Simple reasons why BJP should easily win the BMC polls

I must say I am nervous about writing this post. Mumbai votes today and the results are out on Feb 23 itself. If I get this wrong, there isn’t sufficient “cushion” for me to hedge my bets and pretend like I never said this 🙂

But the temptation of getting it right  trumps the fear of getting it wrong.

I am no psephologist. For me, political prediction is a matter of simple thumb rules. And if you apply these rules to the BMC polls, it comes out that the BJP should canter to an easy win. It has everything going for it. Meanwhile, the Shiv Sena has done everything to make the electorate despise them. They are going to get punished by voters.

Here are my reasons.

(1) Mumbai is as urban as it gets. As of now, the BJP has massive leads all over urban India. Post demonetization, the BJP’s lead has only grown and elections in urban enclaves such as Chandigarh have shown unprecedented, wavelike conditions for BJP.

(2) The Shiv Sena faces multiple term anti-incumbency. They have ruled the BMC since time immemorial. It would be really surprising if they are able to get incremental votes in these elections.

(3) Now, we come to the first reason why Shiv Sena will be punished by the voters. The voter is generally very severe on parties that play on BOTH sides of the fence, i.e., enjoying the red beacon fruits of power while continuing to sabotage the government. Parties like this come to be seen purely as negative baggage. I wonder if anyone can name a legitimate grievance that the Shiv Sena could have, beyond its obvious jealousy.

(4) The second reason why Shiv Sena will be punished by voters is their threats to pull down the Fadnavis government. The voter realizes that an emboldened Sena could result in heightened instability and mid-term polls. The voter doesn’t want instability and feels no urgency to bring down the fairly likeable Chief Minister. Barely a month after the 2014 wave, the BJP actually lost 3 Assembly bypolls to the Congress in Uttarakhand. The voter is too smart. Had those bypolls gone in favor of BJP, they would have certainly brought down the ruling Congress government. Even at the height of the Modi wave, the voter chose stability. Just an example of how much the voter despises mid-term polls. In fact, the only stable and obvious trend in Indian politics since 2007 is the urge to have single party majorities which ensure 5 year governments.

And if Shiv Sena is seen as trying to force mid term polls in Maharashtra, the voter will punish them for it.

(5) Today’s polls involve the BMC and a handful of other cities. We saw the results of the local body polls in most of the state during December and January, billed as the “mini-Assembly polls”. The BJP has done handsomely, catapulting itself from a meager fourth position to a comfortable perch at the top of the ladder. The big story of the local polls has been the collapse of the Shiv Sena across the state to fourth position. This story should repeat in Mumbai. The Sena, of course, won’t come fourth in Mumbai, but if the rest of Maharashtra is completely rejecting the Shiv Sena, why would Mumbai go out on a limb and be different?

(6) Coming to the demography of Mumbai, the North Indians who have traditionally voted more with the Congress now have no real incentive to do so. The Congress is nowhere in the race and Modi is immensely popular. At the same time, the North Indian voters have every reason to come out and stop the Shiv Sena. It would be surprising if these votes don’t shift wholesale to BJP.

(7) Then,  there are the core Marathi Manoos voters of the Shiv Sena. Other than emotional attachment, the Sena doesn’t really have anything to offer them. There is no evidence that Marathis have any kind of antipathy towards BJP. The RSS itself is a product of Maharashtra. The Marathis elected BJP to No. 1 position throughout the  state barely a month ago. The BJP has also been actively massaging their ego with the Prime Minister coming to Mumbai to lay the foundation for a grand memorial to Chhatrapati Shivaji.

This makes the arithmetic quite simple. The non-Marathi voters actively despise the Shiv Sena and want to keep it out of power. The Marathi voters might prefer Shiv Sena but have no real objection to BJP.

(8) Finally, the youth vote. It’s hard to see the youth going for Shiv Sena’s “hafta wasooli” politics and troubled relationship with Valentine’s Day (which, incidentally, was only 7 days ago). They are far more likely to go with the urbane, suave Devendra Fadnavis. He gave them free wifi across the city! Are the youth really going to get excited about the agenda of beating up “bhaiyyas” and South Indians and Jains and Gujaratis?

However, there is one way… only one way in which the Shiv Sena could win. If the MNS melts down and its voters move en bloc to the Sena, they would win. If you can think of anything else, let me know.


15 thoughts on “Simple reasons why BJP should easily win the BMC polls

      1. UP was always going to be easier than Bihar. People who don’t know club together.
        But on the streets of Mumbai, Hindus are better off with Shiv Sainiks.
        Despite all their ‘inefficiencies’.


