Elections to two states – Maharashtra and Haryana – are slated to be held on 21st October. Both these states are held by the BJP. The party and its alliance partners swept the states in general elections held in April-May this year. With Congress in complete disarray, the results are a forgone conclusion as per commentators. Even hardcore supporters of the grand old party do not see any chance for Congress party in these elections.
These elections to be held within six months of general elections are important to gauge the public mood and ascertain whether Modi wave is still intact or not? In 2014, riding on Modi tsunami and good performance in general elections, BJP had snatched these three states from Congress. Maharashtra is the financial capital of India. Results in Haryana could have an impact on Delhi and Bihar elections to be held next year as they share border with these states.
With victory a foregone conclusion for supporters and many commentators, people have started speculating about BJP / NDA’s tally in these states. We will attempt to predict the same using four methods.
- Basis assembly leads in 2019 general elections
In Lok Sabha 2019 elections, NDA was leading in 227 seats in Maharashtra and 79 in Haryana. On this basis, NDA is expected to win more than three-fourth majority in both these states. However, a note of caution, the Lok Sabha trends may not hold true for vidhan sabha, as state elections are held on local issues rather than national issues.
Modi has been able to successfully make our elections Presidential style, where you vote for the leader, rather than for the local candidate. The fact that these elections will be held within six months of general elections also means one cannot ignore this factor fully.
- Basis 2014 assembly leads and actual results
To partially neutralize the impact of Modi factor and national issues from assemblyleads a discount factor needs to be adopted. Modi impact is likely to be not of similar magnitude in state elections and local issues could outweigh national issues.
- In Maharashtra, while NDA was leading in 232 assembly constituencies in 2014 Lok Sabha elections, it ended up winning 185* seats in assembly polls held after six months (-20%).
*To note, BJP and Shiv Sena contested separately, their tally has been aggregated to arrive at this number.
- In Haryana, while NDA was leading in 52 assembly constituencies in 2014 Lok Sabha elections, it ended up winning 47 seats in assembly polls held after six months (-10%).
As we see, the discount factor ranges from 10% to 20%. Applying these discount factors on the Lok Sabha leads we get the following results for 2019.
|2019 Lok Sabha Leads||2019 Assembly Results Expected|
|Tally||Low (20%*)||High (10%*)|
On this basis:
- NDA is expected to win anywhere between 182 to 204 seats in Maharashtra.
- NDA is expected to win anywhere between 63 to 71 seats in Haryana.
Expected Tally of BJP in MH and Haryana
Source: In house calculations, no survey
Alliances will play a role too
The results would also depend upon the alliances sealed by the opposition parties in these states. To note, Congress and NCP contested separately in 2014 in Maharashtra. Haryana witnessed a triangular contest between Congress, BJP and Om Prakash Chautala’s Indian National Lok Dal (INLD).
Congress and NCP have been hit by defections and exodus and their numbers could actually be much lower in 2019 even if Sena-BJP split and they contest together.
Haryana could witness a quadrangular contest this time around helping BJP as it would split the anti-government vote. Chautala’s INLD has split with son Dushyant forming his own party Jannayak Janata Party (JJP).
With Modi popularity at peak, can he fetch a premium
We have applied a discounting factor to BJP’s assembly leads in 2019 to arrive at the projections. However, Modi is at the peak of his career, bold steps like abrogation of Article 370, bifurcation of J&K and passage of Triple Talaq Bill have cemented his position as India’s strongest PM ever, surpassing Indira Gandhi.
On this basis, can he fetch a premium for the party. NDA was leading in 227 / 288 seats in Maharashtra? This cannot be ruled out. However, in Haryana the party was leading in 79 / 90 seats. It will be difficult to beat this as its already close to 90% of the house strength.
To sum up, BJP’s prospects in the three states going to polls appear bright. The collapse of the leaderless Congress party has given it an unbeatable advantage.
Image Credit: Outlookindia