How Lok Sabha will look if people vote as they did in assembly polls3 min read . Updated: 19 Dec 2018, 02:12 PM IST
If voting pattern remains same, BJP tally will fall to 219, Cong will recover to 97, AAP will bag all 7 seats in Delhi
ith the completion of elections in Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, Telangana and Mizoram, every state in India has gone through at least one round of Assembly elections since the last general elections in 2014 (including states that voted for their assemblies at the same time as the general elections). In this period, one state—Jammu and Kashmir—has had its Assembly dissolved.
While voter preferences for voting in parliamentary and Assembly elections can often differ, the completion of this “cycle" allows us to explore what the next Lok Sabha might look like if people vote in exactly the same fashion as they did in their last Assembly elections. The analysis, based on data from the Election Commission of India and the now defunct India-Votes.com, is straightforward—we assume that everyone who voted in their respective states’ last Assembly elections will also turn up to vote in the 2019 general elections and will vote for the same party as they did in the Assembly elections.
This involves a lot of assumptions that won’t necessarily hold. First, the set of voters is definitely not going to be the same, because of the registration of new voters and the death or relocation of people who voted in the Assembly elections.
Second, the Assembly elections saw some unique alliances that we are unlikely to see next year—in Bihar, for example, there was a “grand alliance" or mahagathbandhan of the major non-Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) parties. The alliance has since broken up but there is also the possibility of new alliances coming up ahead of the general elections.
Third, there is the “decay factor—voters in states such as Andhra Pradesh or Maharashtra, which voted for their assemblies in 2014, are highly likely to have changed their opinions by next year’s elections. Moreover, people are known to optimize for different factors when it comes to Assembly and parliamentary elections, and vote differently even when the elections are held at the same time.
Now that we have the caveats in place, what does the data tell us? If everyone votes in the general elections exactly as they did in their respective last Assembly elections, the BJP’s tally will come down to 219 (from 288 in 2014). The Indian National Congress, which slipped to a record low 44 seats in the 2014 elections, will recover to 97 .
The Trinamool Congress, All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) and Biju Janata Dal will continue to sweep West Bengal, Tamil Nadu and Odisha respectively. The Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS), on the back of its stellar performance in the recently concluded elections, will win 15 out of 17 seats in Telangana, and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) will bag all seven seats in Delhi.
Nearly a third of the BJP’s 219 seats will come from Uttar Pradesh, where it stormed to a comfortable majority in the March 2017 elections and can be expected to get 71 out of 80 seats (same as in 2014). The party will get 31 out of 48 seats in Maharashtra (where it had contested without an alliance in the 2014 Assembly elections).
Incredibly, despite its defeats in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan in the just concluded elections, the BJP is expected to get a majority of seats from these states if they vote the same way in the general elections. The BJP will get 17 out of 29 seats in Madhya Pradesh, and 13 out of 25 in Rajasthan (the rest going to the Congress in both states). The Congress’s strong showing in Chhattisgarh, on its part, will help it get 10 of the 11 seats from the state. In 2014, the BJP had nearly swept all these states, losing the lone seat in Madhya Pradesh. The Congress will also be expected to make significant gains in Gujarat, another state in which it had got wiped out in 2014.
With about four months left to go for the general elections, there is plenty of scope for political action—alliances to form and break up, politicians to switch parties and new parties to be formed. Hence it is unlikely that the final picture we will see in May will be similar to what the assembly elections “predict".
However, in the absence of too many opinion polls ahead of the 2019 elections, these forecasts might form a good “prior" on which to base our expectations for the elections.