The BJP makes a clean sweep despite satisfaction with the AAP government
The BJP with a more than 56% vote share simply outdistanced the AAP (18%) and the Congress (22.5%), whose cumulative vote ended up being less than that of the BJP in the seven constituencies in Delhi. The Congress remained a distant second in almost all the constituencies.
There are two key factors responsible for the AAP’s ignominious defeat and the BJP’s spectacular victory. First, the common pool of the support base of the Congress and the AAP got split between them because of the failure to forge a pre-poll alliance. The Muslim votes shifted to the Congress en bloc.
Table 1: Caste and Community wise distribution of vote share
With the core upper caste support base of the BJP remaining intact, addition of other caste group votes to the party’s kitty contributed to its victory. The vote share of the AAP and the Congress among the upper class and Other Backward Classes did not match the BJP’s huge support among them. Even 44% of Dalits voted for the BJP, which is 2 percentage points more than that of the two parties combined.
The survey shows that among college-educated voters, the BJP got nearly seven of every 10 votes and among middle and upper class voters, its vote share was close to two-thirds. This is not unusual though as the party has always done much better than average among these segments.
The survey found that Congress and AAP supporters were not in favour of the two parties coming together. One-third of those who had voted for the Congress in this election as well those who had voted for it in 2014 and two-fifths of those who voted for the AAP in 2019 and 2014 were of the opinion that the two parties did the right thing by not coming together.
Table 2: Congress-AAP alliance would never have clicked; many of their supporters were opposed to an alliance
The second factor that contributed to the BJP’s win is the popularity of Narendra Modi. More than half the respondents (56%) said that they wanted Mr. Modi as Prime Minister again. Rahul Gandhi and Arvind Kejriwal were the choice of just 14% and 5% respondents, respectively. Mr. Modi’s popularity seems to have helped the BJP overcome anti-incumbency at the constituency level as only 44% of the voters were found to be satisfied with the sitting BJP MP’s performance.
The survey found over two-thirds of voters to be satisfied with the performance of the BJP government at the Centre. Though the satisfaction with the AAP-led Delhi government was higher still at 72%, the voters seem to have made a distinction between a State election and a national election.
Table 3: Voting preference of 2019 voters in the event of a snap assembly election (%)
This is because we find that the BJP secured far more votes than the AAP among even those voters who said they were satisfied with the Kejriwal government’s performance.
This finding, in fact, indicates that the AAP need not be disheartened by the electoral defeat because in the Assembly election next year, many of those who have voted for the BJP may well vote for the AAP.
Asked who they would vote for if Delhi were to have a snap Assembly election, one-fourth of those who voted for the BJP were found to have switched to the AAP. One-fourth of Congress supporters too indicated the same. Moreover, it was found that 54% of Delhi’s voters were in favour of giving the AAP another chance to govern and 36% said the next Chief Minister of Delhi should be Mr. Kejriwal again, including many of those who indicated a preference for Mr. Modi as PM. .
(Biswajit Mohanty is an Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science, Deshbandhu College, Delhi University)
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