Why the M vote matters less in Uttar Pradesh

I am a BJP supporter. Which means that I must often answer to myself, if not to others, why I would support the BJP. First of all, I am glad the answer is not in terms my caste or sub-caste, unlike what could be said for the vast majority of supporters of several major parties. Ok, so what’s the reason? Can I honestly say that the BJP doesn’t have people who are corrupt, rotten and slimy to the core? Of course not, especially these days with an increasing flood of political refugees from the Congress and other political filth washing up on the shores of the BJP, which is greedily and gladly giving them asylum.

Well, being a right winger, I am a big believer in the principle of “rational self-interest”. It means that people do best when working in their own self interest for obvious personal gain, rather that when they are motivated by abstract concerns such as the common good, humanity,  loyalty or even patriotism. Self-interest is the trump card due to which free enterprise beats socialist imposition every single time.

So, the reason I support the BJP is that I feel their interests are aligned with our national interests (and the exact reverse is true for Congress and other caste based parties). The BJP has a clear electoral dividend to harvest from a developed, modern India and the Congress has literally nothing to gain from it. You don’t need BJP to be honest, dedicated or even patriotic: all that matters is that a developed India helps BJP win more elections. So if you want a developed India, go for BJP.

Here’s why. Let’s see what makes Gujarat such an impregnable fortress for BJP? It’s not Hindutva. It’s not even Modi. It’s the simple arithmetic of urbanization. The 182 member Gujarat Assembly has 65 urban seats and the BJP has a stranglehold on them. Currently, it has 62 of these 65 seats! And no matter what, it will always have these seats. In Gujarat, the BJP always starts its batting from 60* not out and Congress starts batting from 0*. With the majority mark just ~30 seats away at 92, it is easy to see why BJP is quite simply invincible in Gujarat.

Let’s take Bihar, where the BJP recently lost very badly. How many seats does BJP have in the Bihar Assembly? Just 53. Do you know how many of these 53 seats are urban seats? 27! That’s right…more than half of BJP’s seats in Bihar came from urban areas. In fact, despite a completely united opposition, the BJP was actually leading in urban areas! That’s how strong  BJP is in urban India, especially now under Modi. Spare a moment here to look at Bihar’s sister state of Jharkhand. Although BJP usually dominates all Lok Sabha elections in Jharkhand, it usually never does quite as well in Jharkhand Assembly polls. But BJP has managed to stay the single largest party in Jharkhand ever since the state was established in 2000. Why? Because BJP wins all the urban seats in the state and unlike Bihar the urban seats are almost enough to guarantee largest party status to BJP.

Trivia: Jharkhand might be the only state in the Republic in which BJP has always been single largest party. Are there any others? I wonder…

So, what does this have to do with the M vote in Uttar Pradesh? Well, the key difference between UP and Bihar is urbanization. Uttar Pradesh is a lot more urbanized than Bihar and this will make all the difference.

Now the fun part. Yes, UP has a HUGE Muslim vote, like Bihar. But wait…this M vote is not equally distributed. The M vote in urban areas can go up to a formidable 35% but in rural areas it is more like 15%. Which means the M vote is not big enough to destroy the BJP in rural areas, while BJP is going to sweep the urban areas anyway.

 

To estimate how BJP might do in urban UP, let’s start from the BJP’s lowest point in Bihar. Even in Bihar, we know that BJP was ahead of the UNITED opposition in urban areas. Now, add in these factors:

(a) Opposition in UP is divided into at least two pieces, sometimes even 3 pieces.

(b) UP has a huge upper caste vote, unlike Bihar.

(c) UP has a long history of responding to Hindutva, unlike Bihar which is more of a Mandal state.

(d) Aura of surgical strikes around Modi.

It is now not difficult to see why BJP will simply SWEEP urban Uttar Pradesh. And urban UP accounts for a huge number of seats. Then turn to rural areas where there simply aren’t enough M voters to stop the BJP. And while Muslims are still confused about the strongest opponent of BJP, the news of Muslims looking to polarize is already common sense information for every Hindu in Uttar Pradesh. Those planning to polarize are still trying to decide who to polarize around, but counter-polarized votes know exactly where to go.

And these days, I believe there is a block of at least 5% that votes for “development”. These are the most informed and conscious voters (mainly youth), who are not thinking in terms of caste. In Bihar, the BJP had to share this vote with Nitish Kumar. In UP, Akhilesh could have got some of this, but this 5% segment I am talking about has already understood that he isn’t going to win. Mayawati actually could have gotten a bite of this 5% by showcasing her impressive law and order record. But she hasn’t done that….instead she is busy cravenly appeasing the M community. And this 5% block of conscious and informed voters finds that kind of politics simply abhorrent. So, rest assured that the BJP is getting this 5% in its entirety. In a state where the last two elections were won by the party that got a mere 30% of the vote (SP didn’t actually even reach 30% in 2012…they were 29 and some fraction), this means UP is already in the BJP’s bag.

