabha elections. The total voting population is expected to increase from 81 crores in 2014 to 90 crores in 2019. This number is likely to go up as dates for enrollment are still open. As per an Indian Express report, in 282 seats, first time voters are more than the winning margin in 2019. On an average 1.5 lakh first time voters have registered for each seat. A large section of these first-time young voters may not be tied to any ideology. 29.4% of first-time voters were not supporters of any party as per NES 2014. They are more likely to vote for development rather than caste considerations alone. A media survey in 2014 said that almost half of 15 crore first time voters in the 2014 general election, wanted to see Modi as PM. The turnout among these voters is also higher than other age groups.

Realizing their importance, BJP has made this as their focus group for 2019 polls. In a rally in Chennai on January 14, 2019, Modi asserted that BJP is the natural choice for first-time voters as they are not interested in dynasty parties. He exhorted party workers to organize meetings with first time voters and educate them about his government’s developmental projects.

Congress is also gearing up to get this set of voters on their side. As per an Economic Times report, its manifesto could include, providing English lessons to students in remote areas, sorting out paying guest accommodation of girl students from northeastern states and take initiatives to boost women’s security.

3. Quantum of undecided voters and herd mentality

14% respondents in NES 2014 stated that they decided whom to vote for only on the day of voting. Another 11% just 1 or 2 days before the D-day. This is significant, one-fourth of voters who polled in 2014, meaning about 14 crores out of 55 crores who voted in 2014. This trend was visible not only in 2014 but also in 2004 and 2009 polls. A large section among them could be herd mentality voters, who normally go with the wave. In a wave less election like 2019, these voters could hold the keys to government formation. The real challenge for campaign strategists is to convert this set of voters and bring them in party fold


2009 2014

On the day of voting




A day or two before voting 14.0% 11.0%


To sum up, an exciting contest on the anvil in 2019. Whether BJP or Congress depends upon the ability of ruling party / opposition to nationalize / localize the elections and impress the first time and undecided voters.







#Elections2019: Opposition benefitted more than BJP from Split of Votes in 2014

The Election Commission has announced the dates for 2019 Lok Sabha Elections. The seven-phase poll will begin on 11th April and culminate on 19th May. Results will be announced on 23rd May. The next 2.5 months is likely to witness immense frenzy about elections which will be fought on all fronts, print, electronic, social media and on the ground. Who will win these elections is on everybody’s mind? Before we try to find out who will win 2019, let’s bust some myths about 2014 elections. History doesn’t repeat itself but it does rhyme.

Busting myths about 2014

1. BJP doesn’t enjoy a truly national mandate

For the last five years, many commentators often put out the fact that BJP received only 31% vote share in 2014, while others contesting separately 69%. So, BJP doesn’t enjoy a national mandate. Going by this theory no party ever in India’s general elections history has won a national mandate, as no party has ever won more than 50% vote share. Congress party’s best performance has been 47.8% in 1957.

2. BJP benefitted from split of votes in 2014 as opposition was not united

When the 3rd candidate (second runner up) gets more votes than margin of victory, it can be argued that the winner benefitted from split of votes between runner up and second runner up. Let’s say 1st candidate gets 1 lakh votes, 2nd candidate 80,000 and 3rd 45,000 votes in an election. Here the votes secured by 3rd candidate is more than the margin of victory. An analysis of 543 seats in 2014 shows that the vote share recorded by 3rd position candidate was more than the margin of victory in 223 seats.

Split of Votes.png.jpg

Source: www.politicalbaba.com

So, split of votes helped the victorious candidate in 41% of Lok Sabha seats. Further grilling of data shows that BJP won 80, Congress 26, TMC 25, AIADMK 19, BJD 12, TRS 8 and CPM 7 out of these 223 seats. The split of votes helped Congress and opposition parties more than BJP. While BJP won 80 out of 282 (28%), Congress 26 out of 44 (59%), TMC 25 out of 34 (73%), AIADMK 19 out of 37 (50%), BJD 12 out of 20 (60%), TRS 8 out of 11 (73%) and CPM 7 out of 9 (73%) of its seats due to split of votes.


Seats won due to split of votes

Total Seats Won Proportion


282 28%

























46 106


Total 223 543


Source: www.politicalbaba.com

So, BJP benefitted only in 28% of the seats it won versus national average for all parties at 41%. Opposition parties benefited more than BJP sue to split of votes.

