The recently held Vidhan Sabha elections in five Indian states were touted to be the semi finals before the general elections which are expected to be held in March – April 2009. Most analysts have concluded that since Congress suceeded in forming the Government in three states, it has won this semi final has emerged stronger than BJP. But as usual, the devil is in the details.
Of the three states won by Congress two are Delhi and Mizoram. These two states together account for just eight Lok Sabha seats which is three less than Chattisgarh which was not only retained by BJP but the party even increased its vote share defying anti – incumbancy factor. Congress suceeded in wresting Rajasthan from BJP but it managed to get only one percent more votes than BJP. This despite the fact that BJP had to face rebel candidates in as many as 60 constituencies and many of them won (fourteen independents won with a vote share of about 20% in the state).If votes of the four big states in the polls (excluding Mizoram) are aggregated, it is clear that BJP got 38 % of total votes polled whereas the Congress got around 36% in these elections. Even if the Vidhan Sabha seats are aggregated, BJP has won more seats (BJP got 294 whereas the Congress got 279) than Congress in the five states even if one includes 32 seats won by Congress in Mizoram which sends just one MP to Lok Sabha. Infact the states won by BJP i.e MP and Chattisgarh account for 40 Lok Sabha seats whereas the states won by Congress i.e Rajasthan, Delhi & Mizoram account for 33 Lok Sabha seats. So the performance of BJP was far bettter than Congress both in terms of vote share and seats won. This despite the fact that BJP had the disadvantage of anti incumbency in the three bigger states.
One of the other myth that was perteprated by analysts is irrelevance of internal security as a poll issue by citing the results of Delhi elections where Shiela Dikshit won, despite the fact that Delhi alsio faced serial blasts earlier this year. However, these analysts conviniently ignore that Delhi voters are aware of the fact that Shiela Dikshit does not control Police or any other law and order department as security is not a State subject for Delhi & it is directly controlled by Central Government. In Chattisgarh, of the 31 Naxal affected seats BJP won 26 seats mainly because of the its Government’s support to Salwa Judum, a people’s movement against Naxalism. Congress had promised to disband Salwa Judum and was routed in the Naxal affected areas. So internal security is indeed a big issue and would be a bigger issue in the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections.
The results of these elections clearly point towards Advantage BJP for Lok Sabha 2009.