At 30%, BJP will emerge as single largest party. Every additional 1% will give them 15-20 more seats. At 35%, they will be close to 300. I believe the BJP has already crossed the 30% threshold quite comfortably. With a base of 43% from the Lok Sabha polls and all recent opinion polls showing Modi’s popularity almost at same level as mid 2014, it would be surprising if BJP is anywhere below 33% at the moment. That’s my assessment. I will wait for one more survey… the one from Dr. Patil to be completely sure. Otherwise, this election is “done and dusted“.

 

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17 thoughts on “Why the M vote matters less in Uttar Pradesh

  1. Very good analysis.UP has 31 RS seats and 10 are up for election every 2 years typically.You need 38 assembly seats to win 1 seat out of 10(3 overall).So I want BJP to get 228 seats at least.That will give them 18/31 RS seats(6 each time).304 seats will be even greater(that will give them 24/31 RS seats and 8 each time).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think electoral college wise, NDA is in a commanding position already because of 336 LS seats. Of course with a win in UP, I think NDA will have a majority of its own in the electoral college. But someone needs to crunch the numbers and verify.

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  2. And for the Presidential and Vice Presidential elections which will be held only a couple of months after assembly election results are declared,votes from UP carry the largest weightage.So winning UP and winning it big gives you not just a lot of RS seats but also an advantage in the presidential elections.

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    1. Already balance in RS has shifted a lot. I believe BJP is already the largest party in the Rajya Sabha. I am actually curious about the electoral college for president…I wish someone would publish an analysis of how many votes NDA has right now.

      As for Vice president, I think NDA has an outright majority already in the joint LS+RS, so thats no problem.

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  3. Excellent analysis. I sincerely hope you are right. However don’t forget about the resourcefulness of opposition (especially Congress). They have not started “Intolerance”, “Fake Church attacks” campaign yet.

    Some time I wonder if the Congress party was always so anti-national? Or opposing Narendra Modi on every point is making it so anti-national these days? I read somewhere; “If Con is opposite to Pro, that makes Congress opposite to Progress”.

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    1. See, basically Congress is not anti-national, it’s incentives are just aligned in the other direction. Congress has nothing to gain from developing India. More developed and aspirational India becomes, more it will resent someone like Rahul Gandhi demanding power and prestige in the name of great grandfather!

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      1. I think Congress has turned anti national in its deep core. Its the effect of the Italian.
        They seem to match frequency of Pakis, rabid chrislamists, on national and security issues: the two topics which are related to this.

        It doesn’t seem to be anymore about different political or economic ‘policies’.

        Chrislam cannot be not anti national in a nation with majority as pagan/heathen/kafir etc.

        When I say this, I mean their leaders and opinion makers. It doesn’t matter what their common people think.

        All Germans were not Jew gassing Nazis. But ‘Germany’ was.

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  4. A very valid and logical analysis CW. Being from Gujarat I Can say that, bjp is popular bcoz Gujarat is highly urbanized especially Ahmedabad to vapi belt. BJP is also dominating in many municipalities. In my hometown Surat, bjp had 98 seats out of 99 seats at one time.people have really seen development under bjp rule. So your analysis is 100 % valid. Coming to UP, I was waiting for any logical analysis why bjp will win. And you have made all valid points.

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    1. Yes, even at its weakest under Anandiben, BJP got a clean 6/6 win in municipalities. I lost a lot of respect for Dr. Patil when he predicted BJP struggling in Ahmedabad. I was confident the party would sail through. But I guess everyone is entitled to make some mistakes.

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    2. Excellent analysis and very true. I am from Gujarat too (from Vadodara) and the BJP has consistently won there – it is the PM’s constituency and just recently, he inaugurated the international airport in my hometown. That the BJP is pro-development is well known but nowhere is the development more visible than urban Gujarat. There is not a chance in smoking hell that some Kejri, Wejri will come along and win Gujarat anytime soon.

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  5. Urbanization orients the compass of the citizens towards things that matter – jobs, infrastructure, power and nationalistic sentiment. It also orients citizens away from things that are destructive – dynasty politics, caste politics, azadi slogans etc.
    As urbanization spreads, the BJP will become unstoppable.

    But it is not just an urbanization story. It is also about going back to the cultural and civilizational roots of India. India spread the lessons of peace throught the world before the barbarians sword pushed her back. This time also India will spread peace but the barbarian will find a tremendous power behind her punch.

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    1. Actually I plan to come back to this urbanization issue in my post tomorrow. I believe urbanization helps BJP only up to a point and then there is an inflection which I call “hyper urbanization” where it begins to curve pro-left again. For BJP this is not an imminent threat because we are decades away from having “hyper-urban” places like New York, LA, Paris or Sydney or Toronto. As of now, we have only one such place in India : Delhi and you can see that BJP is struggling there.

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