Election 2019

Why the Modi wave is missing so far in the voting

The first three rounds of the 2019 Parliamentary election are over but these did not observe either a pro-Modi or anti-Modi wave. There are reasons why the election so far has been without a wave. The prime evidence is in the turnout: compared to the 2014 election. The same constituencies have seen a moderate or lower turnout in the first three rounds. The full turnout in the first phase was 69.5%, merely 1.5% more than the last Lok Sabha election. The second phase witnessed a turnout of 69.4%, which was more or less the same as in the 2014 poll. The third phase saw a turnout of 67.8%, which was 1.8% higher than the 2014 election.

A wave election normally sees a higher turnout, as was the case in 1977; it witnessed a 5% increase in voting compared to the last Lok Sabha elections held in 1971. Similarly, compared to the 1980 Lok Sabha election, the turnout in the 1984 one went up by 8%. The 2014 Lok Sabha election saw an 8% increase in turnout compared to 2009 one. For the 2019 polls, the first three rounds have witnessed virtually no change in the overall turnout, though there may be some constituency-level variance.

The findings of the CSDS pre-poll survey gave an indication that supporters of non-Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) units have a lower enthusiasm for voting in the ongoing elections. Since the regional parties have larger support bases among the socially marginalized communities — who are far less vocal compared to the upper caste voters — we did not see any wave in the early rounds, simply because many of the states going to the poll were regional party strongholds. The BJP voters showed far more enthusiastic about voting on election day. It is likely that the supporters of regional parties, though less vocal but committed, turned out to vote as they always do irrespective of the electoral prospects of their party of choice. It is unlikely that those who voted for regional parties and the Congress in respective states during the 2014 Modi wave would not have voted for their parties in 2019. The same applies to BJP voters as well — the loyal supporters of the party will have voted for it in 2019 as they did in 2014.

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