Will Split of Votes Play Similar Role in 2019

a) Impact of split of votes in 2019 on BJP

Out of 80 seats where BJP benefitted from split of votes 38 were in UP, 10 in Bihar, 4 in Delhi, 6 in Jharkhand and 3 each in Haryana, Rajasthan and Punjab. BSP and SP each were runner up in 19 of these seats, INC in 16 and Others in 26 such seats. This time the SP and BSP have formed an alliance, the split of votes may not favour BJP in 38 of these seats, unless Congress puts a spirited fight. In Delhi, BJP would again benefit from split of votes as there has been no alliance between AAP and Congress. In Bihar, JDU which contested separately in 2014 and finished 3rd on most seats, is now back in NDA, which will help. In Jharkhand a Mahagathbandhan has shaped up and is likely to impact 6 seats. All in all, 44 seats which BJP won due to split of votes in 2014, are in danger in 2019.

b) Impact of split of votes in 2019 on INC

Out of 26 seats where Congress benefitted from split of votes in 2014, 7 were in Kerala, 5 in Karnataka, 3 each in Bengal and Assam, 2 each in Punjab and Telangana. In 2019 as well, all these states are likely to face triangular or multi cornered contest which will help Congress due to split of votes. So, there is no danger to these 26 seats, unless Congress loses due to other issues like non-performance of MP, caste / class considerations etc.

c) Impact of split of votes in 2019 on Regional Parties

TMC is not likely to be impacted much as Bengal is likely to witness a quadrangular contest again. Similar situation prevails for TRS, CPM and BJD, triangular contests in Telangana, Kerala and Odisha could benefit these players again. Tamil Nadu is difficult to predict. In 2014 it was AIADMK vs DMK vs NDA vs Congress. AIADMK benefitted in 19 seats due to split of votes. This time a lot of regroupings have happened, AIADMK is in NDA fold, DMK-INC have patched up. Rajnikanth has said his party won’t contest.

d) Triangular contests likely to decline in 2019

The impact of split of votes on elections 2019 is likely to decline vis-à-vis 2014. This is because in many states we may not witness truly triangular contests, like UP, Bihar and Tamil Nadu. These states account for 159 seats, 29% of Lok Sabha strength. 86 of these seats helped winning party through split of votes.



2019 E


BJP vs SP vs BSP





Tamil Nadu AIADMK vs DMK vs NDA



#Elections2019: 55 years versus 55 months

The second reason is that pan-India, the Mahagathbandhan has not shaped up yet. The opposition’s dream of organising one-on-one contests on the 1977 model, has not worked out. Bua and Babua (aunt Mayawati and nephew Akhilesh Yadav) have left out Congress from the UP grand alliance.

Congress has decided it will go alone in West Bengal, Andhra, and Telangana. In Kerala, the Left cannot form an alliance with Congress and neither can Biju ally with the grand old party in Odisha.

In Delhi, AAP and Congress have not been able to sink their differences, while Haryana is likely to see a multi-cornered contest like in the recent by-polls. There is no news of settlement with AIUDF in Assam and neither is PDP expected to join the National Conference-Congress combine in Jammu and Kashmir.

These 10 states itself represent 242 seats (45 per cent of Lok Sabha strength), which will witness a triangular or quadrangular contest.

UPA hasn’t expanded much, the only notable inclusion being Janata Dal Secular in Karnataka. In Bihar and Jharkhand, some small regional parties have joined the UPA, but they are not expected to significantly change the electoral dynamics. If anything, they have increased headaches over seat distribution.

On the other hand, BJP has managed to cool Shiv Sena and added AIADMK into the NDA fold in Tamil Nadu, which may prevent a DMK sweep.

Thirdly, many regional parties have no option, but to back BJP or abstain during the confidence vote, if it comes down to it.

There are several regional parties whose entire politics has been based on anti-Congressism in their home state, as that is the principal opposition party.

These include Naveen Patnaik’s Biju Janata Dal, KCR’s Telangana Rashtriya Samiti and Jagan Reddy’s YSR Congress, to name a few.

Jagan and Rahul/Sonia share an acrimonious relationship. KCR and Rahul can’t see eye to eye. Some of these parties have been helping NDA pass important legislations and register victories in the Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman elections.

