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BJP's by-elections' loss: If the opposition thinks that alliance arithmetic will remove the BJP from power in 2019 then check the true analysis
It's been yet another poor showing in by-polls by the BJP. Yogi Adityanath's credibility is at stake as after Gorakhpur and Phulpur, the BJP lost Kairana too. The reasons being cited are many. Some say 'Ganna won over Jinnah' indicating that farmers voted against the BJP. Others say that Yogi Adityanath believes in polarisation which was rejected by the people.

I have read a number of articles which have analysed these by-poll defeats as if a dangerous sign for Modi in 2019. Some said that the grand alliance will remove Modi from power. A noted journalist also wrote a column saying that the BJP can be defeated making all Parliamentary constituencies as local contests. I think that all this is wishful thinking. The fact is that the BJP has been performing poorly in by-polls for a different reason and these by-poll results can't be considered any sign of the BJP's poor prospects in 2019. In this article I shall highlight why the three Lok Sabha seats of Uttar Pradesh namely Gorakhpur, Phulpur and Kairana have nothing to do with 2019 general elections.


The total voters are 1966410. In 2014 there was voter turnout of 50.20 per cent which means 960341 people voted out of which the BJP got 503564 votes whereas SP, BSP and INC got 417093 votes respectively. In 2018 by-poll total 730456 voters voted out of which the BJP got 283462 and RLD got 342922. Around 229885 voters who voted in 2014 didn't vote this time. It's always an established fact that the BJP voters participate less in by-polls. Interestingly, despite the grand alliance, 74171 people who voted in 2014 didn't turn up to vote for them. If there's really anti-incumbency then not only these 74171 voters but also people who voted for the BJP should come and vote for the grand alliance making the RLD vote more than 417093 votes polled in 2014.


The total voters in this constituency are 1903732. In 2014, there was a voter turnout of 54.64 per cent which means1040199 people cast their votes out of which the BJP got 539127 votes whereas SP, BSP and Congress combined got 448474 votes. In 2018 by-elections a total of 934056 voters voted (47.84 per cent turnout) out of which the BJP got 434632 whereas the SP (in alliance with BSP) and the Congress (which also contested) got a total 475371 votes. Here it appears that the SP, BSP and the Congress got 26897 more votes than the 2014 general election whereas the BJP got 104495 votes less in comparison to its vote tally of 2014. But the point to be noted here is that 106143 voters didn't vote compared to 2014.


The total voters in this constituency are 1531643. In 2014, a total of 1119324 (voter turnout 73.08 per cent) votes were cast out of which 565909 votes went to the BJP whereas SP, BSP, RLD (Congress didn't contest) combined got 532201 votes.

The exact vote share of 2018 by-poll has yet not been released because of perhaps re-polling. However, let us consider some news reports which say that the voter turnover was around 61 per cent. Thus total votes cast were 934302 out of which the BJP got 436564 votes and the RLD (grand alliance) got 481181. The BJP got 129345 votes less compared to 2014 general election whereas the grand alliance got 51020 less votes compared to the 2014 general election. The point to be noted here is that around 185022 voters didn't caste their votes compared to the 2014 general election.

If we go through the above data it's pretty clear that the BJP voters have poor turnout in by-polls (it's an established fact). That means had the voter turnover in the by-polls been at par with the 2014 general elections, the BJP wouldn't have lost the elections. Here two theories must be noted. If there's anti-incumbency generally the voter turnover is higher and the number of votes polled by opposition would be more than previous election.

Thus, the opposition should not be in the delusion that forming a grand alliance will be helpful in removing the Modi government just because their votes will be added arithmetically. Even if the alliance adds votes arithmetically, the BJP would still get 226 seats and the NDA 272 seats if the 2014 numbers are added as per alliances excluding the TDP. Then the probable gains of the BJP in the Northeast, Bengal, Odisha, Kerala and Maharashtra need to be added.

To conclude, I would say that if the opposition's wish of winning the 2019 general election is based on this arithmetic of addition of vote shares or votes then I will say they are living in a fool's paradise. Yes, a grand alliance can defeat Narendra Modi-led BJP in 2019 but only if the opposition has a unanimous Prime Ministerial face and a credible counter narrative. In addition to that, the complications of alliances state by state have to be addressed. However, I don't think that the opposition has all this.

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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