10 February 2015

Jhadoo sweeps Delhi, expectations galore

The results of the Delhi 2015 elections shows a landslide for the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP). Congratulations to the common man! Congratulations to Arvind Kejriwal!

In a two-sided contest AAP has got 67 of the 70 seats and 54 per cent of the popular vote share. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has got 3 seats and 33 per cent of the vote share while the Indian National Congress  (hereafter, Congress) has won no seats and got about 10 per cent of the vote share.

Compared to the general election in May 2014, this situation has reversed because at that time AAP led in only 10 of the assembly segments and got 33 per cent of the vote share. BJP had then got 46 per cent of the vote share and led in 60 segments. The Congress like now had not led in any of the assembly segments but had received a 15 per cent vote share.

In December 2013 state elections, AAP had got 28 seats and 29 per cent of the vote share. The BJP and its ally had got 32 seats at 34 per cent of the vote share while the Congress had got 8 seats and 25 per cent of the vote share.

It needs to be mentioned that in the 2008 state elections AAP did not exist. At that time the BJP and its ally had won 23 seats and got 37 per cent of the vote share while the Congress had won 43 seats with 40 per cent of vote share.

One can state the following.
  • In December 2013, compared to 2008, the vote share that AAP got is a shift from other parties: Congress (15 percentage points) BJP (4 percentage points) and others (10 percentage points).
  • In May 2014, compared to December 2013, AAP increased its vote share by a further 4 percentage points while BJP increased its vote share by 12 percentage points. During this period, Congress lost another 10 percentage points in its vote share. This means that nearly 6 percentage points of the overall gain in vote share by AAP and BJP would be attributed a net shift from others.
  • In February 2015, compared to May 2014, AAP increased its vote share by 21 percentage points, BJP decreased its vote share by 13 percentage points, and Congress decreased its vote share by an additional 5 percentage points. In short, AAP gained from BJP, Congress as also others.
  • In February 2015, BJP's (including its ally) vote share is only one percentage points lower than what it had got in December 2013. In some sense, its core voter base seems to be intact.
  • The net gain that the BJP had during the general elections of May 2014 is lost. A large section of voters that swung from the Congress and others to the BJP in May 2014 seems to have now posed their faith in AAP in February 2014.
Now, a question to ask is who are the core voters of BJP. Are they the ones who like BJP's socio-cultural thinking. Or, are they the ones favouring their economic thinking. It is difficult to make such neat bifurcations. But, it is possible that the shift is from among those who may support their economic policies, but are not happy with their socio-cultural thinking.

While this being a state election, one need not use it as a reflection on the public mood on the policies by the central government. Nor is it a referendum again Prime Minister Narendra Modi. But, then the BJP has to rethink about its policies and bring about a balancing act that should satisfy both the set of core supporters.

Having said that, should BJP (particularly, the central government) not be concerned about those who did not vote for it to begin with. Or, those that have sided with AAP to begin with. What is it that they want. Not, in terms of politics, but in terms of their economic thinking and what do they mean by development.

AAP is outside the left versus right ideological divide, but if it has to succeed it has to be pro people. It is here that the challenge lies in an alternative articulation of an economic thinking that enhances the livelihood of all. It also needs an articulation of what is the constitutive component of development. It is not about facilitating big ticket growth with the 'hope' that it would some day trickle down. But, it is rather about an enabling environment where the common man contributes to this growth. 

The expectations from AAP are many. While in terms of policies and their implementation this need not be to the left, but it certainly is not necessarily towards the right. The challenge for AAP is to maintain this middle ground. Otherwise, the jhadoo that has swept it into "5 saal kejriwal" will sweep it away from the common man.

1 comment:

  1. I view Indian elections most, are won by freebies and sops. AAP's this winning falls into that category. And that way it's in Odisha also. For a person from birth to death for main events there's a sop. I haven't seen any party reminds people of their responsibility while asking for votes.