By Harihar Swarup
Now that most gruelling election campaign has come to a grinding halt, one can hazard a guess on the number of seats, the BJP, the Congress, Mayawati-Akhilesh alliance in Uttar Pradesh and the BJP’s allies Shiv Sena and Nitish Kumar’s party will get?
What appears certain is that neither the BJP nor the Congress is going to get a majority. The regional parties will play an important role in making the government. The BJP will remain far behind 282 seats it got during Modi wave in 2014. According to poll assessment the BJP’s tally may come down to 165 or utmost touch 180. Irrespective of the number of seats— Shiv Sena and Nitish Kumar get —they will desert Narendra Modi if BJP gets less than 200 seats.
It is alleged in some quarters that the BJP may try to manipulate EVMs to get a majority. This is an impossible task to manipulate 60-70 crore voters by EVMs. History has shown performance of EVMs is fair despite some lacuna here and there.
Uttar Pradesh, of course, is a decisive factor. In 2014 and 2017 assembly elections in the state, the votes secured by BSP and SP were mostly Dalit, Yadav, Muslims. They were core votes. Dalit-Yadav-Muslim votes are not going to budge in the present Lok Sabha election. Along with them are Peace Party, Quami Ekta Party, AAP and the Congress. If voting has taken place on this pattern the BJP may not get even 15 seats in U.P.
In this scenario, can BJP get 282 seats it secured during Modi wave in U.P. in 2014? This is an impossible proposition in 2019. The second block of BJP seats is Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, and Chhattisgarh. In 2014 the BJP won 88 of 91 seats and its direct confrontation with the Congress. In the Assembly election the Congress gave a tough fight to the BJP in Gujarat and defeated the saffron party in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh. The inference in the Lok Sabha election is clear.
The third block comprises Maharashtra and Karnataka. The BJP got in 2014, 44 of 76 seats. The saffron party cannot retain this number when the Modi wave has waned.
The fourth block includes North-East, smaller states and centrally ruled states numbering 17, having 49 seats. West Bengal and Odisha are also in this block. BJP hopes, perhaps, in vain that these states may make up the losses the BJP is likely to suffer in other states.
So, according to electoral math, the BJP many get 160-180 seats, marking the beginning of coalition era.
One can now put together the basic arithmetic of the two sub-waves. The Mahagatbandhan is heavily centred around Jatavs, Yadavs, Jats and Muslims, adding roughly 40-42 percent of the population. The BJP’s vote is concentrated among the upper castes, some non-Yadavs OBCs (for example —Mauryas, Lodhs and Kurmis, each about two per cent of the state population), and select non-Dalits been part of the BJP base, the party’s catchment areas would have been a whooping 58-60 per cent, but that is not the case. For example, the Pasis, the second largest Dalit caste, constitute roughly three per cent of the state population, are split between Mahagathbandhan and the BJP. It is about 40-42 per cent of the state’s population.
Pollsters say that strength of the Congress will certainly go up than ever-low of 40. It is estimated that the Congress may get between 120-140 seats and become a major player in post 2019 scenario. (IPA Service)