Lok Sabha elections 2019: Repeating 2014 UP show may prove to be tough for BJP - Hindustan Times
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Lok Sabha elections 2019: Repeating 2014 UP show may prove to be tough for BJP

Hindustan Times, New Delhi | ByRoshan Kishore and Abhishek Jha
Apr 09, 2019 07:45 AM IST

Unlike in the 2014 Lok Sabha and the 2017 assembly elections – both of which the BJP swept – the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and Samajwadi Party (SP) are in an alliance along with the Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD), a political party with a footprint in the western part of the state.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its ally Apna Dal swept Uttar Pradesh in the 2014 elections. They got 73 out of 80 seats in the state with a 43.6% vote share.

A simple addition of SP-BSP votes in 2014 reduces the NDA’s tally of 73 to 37 in Uttar Pradesh.(AFP)
A simple addition of SP-BSP votes in 2014 reduces the NDA’s tally of 73 to 37 in Uttar Pradesh.(AFP)

Unless the BJP increases this vote share in 2019, it will be extremely difficult to replicate the 2014 performance in terms of seats.

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The reason for this is simple. Unlike in the 2014 Lok Sabha and the 2017 assembly elections – both of which the BJP swept – the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and Samajwadi Party (SP) are in an alliance along with the Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD), a political party with a footprint in the western part of the state.

A simple addition of SP-BSP votes in 2014 reduces the NDA’s tally of 73 to 37 in Uttar Pradesh.

In western Uttar Pradesh, adding RLD votes to the SP-BSP votes could bring down this tally even more.

Since the RLD contested the 2014 elections in alliance with the Congress, its exact vote share is difficult to ascertain.

To be sure, there is no guarantee that voter preferences will remain the same as in 2014.

Electoral alliances can also lead to coordination and mis-coordination effects.

This means that the combined vote share of SP-BSP-RLD alliance could get a bigger or smaller vote share than what it had in 2014.

It is entirely possible that a section of SP-BSP-RLD voters shift towards the BJP due to contradictions at the local level. However, there is nothing to role out the reverse – BJP voters from shifting to other parties – in principle.

A look at party-wise vote shares in Uttar Pradesh since 1989 show that 2014 was not a normal election in the state’s political history.

So, it is entirely possible that the BJP’s vote share could come down from its unprecedented level in 2014.

Although Lok Sabha and assembly elections are not strictly comparable, the BJP’s vote share did come down by 3 percentage points from the 2014 Lok Sabha.

A parliamentary constituency wise extrapolation of the 2017 results shows that while the NDA would still have got 70 out of the 80 seats in the state, its victory margin came down in 45 of 67 seats it retained compared to 2014.

Because the SP and the Congress fought the 2017 assembly elections in an alliance, it is not possible to add SP-BSP-RLD votes to check how the 2019 alliance would have fared against the NDA.

However, it is extremely likely that the BJP would be far more vulnerable in terms of seats than it was in 2014.

While electoral predictions are always hazardous, it can be said with some degree of confidence that 2014 vote share will not bring the 2014 seat share to the NDA in Uttar Pradesh in 2019.

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