While BJP Frets Over Losing Bypolls, There is a Bigger Issue They Need to Worry About
While the BJP, during bypolls, has failed to retain eight of its Lok Sabha seats it won in 2014, what should worry the BJP most is that they have suffered a major dip in their vote share as compared to four years back.
File photo of Prime Minister Narendra Modi (R) and BJP president Amit Shah. (PTI)
New Delhi: Opposition parties, including regional satraps, joining hands to form a front against the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) isn't the only worry for the ruling party at the Centre.
While the party, during bypolls, has failed to retain eight of its Lok Sabha seats it won in 2014, what should worry the BJP most is that they have suffered a major dip in their vote share as compared to four years back.
The BJP’s drubbing in Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab and Uttar Pradesh bypolls has come with a huge swing of votes away from the ruling party in just four years.
Interestingly, six out the eight seats that BJP couldn’t retain – baring Kairana in Uttar Pradesh and Bhandara-Gondiya in Maharashtra – have gone to the Congress or Samajwadi Party. The Kairana bypoll was fought by the RLD in an alliance with the SP, BSP and Congress.
BJP's Losses Against Congress
Since 2014, BJP has lost four crucial bypolls to its arch-rival Congress. In Madhya Pradesh’s Ratlam, BJP’s vote share went down by almost 10 percent from what it got during the Lok Sabha elections. The party had managed to get 50.41 percent vote share and when the bypolls were held next year, BJP’s vote share decreased to 41.88 percent. The Congress party with 50.19 of the vote share won the seat.
BJP’s share also saw a substantial dip during the 2017 bypolls in Gurdaspur, Punjab wherein the party lost 10.58 percent of the 46.25 percent vote share it got.
The following year, PM Narendra Modi-led party’s bypoll losses to Congress grew bigger. During the bypolls for Alwar, Rajasthan, the saffron party managed to get 40.07 of the vote share, which was 20 percent less than what its numbers in 2014 Lok Sabha elections. In 2014, the party had enjoyed 60.42 of the vote share after pushing Congress to a distant second with 33.71 of the vote share. This time, however, Congress beat the BJP by a handsome margin irrespective of the infighting between Sachin Pilot and Ashok Gehlot’s camps in the state.
In Rajasthan’s another Lok Sabha constituency, Ajmer, the BJP again saw its vote share go down drastically during the bypolls. During the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, BJP had got 55.14 of the vote share, which fell by almost 12 percent during the bypolls this year. The Congress won the Lok Sabha seat in Alwar by over 1.96 lakh votes and the seat in Ajmer by over 84,000 votes.
BJP's Losses Against Samajwadi Party
The BJP’s biggest loss, in terms of losing face, came during the bypolls in Phulpur and Gorakhpur seats of Uttar Pradesh.
The loss in Gorakhpur came as a personal embarrassment for Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath who had scored five straight wins from the seat since 1998. He had vacated the seat after being appointed as chief minister.
In Gorakhpur, the saffron party saw a 5.27 percent decline of its vote share. The Samajwadi Party saw an enormous increase of 27.12 percent in its vote share during the bypolls, taking their tally to 48.87 in comparison to 21.75 they had got in 2014.
Similar events unfolded in the Phulpur seat as well. Here, the saffron party lost 13.62 of its vote share. Like Gorakhpur, the Samajwadi Party saw a substantial increase of 26.62 percent vote share in comparison to their performance in 2014 elections.
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