These three parties are expected to bag 41, 38 and 43 seats respectively, as per three well-known TV channel surveys conducted in January 2019. This could compensate for some of the losses of BJP in the states where it peaked in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.

Fourthly, the Congress party won just 44 seats in 2014, while UPA could muster only 59. Some opinion polls are projecting 166-167 seats for UPA. Their gains are primarily coming from Tamil Nadu, Punjab, and Jharkhand.BJP has firmed up alliances in Maharashtra (Shiv Sena) and Bihar (JDU+LJP) and is most likely to retain its 2014 tally, as per polls, with minor losses.

Four states, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, and Rajasthan, where the Congress put up a good fight or won recently in state elections, will see a direct contest between the BJP and the Grand Old Party.

These states account for 91 seats with BJP sweeping 88 out of these in 2014. Based on extrapolation of state election results, the Congress could gain 30-40 seats here.

These states account for another 245 seats (45 per cent) where bulk of the gains are expected.

Still, the UPA is expected to fall 60-70 seats short of NDA. Nobody, even anti-BJP brigade at this point of time, is predicting that UPA will cross NDA.

Lastly, the Congress is raising issues, but not providing solutions. It has raised the Rafael issue, but even surveys predicting a hung Parliament, show that this may not be working with the public.

Unless the Congress comes up with specific bribery allegations, this will not work. The party has raised the issue of farmer distress and unemployment, but has not come up yet with specific solutions.

To sum up, while there is a lot of hooplah over a hung house, all latest polls show NDA ahead and within striking distance of forming the government. The narrative of “55 years versus 55 months” is likely to propel NDA and Modi back to power.

This article was first published dnaindia.com on 27th Feb 2019.

Problem of plenty for Mahagathbandhan in Bihar, will it go the UP way?

The Mahagathbandhan (in Bihar is facing teething troubles. The seat arrangement was to be finalised by January 31 and then on February 3 when Rahul Gandhi held a rally at Gandhi Maidan in Patna.

However, there is no news on the distribution of seats even as the National Democratic Alliance has sealed the deal with 17 seats each for Janata Dal (United) and Bharatiya Janata Party and 6 for Ram Vilas Paswan’s Lok Janshakti Party.

The new math

In the last five years, Bihar politics has witnessed all the elements of a Bollywood potboiler. JDU exited NDA in 2013, a week after BJP named Modi as its Campaign Committee chief. In the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, JDU contested independently and was routed, bagging only 2 seats.

The BJP and allies won 31 out of 40 seats. In 2015 Bihar Assembly elections, friends-turned-foe Nitish and Lalu Prasad came together to stop the BJP juggernaut. However, in 2017, relations between the two socialist leaders soured, they turned foes again, and Nitish made a ghar wapsi in the NDA.

Two NDA partners, ex-chief minister Jiten Manjhi’s Hindustan Awam Morcha and Union minister Upendra Kushwaha’s Rashtriya Lok Samata Party have left the NDA and joined the Mahagathbandhan. The aggregate vote share of NDA partners in 2014 was 52.4.%. Against this, the probable Mahagathbandhan which is shaping up recorded 35.6% vote share. HAM and Sharad Yadav’s Party were not in existence then.

 NDA 2014 Vote Share MGB 2014 Vote Share
BJP 29.9% RJD 20.5%
LJP 6.5% INC 8.6%
JDU 16.0% RLSP 3.1%
NCP 1.2%
BSP 2.2%
Total 52.4% Total 35.6%

Source: http://www.indiavotes.com

NDA could face double anti-incumbency after losses in by-polls

NDA suffered reversals in by-polls, held last year. Lalu’s Rashtriya Janata Dal retained 2 seats, Araria Lok Sabha and Jehanabad Vidhan Sabha, despite break-up with JDU. Tejashwi Yadav is emerging as heir to Lalu in RJD. Nitish has been ruling the state for almost 13 years and it is natural to develop anti-incumbency against such long-tenure governments.

The Modi government also has started feeling the heat after defeat in three Hindi heartland states of Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan.

The NDA victory in 2019 Lok Sabha elections was a foregone conclusion a year ago. However, all polls now predict a hung Parliament. NDA could face double-anti incumbency with both state leadership (Nitish) and national leadership (Modi) losing ground to Tejashwi and Rahul,. respectively.

