Thinking through UP election results with numbers: Rahul Verma
Guest post by RAHUL VERMA
Here’s a closer analysis of Uttar Pradesh 2012 election results
In an article the Times of India says the Samajwadi Party’s victory in Uttar Pradesh seems to be an even more impressive sweep than the BSP’s 2007 showing, but it’s actually a less comprehensive domination. According to the same article, the SP did not do well in western UP and Bundelkhand. They do not provide any reason for this.
My analysis of the election results data shows that average number of candidates per assembly constituency and average number of candidates per one lakh electorate in west UP and Bundelkhand, was slightly lower than other regions of the state. In west UP and Bundelkhand, the average number of candidates per one lakh electorate was approximately 8.5 and average number of candidates per assembly constituency was approximately 16. Whereas in other parts of the state average number of candidates per one lakh electors was approximately 9.5 and average number of candidates per assembly constituency was 17. This means that in other regions of the state votes were more divided and thus the SP got an edge in terms of winning seats. In the first-past-the-post (FPTP) system with multi-cornered contests, even such small gaps lead to big swings in terms of seats a party can win.
2. In another article, the Times of India said, “Mulayam gets the ‘M’ equation right”. They argue that there are around 140 constituencies in UP where Muslims constitute more than 30% of the population. While in 73 assembly seats the community is between 20-29% of the population, it is over 30% in 67 constituencies. Results of these 140 constituencies show that the SP won 72 seats, more than half in contention. I wondered how did the ‘M’ equation worked here because–
Total Seats in UP = 403
SP won = 225* (Counting Raja Bhaiya’s seat as well)
Winning Percent = 55.8 %
Muslim Dominated Seat in UP according to ToI = 140
SP won = 72
Winning Percent = 51.4 %.
So when the SP’s winning percentage on an average is more than in Muslim dominated seats…. what’s the need for analyzing ‘M’ equation separately?
3. Christophe Jaffrelot in an article in Outlook writes, “…the pundits who kept telling us that she was bound to lose because she was only paying attention to her core constituency, the Dalits, will have to think of some other grouse. The party has lost 27 percentage points among the Jatavs, according to a CSDS post-poll survey (which excludes the last phase of voting). The Jatavs and other SCs (down 15 percentage points) deserted the party, while the Brahmins have remained with it.” In my opinion Prof. Jaffrelot’s argument of shift in Dalit vote (as gauged by the post-poll survey) stands correct only when the gap between the Samajwadi Party and the BSP is 10% – as was predicted by the CSDS post-poll survey. The poll estimated 34% vote share for the SP and 24% for the BSP. The actual difference has come down to 3.2% – as SP has got 29.1%, and the BSP 25.9% respectively. Mathematically, even if there was a shift in Dalit vote, it would be to a much lesser extent than was previously estimated.
4. It’s being written in many newspapers that the SP has gained across communities and the BSP has lost in all. Do we need to be surprised by that? Winners most often gain among all sections, and losers see secular decline across communities.
5. Whose victory is bigger – the SP’s in 2012 or the BSP’s in 2007?
It’s just role reversal this time. The Samajwadi Party is in the same position in 2012 as the BSP was in 2007. Despite winning lesser number of seats this time, the number of seats in which the BSP remained second in 2012 is marginally greater than number of seats in which SP was first runner up in 2007.
6. Did the SP win more seats in 2012 with a close margin than the BSP won in 2007?
One can only draw three conclusions:
- The SP in 2012 lost more seats in close fights than the BSP lost in 2007.
- Proportionately SP won more seats with bigger margins than the BSP in 2007.
- Most of BSP seats were won in 2007 between 5% and 10% vote gap, whereas the SP won more seats in 2012 between 2% and 5% vote gap.
(Rahul Verma is a PhD student in the Political Science department at the University of California, Berkeley. He thanks Aaditya Dar (http://theopendata.com/site/) for scrapping the raw data from Election Commission’s website. Conversation with Shivam Vij and Aaditya Dar helped him in this analysis.)
From Kafila archives:
- March 2012: The Case for Proportional Representation in India: Srinivasan Ramani
- March 2012: Why Mayawati’s Defeat is the BSP’s Victory
- March 2012: Some thoughts on the “hawa” in Indian elections
- March 2012: Why Rahul Gandhi’s Congress flopped in Uttar Pradesh
- February 2012: Seeing UP from Phulpur
- February 2012: मायावती जी के मुख्यमंत्रित्व काल का एक संक्षिप्त विवरण: राम कुमार
- February 2012: An Election in Sarvajan Samaj
- February 2012: The untold stories of a political process
- December 2010: History in Stone and Metal
- May 2009: UP’s Dalits remind Mayawati – Democracy is a Beautiful Thing
- May 2009: Rahul Gandhi and the Dalit votebank in Uttar Pradesh
- June 2007: The meaning of Mayawati for the Dalit movement: Chittibabu Padavala
- May 2007: Why Hindol Sengupta Needn’t Fear Mayawati