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SP-BSP gathabandhan in UP is no guarantee that their vote banks will add up
On 11 November 2018, Republic TV aired national approval rating conducted by C-Voter. I have no objection with their survey. However, at times I find that the deduction of results from the data collected through surveys is highly erroneous.

According to their calculation BJP led NDA might get 43.7%, SP-BSP (MGB) 44.7%, UPA 7.9% and others 3.5%. Their seat calculation is NDA-31, UPA-5, MGB-44 and others nil. On a clarification during the TV debate it was said that SP's vote share would be 25% and BSP's vote share would be 19.7%. Thus, here in the mahagathabandhan (MGB) is just adding their individual vote shares. If SP and BSP contest independently then the BJP will sweep the state with 70 seats.

I am not interested to predict the seat numbers and neither in a position to say at the moment what would be the vote share of individual party. I have just one problem with the analysis that you can't just add individual vote shares of SP and BSP if there's a mahagathbandhan. The reason I will explain below but before that the let's understand why SP-BSP gathabandhan is not exactly RJD-JDU gathabandhan.

Both Nitish Kumar and Lalu Yadav are products of the same revolution. Practically both are sharers of the same vote bank. When Nitish Kumar came out from Janata Parivar, he took away a small percentage of vote banks (around 6-7%). Technically BJP had got much more vote share than JDU at the early period. That's why despite JDU-BJP alliance, RJD used to win. However in the meantime Nitish Kumar able to bring back some vote banks (EBC and MBC). Also he was able to create a follower of his own due to his governance model. In any case its vote share is around 19%. In case of JDU-RJD alliance, the vote banks of both Nitish Kumar and Lalu Yadav integrated easily as both belongs to same Janata Parivar. That's why you can arithmetically add both JDU and RJD's vote shares.

In UP, SP and BSP doesn't belong to same vote bank. In fact BSP took away Congress's SC vote bank in opposition to SP's Yadav vote bank as Congress and SP most of the time share same view. That's why earlier in UP politics BJP and BSP considered to be complimenting with each other. BJP had the upper caste vote bank where as BSP had the SC vote bank.

In 2014 BSP's non-jatav vote bank went to BJP because non-Jatav felt that they are ignored and discriminated by jatav communities. Mayawati belongs to Jatav community. In UP there's always a confrontation between SC and Yadav community because they are mostly suppressed by Yadavs. In plainly speaking vote banks of SP and BSP are not complimenting each other. Thus if there's really a Mahagathbandhan between SP and BSP, I don't think the vote banks will be integrated. Thus there could be exodus of community from both BSP and SP and may head to BJP because Congress is no more a player in UP. Those who cite BJP's by election loss in Gorakhpur, Phulpur and Kairana proves integration of SP-BSP gathabandhan, then I would suggest them not to go through such by-elections where voter turnout is very low. In any case you can refer my article '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' published in this platform on 2 June 2018.

To understand why I say a conflicting vote banks never add up, let's get the West Bengal 2016 assembly election result where Congress and Communists made an alliance. In 2014 Parliament election the vote share of TMC, Congress, CPM and BJP were 39.05% (34 seats), 9.58% (4 seats), 29.71% (2 seats) and 16.80% (2 seats) respectively. The ideal of Left and Congress alliance was that if vote share of both is added then it would be 39.29% (29.71+9.58) which would be more than TMC's 39.05%. However the assembly results showed that Congress got 12.25% and CPM got 19.8 percent vote share. Congress vote share marginally increased whereas CPM lost around 10% vote share. At the same time BJP increased its vote share marginally to 10.2% but TMC benefited a lot getting 44.9% vote share which is around 5% more vote share. This comparisons of vote share is between 2014 general election and 2016 assembly election.

Now, everyone knows that the vote bank of Congress and Communist are ideologically contradictory to each other. Before TMC, Congress and Communists are rival parties. They are in fact rivals in Kerala. Now when there is an alliance of two parties whose vote banks are contradictory to each other then what happens? The answer is they don't add up. The net 8% vote share (CPM lost 11 percent, Congress gained 3%) had to go other parties. Where would they go? Simple, the party which is likely to win. In case of West Bengal it's TMC. Thus TMC got around 5% additional vote share (from CPM) and others including NOTA got additional three percent.

The case is identical in UP. If there would be an alliance between SP and BSP then I am afraid that BSP would lose another 5 to 6% of vote share which in all probability to go to BJP because Congress is a not a player at all.

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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