Caste holds the key

Caste is an important consideration for voters in the Hindi heartland. Development politics of Modi trumped caste equations in 2014. However, in 2019, the caste summation is even-stevens for NDA and the Mahagathbandhan. While the upper caste Kurmi and Koeri community are expected to back the NDA, Yadavs, Minorities, Dalits and Mahadalits are expected to back the Mahagathbandhan. Most Backward Classes which account for 24% of population hold the key to the state results.

Problem of plenty in the Mahagathbandhan

Kushwaha left NDA because he was offered just 2 seats as per reports. RLSP contested 4 seats in 2014 and won 3 of them. He felt that in the Mahagathbandhan he could get his due. But the Mahagathbandhan is expanding with new entrants. So much so that today there is a problem of plenty. There are 7-8 parties who are part of the Mahagathbandhan — RJD, Congress, Nationalist Congress Party (Pawar), HAM (Manjhi), VIP (Saini) and RLSP (Kushwaha).

In 2014, the RJD contested on 27, INC on 12, NCP on 1 seat. Tariq Anwar who contested on NCP ticket and won from Katihar has joined Congress. Tejaswi is keen to accommodate BSP (1 seat). Pappu Yadav whose wife Ranjit Ranjan is in the Congress is also hopeful of a ticket from the Mahagathbandhan. And we have not yet counted the Left parties.

A section in the RJD feels that leaders like Sharad Yadav, Manjhi and Kushwaha are well past their prime and do not bring much to the table. The Yadav vote is already with the Mahagathbandhan. Dalits are most likely to vote for parties other than the BJP like we saw in state elections in 2018.

Kushwaha won’t be able to do much damage to NDA with Nitish back in their camp. Tension is brewing among the main players RJD and Congress. While RJD is opposing the 10% reservations for Economically Backward Sections in the General category, Congress supported it in Parliament. Congress is expected to give many tickets to upper caste in its efforts to revive its traditional vote bank. In 2014, one-third of its contestants belonged to forward caste category.

This Aarticle was first published on in.news.yahoo.com on 11 Feb, 2019.

#Elections2019: Uttar Pradesh, A cakewalk for none

Mayawati and Akhilesh have sealed the deal for the state of Uttar Pradesh (UP) which sends the highest number of Members to Parliament. BJP swept the state in 2014 riding on Modi wave and its development agenda trumping caste politics. Opinion polls predict heavy losses for BJP in the state. In this article, we look at eleven key factors which will determine the results of UP in 2019.

Transfer of votes without leakages: The success of any alliance depends upon the ability of partners to transfer their votes to each other with limited leakages. While in Bihar in 2015, a similar Mahagathbandhan (MGB) of Lalu, Nitish and Congress succeeded in doing so, in UP, alliance of SP-Congress failed to shift votes to each other in 2017. An informal alliance of SP and BSP for three bypolls succeeded vote transfer in bypolls last year.

Management of rebels: SP and BSP contested separately in 2014 and on an aggregate fielded 158 candidates. Almost half of these candidates (82 out of 158) will be denied tickets this time due to an alliance. Both parties will have to put in a lot of efforts to quell rebellion and reduce the impact to minimum levels. Uncle Shivpal’s party and even Congress could accommodate such rebels.

Ram Mandir & reverse polarisation: The Mandir issue is hot currently with RSS and other Hindu organisations. UP CM Yogi Adityanath has many times reiterated that bhavya Ram mandir will be built in Ayodhya. In such an environment, any attempts to consolidate the minority vote by MGB in their favour could be counter-productive and unify the Hindu votes towards BJP.

Voting preference of non-Jatavs: The prime reason for decline in BSP’s influence in UP has been that it is losing support of its core vote bank of Dalits. They account for 21 per cent of the population; Jatavs (Mayawati’s caste is 12-14 per cent) and non-Jatavs (7-9 per cent). The support of non-Jatavs which was 64 per cent for party in 2009 declined to 30 per cent in 2014. BJP emerged as the choice for 45 per cent of non-Jatavs in 2014 as they were unhappy with Jatavisation/ Brahmanisation of BSP.