  1. I believe SS will be the single largest party, and I have multiple reasons to believe so.

    1. The SS have strong network of local shakhas, who actually helps people in their day to day life. And this happens across cast creed. I have actually seen SS shakhas in muslim dominated areas where the “Shakha Pramukh” or the head of the branch is a muslim guy.

    2. Local people who are non Marathi may tend to vote for them as they have this good local experience with SS Sakha, which incidentally is their big power.

    3. Fadnavis and Modi factor will help BJP but they will not help big time because the munciple elections are usually fought and won on the local issues. And like you said correctly voters are smart.

    4. Next point is of MNS, who are not relative in the Maharashtra politics and the voter base is going to shift to SS, because anyways they were originally SS votes

    5. Last and most important factor which will help SS is, like you said, SS has its core vote base .. The Marathi People … who will stick to SS no matter what. So SS vote share is not going to affect much. But other votes are going to split in BJP, Congress, NCP, MNS. Which will give the advantage to SS. So chances are we will find that vote share of BJP has increased (which is a good sign for long term goals) but SS will be the single largest party. They might win some seats by merely by margin of few 100 votes.
    Having said that … I hope BJP gets a major share in the seats as well as vote percentage.  🙂


    1. Welcome to commenting on this blog Kaustubh. Yours is one of the best comments, but I do hope you are proven wrong 😛 Let’s see. I have only 2 days before I might end up embarrassing myself 🙂


  2. Fantastic performance by BJP in the 5th and final phase of the Odisha polls.What is great about this is the fact that the 1st phase performance was not a flash in the pan.They managed to sustain that momentum and made full use of it.I think it is safe to say that BJP is ready(or almost ready) for lift-off in Odisha(by 2019 or max by 2024).


  3. Seats won by BJP in the 2014 elections:282.Assuming a loss of 30 seats.So thay have 252.1)Odisha-1/21 in 2014.Assuming 8/21 in 2019(+7).2)Assam-7/14 in 2014.Assuming 9/14 in 2019(+2).3)Maharashtra-23/48 in 2014(18 for Shiv Sena).Assuming-31/48 in 2019(+8).4)Karnataka-17/28 in 2014.Assuming-20/28 in 2019(+3).5)Arunachal Pradesh-1/2 in 2014.Assuming 2/2 in 2019(+1).6)Manipur-0/2 in 2014.Assuming 1/2 in 2019(+1).7)Kerala-0/20 in 2014.Assuming 1/20 in 2019(+1).8)WB-2/42 in 2014.Assuming 4/42 in 2019(+2).So if you add them up,you get a gain of 25 seats which would put BJP at 277 seats which is above the magic figure.What do you think?


    1. I am not so sure about the gains in Karnatka and Maharashtra.Maharashtra seems likely to see an increase in seats,but better to take +4 or 5.In Karnataka BJP already has 2/3rd seats,an increase is unlikely.
      But in WB i think we can it’s definitely gonna be atleast 9-10 in 2019. Mamata is handing votes on a platter to BJP with her open communalisation.BJP doesnt have to lift a finger to get around 25% votes.Rest depends on how well they campaign.
      So we should take +7 from WB as a minimum.
      So the total gain comes similar,but the problem is that BJP could lose more than just 30 seats,especially in places where it has virtually all the seats


  4. Balasaheb Thakre died on 17 Nov 2012, which means he was living when the last BMC elections were held. This is the first BMC elections post his death. We all know what is the result of Lok Sabha and Assembly after his death. So, IMO, this is the foremost factor which would lead to loss of vote/seat share of Shiv Sena.


  5. 52% turnout for BMC elections as of 3:30 PM, according to mid-day Mumbai. That is a good sign – it was 46% in 2012. I usually associate good turnout as a plus for the BJP – and this is as of 3:30 so the actual numbers might go up to 55-60% as people vote on the way back from work.


      1. It ended with ~55% which is apparently the highest in the last 25 years (it is more than 10% higher than the previous BMC elections). Hopefully, that is a harbinger of good things. Even the 2014 general elections had 53% turnout so Mumbai really came out to vote today.


  6. Honestly Mumbai always favoured a party with core hindutva ideology, maybe this is to keep in check the M community along eastern suburbs in mumbai starting from byculla to mankhurd. Clearly winds are in favour of SS, since it has a strong network at grassroot level, number of SS shakhas in mumbai are far greater than number of police chowkis. Therefore getting 100-120 seats out of 227 is comparatively easier for SS, however I hope BJP gets majority vote share.


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