In 2014, when the BJP won 282 seats, a thumping majority, to form the government at the centre little did people know that 3 years later they would create another unprecedented record in Uttar Pradesh assembly election. The Bharatiya Janata Party's victory in Uttar Pradesh assembly elections is far bigger than any victory the party has seen in the past. The UP win is bigger than BJP's 2014 parliamentary polls and we tell you why.
How the vote share matters
In 2014, the BJP was heavily criticised by the opposition and the media for managing to secure a mere 31 per cent vote share on its own. The combined vote share of the BJP and the Congress translated into just 50 percent vote share. But 2014 saw a never-before-seen rare statistical occurrence where a mere 31 percent vote share converted into a solid 282 seats for the BJP. The lowest vote share of a majority party in the Lok Sabha.
This time around, however, BJP secured 39.7 percent vote share on its own. This number does not bring together the vote share of NDA allies. The 39.7 percent vote share is indicative of how more voters chose the BJP singularly and retained split votes bringing down the overall percentage of vote share. BJP has singularly won 312 seats in Uttar Pradesh. In 2012, the BJP won 47 seats with a vote share of 15 percent in the state and 15.21 percent in the constituencies it contested. The Congress stood at 11.65 percent and the Samajwadi party at 29.13.
Saturday's results conveyed to the people that the BJP had trounced even SP's previous vote share at least by 10 percent. A clear indication that it had performed far better than the SP had performed in the 2012 assembly polls.
Perception politics was a challenge
Modi mania had gripped the entire nation in 2014 parliamentary polls. For 10 years the UPA led by the Congress had governed the country and in the wake of allegations of corruption and scams, anti-incumbency had already set it. It did not take too much effort for the BJP to push the Modi euphoria for a people that was awaiting change. Anti-Congress votes helped the BJP in the 2014 elections but in Uttar Pradesh assembly polls, the BJP routed the Samajwadi party government on a wave that was unprecedented but also unexpected.
The BJP had to fight the perception battle in Uttar Pradesh after demonetisation. The support that Akhilesh Yadav enjoyed among the youth of Uttar Pradesh was a challenge for the BJP to counter. The anti-incumbency factor was not enough to wean the voters away from SP. Most media reports also suggested that demonetisation would make matters worse for the BJP but Saturday's results exceeded all expectations.
Saturday's results also showed that religious appeasement was not the mantra for electoral success anymore. BJP's victory in Dalit, Muslim majority constituencies showed that the party had managed to get votes beyond the barriers of caste, creed, community and religion. And that is the true success that the BJP managed in 2017.
With a better vote share, with votes coming from all sections of the society and winning the perception challenge, BJP's Uttar Pradesh victory is far bigger than its parliamentary poll victory in 2014.