Voting preference of non-Yadav OBCs: OBCs account for 40 per cent of the state’s population. Yadavs (10 per cent) have been backing the SP while non-Yadavs (29 per cent), including Kurmis, Lodhis, Patels mostly supported the BJP till the time Kalyan Singh was there in the party. After his exit in 1999, the party lost the NYOBC votes to SP-BSP. From 43 per cent in 2002, support of Kurmis/ Koeris for BJP declined to 20 per cent in 2009. The fact that Modi belongs to the OBC community, strategic alliance entered with Apna Dal and disenchantment of non-Yadavs with SP due to their neglect led to massive consolidation in favour of BJP (60 per cent) in 2014.

How many sitting MPs are denied tickets? Modi and Shah follow a unique model to curb anti-incumbency. Today there is BJP government at the Centre, in the state and in many local bodies. So, the party has to face what I call triple anti-incumbency. To negate the impact of this, the party usually denies tickets to 30-40 per cent of its existing MPs/ MLAs. In the three state elections held recently, the number was between 25-30 per cent. In MCD elections, all corporators of BJP were denied tickets.

How seriously Congress fights in UP & Priyanka factor: After being snubbed, the Congress has declared it will contest all 80 seats and has made Priyanka in-charge of East UP. She is expected to contest from Rae Bareli. This has enthused the party cadre. The Congress bagged 7.5 per cent vote share in 2014 in peak Modi wave, winning two and finishing second in seats. It also has influence in urban areas and enjoys support from section of upper castes, Muslims and Dalits in the state. If SP, BSP, Congress and RLD had contested together they would have won 57 seats in 2014 instead of 41 if only SP and BSP contested together.

Impact of smaller parties: Smaller parties have traditionally recorded 10-15 per cent vote share in UP. They are community-specific parties like RLD (Jats), Apna Dal (Patel’s), SBSP (Rajbhar), Nishad Party (Mallah) etc. BJP entered into strategic alliances with Apna Dal and SBSP in central and state polls to get the community votes and make inroads. Both allies are unhappy with BJP and posturing for more tickets this time around. Nishad Party is likely to get two seats from MGB quota.

Voting pattern of first-time voters: First-time voters play a crucial role in every election. These young voters mostly do not carry any baggage of ideology and vote on issues/ development. A media survey in 2014 said that almost half of 15 crore first-time voters in the 2014 general election, wanted to see Modi as PM. BJP made good inroads into young Yadav and Dalit voters in UP. As per reports, there are 12.7 crore first-time voters in 2019 out of which 2.2 crores are in UP.

Ability of MGB to manage contradictions in its vote blocks: It will be difficult for a section of SP and BSP cadre to accept each other as allies forgetting their bitter past. Many Dalits have borne the brunt of violence/torture by powerful OBCs.

How does development vs caste politics pan out? In 2014, BJP was able to convert the caste-ridden politics of the state into a narrative of nation-building and got support from all caste/class groups. As AK Verma opines in NES 2014, “This victory signalled a paradigm shift in voter behaviour, with a preference for good governance and development pushing out the identity politics of caste and community.” Whether MGB takes it back to caste politics, remains to be seen!

To sum up, in 2019, voters of UP will evaluate the performance of the Modi government. MGB will try to convert this battle into an ‘agadey vs pichadey’ fight. An interesting battle on the cards with many layers.

This article was first published dnaindia.com on 10th Feb 2019.

#Elections2019: Why Mamata Banerjee is frightened of BJP despite dominating Bengal

Mamata Banerjee’s government denied permission to Yogi Adityanath and Shivraj Singh Chouhan’s helicopters to land in Bengal. This after repeatedly refusing to allow top BJP leaders to hold rallies and conduct yatras in the state. The Kolkata Police, clearly at Mamata’s command, also entered into a stand-off with the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) that had come to the city to interrogate police commissoner Rajeev Kumar in relation to the Saradha chit fund scam.

Where have we seen ruling governments denying the Opposition permission for conducting rallies? Which state police has ever arrested CBI officials who have come for investigation? Why is Mamata afraid of the BJP and its leadership which according to her is a fringe player in the state?

It is difficult to fathom! As part of its project to improve its position in east and south India, the BJP is putting in all efforts and using star campaigners like Narendra Modi, Amit Shah, Yogi and Shivraj in Bengal to exploit people’s frustration with Mamata. Possible gains in Bengal will help the BJP negate some of the expected losses in Hindi heartland states, feel strategists.

