Why BJP faces a bigger SP-BSP challenge in remaining UP seats | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Why BJP faces a bigger SP-BSP challenge in remaining UP seats

Hindustan Times, New Delhi | ByRoshan Kishore and Abhishek Jha
May 02, 2019 12:00 PM IST

This means that the share of NDA’s spoiler-aided victories in Uttar Pradesh was 18 percentage points higher in the PCs which are yet to go to polls in Uttar Pradesh compared to where polling has already happened.

Forty-one out of 80 parliamentary constituencies (PCs) in Uttar Pradesh will go to the polls in the remaining three phases of the 2019 general elections.

IThe BJP’s 2014 victory in Uttar Pradesh was not just extraordinary in terms of its high seat share, but also victory margins.(AFP FIle)
IThe BJP’s 2014 victory in Uttar Pradesh was not just extraordinary in terms of its high seat share, but also victory margins.(AFP FIle)

Of these, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its ally Apna Dal (AD) had won 38 in the 2014 Lok Sabha election. The Congress won Amethi and Rae Bareli, while the Samajwadi Party (SP) won Azamgarh. The BJP won 35 out of 39 PCs in parts of Uttar Pradesh which have already voted.

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Of the 38 PCs the BJP and AD (henceforth BJP) won in the parts scheduled for polling from the fifth phase onwards, 23 were due to spoilers. This means that the candidate who finished third had more votes than the victory margin in these PCs. Spoilers had helped the BJP win 15 out of the 35 PCs it won in the PCs where voting has already taken place.

This means that the share of NDA’s spoiler-aided victories in Uttar Pradesh was 18 percentage points higher in the PCs which are yet to go to polls in Uttar Pradesh compared to where polling has already happened. Simply put, the BJP’s potential vulnerability due to the coming together of the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and SP in 2019 will be greater in the PCs which have not gone to polls yet. (See Chart 1)

To be sure, the BSP and SP also have an alliance with the Rashtirya Lok Dal (RLD) in the state, but the RLD is not contesting any seats in the PCs which will go to polls in the remaining phases.

The BJP’s 2014 victory in Uttar Pradesh was not just extraordinary in terms of its high seat share, but also victory margins.

The median victory margin in Uttar Pradesh in the 2014 elections was 17.8% (of total votes polled), which is the highest since 1989. This analysis has excluded the five PCs carved out to create the state of Uttarakhand in 2000.

A phase-wise classification of all 80 PCs in Uttar Pradesh (for 2019) shows that the NDA’s 2014 median victory margins were the lowest in PCs which are scheduled to go to polls in the fifth (14 PCs) and sixth (14 PCs) phase. To be sure, median victory margins in each PC cohort (by phase) had increased significantly between 2009 and 2014. (See Chart 2)

Another way to look at the relative strength or weakness of the BJP in PCs going to the polls in each of the phases in Uttar Pradesh is to compare the 2014 vote shares of important parties in each PC cohort (by phase).

The NDA had the highest vote shares in PCs which went to the polls in first (8 seats) and second (8 seats) phase and the lowest vote shares in PCs which went to the polls in sixth (14 seats), third (10 seats) and fifth (14 seats) phases.

It is not possible to compare 2014 vote shares according to 2019 alliance configurations because the RLD and the Congress were in an alliance in 2014. Also, the SP did not field candidates in Amethi and Rae Bareli in 2014. The SP-BSP have not fielded candidates in both these seats this time as well. (See Chart 3)

Another remarkable feature about the PCs going to polls in the sixth and seventh phases in the state is that the vote share of others (parties excluding BJP, AD, SP, BSP, RLD and Congress) was much higher than what it was in the rest of the state. This suggests that fringe players had a much bigger say in these PCs than in the rest of the state. Given the fact that the 2019 contest in Uttar Pradesh is going to be mostly bipolar unlike in 2014, it is likely that a large section of 2014 floating voters will realign themselves with either or the two major coalitions this time. If the SP-BSP alliance gains a majority of these, it could gain a decisive edge vis-à-vis the BJP in the PCs which will go to the polls in the sixth and seventh phase. The vote share of SP candidates who had BSP support in Gorakhpur and Phulpur by-polls held in 2018 was significantly higher than what the SP-BSP had polled together in 2014. The BJP stands to make similar gains from such a consolidation, but it faces the potential disadvantage of double anti-incumbency – running governments both in the centre and state – unlike in 2014

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