Now, 55% turnout isn’t great. Not even close to great. But by Mumbai standards, it is HUGE!
You can see in the screenshot of the Times of India article : the turnout was just 45.6% in 2012. A rise of 10% in voter turnout!!! What is more, the turnout surpasses both the Assembly polls and the Lok Sabha polls.
I know that the theory of higher turnouts indicating anti-incumbency has long been discredited. So, I am not going to use it.
As I said in my post from yesterday, I am looking at the BMC polls through a bunch of simple thumb rules. A higher turnout indicates that the usually lazy and more affluent have come out to vote. And who do the more affluent people support? Simple answer : BJP.
It’s very hard to imagine that a solid 10% extra voters came out to support the hafta wasooli and negative politics of the Shiv Sena. Maybe there is some “emotional Marathi Manoos” factor that I do not understand. But, seeing a 10% rise in turnout, I am sticking to my prediction of an easy win for BJP.
Now, I am keenly aware that the exit poll by Axis puts the Shiv Sena marginally ahead of the BJP.
Although, to be fair, Axis did give the same vote share to both parties.
Beyond that, I have been told by right wing people on Twitter as well as commenters here that I might not understand the emotional connect between Mumbai’s Marathi voters and the Shiv Sena. That may well be. But I am not going to hedge my bets. I am going to bet 100% that BJP will have an easy and unprecedented victory in the BMC polls.
On Twitter, I found someone who had posted a shot of this bit from Mid Day giving the voter turnout in the last few BMC elections.
It used to hover between 44 and 46% and its suddenly spiked to 55%! So many people coming out to support instability in Maharashtra? I hardly think so… Something special has happened yesterday in Mumbai. I am trying hard to remember a previous election when turnout jumped suddenly by as much as 10% …
Another amazing voter turnout story unfolded yesterday in the NCP stronghold of Pimpri Chinchwad Muncipal Corporation (PCMC). The voter turnout jumped suddenly from 52% in 2012 to as much as 67%! That’s a breathtaking 15%! If all these people have come out in Pimpri Chinchwad to vote NCP back to power, that would truly constitute a bizarre result. Remember that Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad are the last urban strongholds of NCP.
One more small point. I have said before that I don’t like to look at single data points. I prefer to see a bunch of data points and believe only what is common to all of them. Maybe the emotional appeal from Uddhav Thackeray touched off a wave among Marathi voters that led to an explosive turnout in Mumbai. But then, how do you explain the 15% jump in voter turnout in Pimpri-Chinchwad? Shiv Sena is not even in the race over there. However, BJP is a common factor in both of those places. A wave for BJP seems like a simple, common explanation to both events… instead of assuming two separate waves: one for Sena in Mumbai and another for NCP in Pimpri-Chinchwad.
So you can mock me tomorrow, but I will say that BJP is on course to win both in BMC and in Pune. It will also give the NCP the shock of its lifetime by snatching Pimpri Chinchwad. If you can’t wait, please start mocking now 🙂
Finally, you might have noticed that my article so far does not even mention the Congress party. Why should it? They are not in the race anywhere. The Congress party ruled Maharashtra for 60 out of the 64 years from 1950-2014. We are discussing Maharashtra today and I didn’t even need to mention the Congress party. Doesn’t this feel wonderful in itself?