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Decoding the BJP’s stellar performance with Dr. Sandeep Shastri

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New Delhi, May 27: The 2019 Lok Sabha elections were clearly about the Central Government. This could be seen in the rout of the Congress in the states of Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh, where it had recently come to power in the assembly elections.

Decoding the BJP’s stellar performance with Dr. Sandeep Shastri

Dr. Sandeep Shastri, one of India's top psephologists says that most of the difference for the BJP was made in the north, west and central barring Punjab. In this interview with OneIndia, Dr. Shastri says that the BJP did exceptionally well, where it was in a direct contest with the Congress.

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What explains the BJP's stellar performance, despite parties stitching up alliances?

The electoral arithmetic, which was simplistic did not work for several reasons. It was being said that the alliances would pose a major challenge to the BJP in Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand and Karnataka. The caste caucus could not undergo a dramatic shift in the case of UP and Karnataka. Secondly much water could have flowed under the bridge resulting in a new set of issues. Lastly the chemistry among workers and party supporters may not always be positive, which resulted on a shaky alliance on the ground.

How does one explain the alliance chemistry of the BJP led NDA?

This has been one of the major successes for the BJP. In Bihar it agreed to contest a less number of seats than it won in 2014. In Maharashtra, it was still able to form an alliance, despite differences with the Shiv Sena.

What about the UPA?

The UPA on the other hand in the exception of Tamil Nadu failed to ensure that the anti incumbency vote did not split among different parties. This cost them dearly. They were unclear on whether their primary focus was to defeat the BJP or protect their own political spaces.

What kind of impact did Rafale or the Chowkidar Chor hai campaign have?

It had a very limited impact. The fact is that a high percentage of people view Modi as honest. One of four of those who felt that there had been wrongdoing on the Rafale deal wanted Modi back as the Prime Minister.

How much of a factor did leadership play in the elections?

It was a big issue. The BJP candidates canvassed for votes in the name of the Prime Minister. One of every three who voted for the BJP said that they would have voted differently had Modi not been the prime ministerial candidate.

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