Why Mamata is in trouble

1. Trinamool Congress has peaked in Bengal

We have heard a lot about the BJP having peaked in many states like Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan. But so have many regional parties. The Trinamool Congress (TMC) bagged 34 out of 42 seats in Bengal in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.

It is very difficult for the TMC to repeat the performance as the BJP is gaining ground. The Congress has adopted a policy of going it alone in the state and the Left is determined to make a comeback. Mamata knows that if her tally declines, her prime ministerial ambitions will receive a big jolt.

2. TMC is the new Left

People fed up with 34-year rule of the Left Front voted for ‘poriborton’ in Bengal. But it is increasingly becoming clear that Mamata has now occupied the position once held by the CPM-led Left Front. She has adopted a similar strategy of using violence, intimidation and rigging to win elections. Clubs have taken over the neighborhoods. The state government nurtures 20,000-odd clubs with crores of rupees every year and these clubs in turn ensure that the area under them remains loyal to Didi.

3. BJP increasingly taking over from Left as the main opposition to TMC

The BJP, like the CPM, won two seats in 2014. In by-polls held since May 2014, the BJP has done well compared to the CPM and Congress. In 10 by-polls that were held in the state since the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, the BJP won one seat and finished second on five seats. The CPM couldn’t win a single seat in this period. Mamata realises the threat from the BJP and that’s why has upped the ante against the party.

4. BJP highlighting corruption scandals and minority appeasement politics of Mamata

Muslims account for about 30% of the population of Bengal. The BJP has been accusing Mamata of minority appeasement. In 2017, Mamata made an appeal to the Hindu community to halt Durga puja visarjan for sometime as it had overlapped with Muharram. She had also banned arms at Ram Navmi rallies which has evoked a sharp response from the Hindus. The recent face-off between the Centre and state over the Saradha chit fund scam investigations has given a chance to the BJP to highlight the fact that Mamata is shielding the corrupt.

5. Complementary vote blocks

The upper castes and OBCs support the TMC in the state. At the national level, these voters are with the BJP. More than 60% of the upper castes and 30% of the OBCs voted for the BJP in the 2014 general election. Even in Bengal, the BJP enjoys decent support among these two groups — 24% and 21% respectively. Mamata’s fear is that the Hindus, frustrated with her minority appeasement politics, could consolidate behind the BJP and that could cause her significant damage.

6. Congress’s ‘ekla chalo re’ niti

The TMC, at the end of the day, is a splinter group of the Congress and they too share complementary vote blocks, mostly from the minority sections. The minority votes were split in the 2014 general elections between Mamata, Left and Congress. Both TMC and Congress were in discussion for a seat-sharing arrangement. However, talks have failed. If they would have contested together in 2014, the Left Front candidates would have lost from the 2 seats they won. The BJP, however, would have still managed to retain their seats. The Congress has a strong presence in central Bengal which has seven seats on offer. The party won all four seats from this region in 2014. It also enjoys decent support among the non-literate and the agricultural workers in the state. An alliance with the Congress would have provided Mamata some cushion.

7. Strong vote segments of BJP

The BJP enjoys good support among urban voters (25%) and the middle class (21%). Twenty-nine percent of the educated voters (college and above) chose the BJP in 2014. It has been able to create a space among these categories of voters and also the youth.

Opinion polls predict significant improvement in BJP’s performance 

The C-Voter opinion poll predicts seven seats for the BJP while VDP Associates predicts 15 seats. Both the polls project a significant increase in the vote share for the BJP in the region, from 17% to 32% (C-Voter) and to 37% (VDP Associates).

However, challenges remain

The absence of a strong cadre has been one of the BJP’s weaknesses in Bengal. This is coupled with a lack of leadership to take on the charisma of Mamata, and hence the BJP’s progress has been stalled in the state. Bengal is also known for class politics. The image of the Left and now TMC has been that of championing the rights of the poor and downtrodden. The BJP is currently seen as a party of the middle and rich class. But all said and done, general elections 2019 will see a cracker of a contest in Bengal and Mamata would not have it easy.

This Aarticle was first published on mynation.com on 07 Feb, 2019.

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