Haryana election result shows PM Modi's popularity does not automatically assure BJP victory

Delhi Oct 25, 2019, 03.58 PM(IST) Written By: Shyam Balasubramanian

File photo: PM Narendra Modi. Photograph:( AFP )

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Narendra Modi wave doesn't seem to have translated to the Assembly elections for the BJP

Haryana voted en masse for the BJP in the recent Lok Sabha election and gave Narendra Modi all 10 Lok Sabha seats. But that's just that. The BJP found itself unable to convert the widespread support for the Prime Minister into a mandate for its government led by Manohar Lal Khattar. This, despite the fact that the party managed to increase its vote share over its 2014 performance.

The BJP won 40 of the 90 constituencies in the Haryana Assembly, which means it is six seats short of the simple majority needed to form a government on its own. It scored 36.45 per cent of the votes, which was an increase of 3.25 percentage points over its 2014 performance of 33.2 per cent, which had give it 47 seats in the Assembly.

However, the sticking point that led most observers to expect a massive electoral sweep for the BJP in the 2019 Assembly election was the fact that the party had received a mind-boggling 58 per cent of the votes. This was an extremely steep increase from the 34.84 per cent the party had scored in the 2014 Lok Sabha election.

However, this very real Modi wave doesn't seem to have translated to the Assembly elections for the BJP.

The Congress managed to hold on to its vote share in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections and notched an increase of eight percentage points over its score in the 2014 Assembly elections. This gave the party victories in 31 seats, up from 15 seats in 2014.

But, if the BJP's vote share increased and the Congress's vote share increased, where did these votes come from? The likely answer to that is that they came from the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD), which crashed from an inelastic and steady vote share between 22 and 24 percentage points over the past few elections to a mere 2.45 per cent.

The Jannayak Janata Party (JJP), which broke away from the INLD in a family feud, seemed to be the biggest beneficiary of the INLD's decimation. The fledgeling party managed to score victories in 10 seats. The JJP's vote share was not presented separately by the Election Commission of India since it is not yet recognised. Whether the votes that abandoned the INLD vote shifted in totality to the JJP remains to be seen.

Simply put, this many not exactly have been a vote against the government of ML Khattar. It is just that vote bloc migrations as a result of the collapse of the INLD put in place a situation where the increases in vote share just didn't convert into seats for the BJP. Only one thing is certain, there was a massive Modi wave in the 2019 Lok Sabha election, and the Prime Minister's popularity need not necessarily translate to victories for the Chief Ministers he put in place over the past five years.

(This article was originally published on The DNA. Read the original article)

(Disclaimer: The opinions expressed above are the personal views of the author and do not reflect the views of ZMCL)