When 30 isn’t enough

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The stunning results from the Delhi elections have left pollsters and political parties scrambling for answers.

The BJP camp must be perplexed. After all, the party largely managed to retain its vote share when compared to the 2013 elections.

In addition, this is similar to the vote share the party received in the 2014 LS elections and the subsequent assembly elections.

Year of Delhi elections BJP Vote Share (%)
1998 34.02


2008 36.34
2013 33.07
2015 32.2


Recent Elections BJP Vote Share (%)
2014 LS 31
Jharkhand 2014 31.3
Maharashtra 2014 27.8
Haryana 2014 33.2

The big lesson for the BJP is that 30% isn’t enough if voter preferences consolidate.

 As the Congress vote share sinks in many states, its erstwhile vote bank is looking for credible alternatives. Unfortunately for the BJP, it has not yet managed to shape its social and economic image enough to appeal to these voters.

This is both good news and bad news for all parties involved. The Congress desperately needs to get its house in order, but there is clearly a large space for pro-poor, secular politics.

The BJP has a large vote share to capitalize on if it can appeal to it. Yes, polarization works in increasing vote share (as evidenced in Karnataka and U.P). But this polarization may have limited fruits in a hungry, new India

For AAP and other parties, it would appear that voter consolidation is happening at a radical pace. Parties and leaders with a positive mandate and promises have a ready audience. But as the BJP and Modi have fast discovered, this is also an impatient, punishing, new India.


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