West Bengal Election-Chemistry


The upcoming assembly election in West Bengal is going to witness some unprecedented happenings. For the first time in the history of West Bengal politics, the Congress and the Left front have entered into pre-poll understanding. These two traditional rivals had come together at national level in 2004, when Left front provided outside support to UPA after the parliamentary elections. However, that was a post-election arrangement and the purpose was to keep BJP out of power. Logic was simple: enemy of an enemy is friend. This time, in West Bengal assembly elections, logic is the same but enemy has changed. It’s Trinamool Congress now.

Although BJP is not an important player in West Bengal, its performance in terms of vote share is going to play a crucial role. In 2014 lok sabha elections, riding on the Modi wave, BJP had given stunning performance by capturing 16 percent vote share. The party won 2 lok sabha seats and secured second position in 3 parliamentary constituencies. However things are different now. Modi wave is on the wane. It’s clear that main battle is between Trinamool Congress and Congress-Left alliance.

It’s very unlikely that BJP will repeat its spectacular performance of 2014 lok sabha elections. If we look into the performance of NDA in assembly elections post lok sabha, data speaks all. In Bihar, NDA vote share was 39.4 percent in 2014 elections. In 2015 assembly elections, it went down to 34.9 percent. Delhi saw a heavy decline in BJP’s vote share from 46.6 percent in 2014 lok sabha elections to 32.3 percent in 2015 assembly elections. Even the states where BJP won and formed government, vote share decreased considerably. Haryana saw a decline from 41percent in parliamentary elections to 33.8 percent in assembly elections. In J&K, BJP’s share decreased from 32.6 to 23.2 percent. In Maharashtra, NDA’s share was 51.8 in 2014 elections and the combined vote share of NDA & Shiv Sena fell down to 48.9 percent in assembly elections. Jharkhand also witnessed a decline of votes from 40.7 percent to 35.5 percent in the assembly elections.

So, on an average, NDA’s vote share has gone down by approximately 7 percent in post lok sabha assembly elections. If we assume that the same thing will happen in W Bengal then 7 percent vote share is up for grab for both AITC and Left-Congress alliance. Let us see who will grab the bigger chunk.

In 2011 assembly elections, Left front had got 39.6 percent vote which fell down to 29 percent in 2014 Lok Sabha elections. BJP’s vote share had jumped from 4 percent in 2011 to 16 percent in 2014. Changes in vote shares of Trinamool Congress and INC were marginal. This says that the BJP’s vote share jump was mainly at the expense of Left front. Now, in lok sabha elections, vote share of AITC was 39.8 percent. Congress and Left front had secured 9.7 and 23 percent votes respectively. So, the difference between AITC and Congress- Left combine was negligible. If we analyze region wise, the alliance is poised to get direct benefit in North Bengal districts, North & South 24 Pargana and several South Bengal districts.

However, politics is not all about mathematics; chemistry also plays a crucial role. For the first time in West Bengal, Congress and Left supporters will be expected to have a common choice. The pattern in the transfer of votes would be difficult to predict. In Kerala, the two alliance partners of West Bengal are pitted against each other in a bipolar contest. All these scenarios make the upcoming election very interesting. The outcome will also have a long term impact in the dynamics of Indian political system.

Author : Alok @ datamineria



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