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Who will win Chhattisgarh Assembly election 2018?
When the JCC and the BSP formed an alliance many including myself asserted that the BJP will retain power in Chhattisgarh very easily. Ajit Jogi is an ex-Congress leader, will damage the Congress's vote share and split anti-incumbency votes helping the BJP in a walkover.

However, one of my friends suggested why not Chhattisgarh's 2018 result replicate Delhi Assembly election result of 2013. During 2013 Delhi assembly election, AAP was a new comer and took 28 seats at the expense of Congress' seats where Congress was reduced to 8 seats only. The BJP, although was the single largest party with 32 seats, it fell short of majority by 4 seats. If there's a hung assembly why cannot the Congress form a post poll alliance with the JCC-BSP to form a government? Well I have to say yes, that's possible.

Then another friend suggested that Chhattisgarh might also replicate 2015 Delhi assembly election where the entire Congress vote bank as well as anti-BJP (due to incumbency) can be as whole transferred to JCC-BSP combine who would sweep Chhattisgarh like AAP swept Delhi then.

Yet another friend suggested that Congress might be success in replicating Punjab assembly election where AAP too was a strong player and SAD-BJP government was facing 10 years of anti-incumbency. I immediately discard this suggested outcome because Punjab assembly election 2017 was never a Congress story rather a victory for Captain Mariner Singh. In Chhattisgarh Congress doesn't have such a face? However I thought to do an analysis if there's any chance of replication of Delhi assembly election 2013 or 2015 in Chhattisgarh assembly election 2018. We will use data from 2003 assembly election.

Let us first see the voter turn outs in 2003, 2008, 2013 and 2018 which are 57 per cent, 71.09 per cent, 74.65 per cent and 76.5 per cent. There's an increase of voter turnout but BJP government retained power in 2008 and 2013. That means higher voter turnout has nothing to do with incumbency or anti-incumbency more like Madhya Pradesh. The higher voter turnout might be attributed to awareness among voters and parties especially BJP's cadres who bring the voters to polling booths in large numbers in every election.

Now let us see the vote share of BJP and Congress since 2003. BJP's vote share in 2003, 2008 and 2013 are 39.26 per cent, 40.33 per cent and 41 per cent. Similarly, the Congress's vote share in 2003, 2008 and 2013 was 36.71 per cent, 38.63 per cent and 40.3 per cent. The point to be noted is that both the BJP and Congress are increasing their vote share in every election at the cost of others like independents and small parties. Next let's see the seats won by them. The BJP won 50, 50 and 49 seats in 2003, 2008 and 2013 where as Congress won 37, 38, 39 in 2003, 2008 and 2013. That means both the BJP and the Congress irrespective of their vote share (although increased in every election) maintained the same seats (BJP 49-50 and INC 37-39). Another point to be noted is that the Congress lost its premier leaders like Ajit Jogi, Vidya Charan Shukla etc during these years. But that didn't affect its numbers (neither increased due to assassination of Vidya Charan Shukla by naxals nor decreased due to lack of local mass leader.

Let's examine this bit differently. The difference between vote shares of BJP and Congress since 2003 is 2.55 per cent in 2003, 1.7 per cent in 2008 and 0.7 per cent in 2013. It's interesting to note that Congress is reducing its vote share gap in every election and in 2013 it remained only 0.7 per cent yet there is no change in seats won. What it means?

I think it means that both BJP and Congress has separate constituencies where one is very dominant and other is weak. Let me put this way that in 49 seats BJP is very dominant where Congress is very    weak. Similarly Congress is very strong in 37 seats where BJP is very weak. Only one seat is there where Congress and BJP are equal footing and may lose or win. (For simplicity I have considered from seats won. Practically there are number of seats which alternatively goes to Congress and BJP keeping the total same).

Now if we put JCC-BSP, where they will stand, but before that let's consider BSP's vote share and seats in last three elections. BSP had vote share of 4.3 per cent, 6.1 per cent and 4.3 per cent in 2003, 2008 and 2013. Its seats were also 1 in 2003, 2 in 2008 and 1 in 2013. Here point to be noted that in 2003 NCP had 7.02 per cent vote share with 1 seat. In 2008 NCP lost its vote share to BJP, Congress and BSP and seat to BSP. Further in 2013 BSP lost extra vote share and seat to Congress maintaining its 2003 vote share of 4.3 per cent.

Then what's the deducing? The logic is simple that BJP has its core vote bank very strongly and even a 2-3 per cent down in vote share doesn't change its seat numbers. (Equally also right that an increase in vote share too is not going to change the number of seats (48-51). Now strong area of JCC is only in Congress dominated areas and BSP has just one or two Constituencies where it can decide the fate. Thus even if total vote share of Congress transfer to JCC-BSP, it can't go beyond 39 seats. That means mahagathabandhan or not in Chhattisgarh BJP to maintain its numbers.

The difference between Delhi and Chhattisgarh is that former has a homogenous voting class whereas Chhattisgarh has a heterogeneous voting class where vote banks both parties are almost fixed 7 not going to change so easily. Thus my conclusion is that there is no replication of Delhi assembly election of 2013 or 2015. I can also say had Congress-JCC-BSP too fought the election combined yet their numbers wouldn't go beyond 39-40 seats. Also BJP will not be benefited due to split of Congress votes.

The above is my analysis. Is it going to be proved on 11 December 2018? I would say that let's wait till than with a caveat that in election anything can be possible and my analysis might also be proved wrong, But till then I would like to back my analysis.

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 merinews.com. In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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