BJP won an impressive 6th straight term in Gujarat in the recently concluded state elections. It improved upon its performance in terms of vote share by 1.2% but failed to cross the magical mark of 100. This is very intriguing as in with the same vote share in 2007, BJP bagged 117 seats. Its vote share to seat share conversion ratio has been in the range of 2.4-2.8x since 1995 till last elections. However this has fallen to 2x in 2017.
In a multi-party contest, 49% vote share normally would result in more than 3/4th majority. Like in UP, even at 40% vote share, BJP bagged 77% of seats. Even in a bipolar contest, 49% vote share should translate into 2/3rd majority. In a bipolar contest like in Uttarakhand, with 47% vote share, BJP bagged 81% of the seats. In Gujarat, with 49.1% vote share, BJP could win just 55% of the seats, while in 2007 with same vote share, it had managed to win 64% the seats and in 2012 with lower vote share of 47.9% much higher number of seats.
Vote share of a party equals the number of votes polled in its favour in all the seats divided by total number of votes polled in the elections.
High Margins of BJP and concentrated vote share played a role
|Avg. no. of votes||80904||70052||72098||60451|
|Avg. no. of votes in urban seats||85142||65898||76986||55451|
|Avg. no of votes in rural seats||76759||74116||67317||65289|
|Avg margin in urban seats||43511||13338||37083||8545|
|Avg margin in rural seats||18815||13494||18211||14739|
However just high margins don’t depict the entire picture, even in 2012, BJP’s urban vote share was very high at 58% vs 59.5% in 2017
While the above (high margins and concentrated vote share) is a plausible explanation, it doesn’t entirely explain the decline in seat tally from 115 to 99. The other factor is the vote share gap. BJP maintained on an average a lead of 10.1% from 1995-2012 over Congress. This has reduced to 6.7% in 2017 and hence led to a decline in number of seats.
The number of seats on which BJP received more than its overall vote share in elections has also declined from 84 in 2012 to 73 in 2017 whereas for Congress this has increased by 8 seats.
|Seats > Overall Vote Share||73||108||84||100|
|Seats < Overall Vote Share||109||74||98||82|
Low Turnout also impacted BJP in Phase 1
Turnout in these elections were low compared to 2012. In Phase I, polling percentage was 66.75%, lower than overall 68.41%. 89 seats went to polls in Phase I. Here a section of hardcore BJP supporter angry with party didn’t go out and vote. This affected party performance as it lost 16 seats in this phase.
In Phase II, polling percentage was higher at 69.99%. 93 seats went to polls, BJP won 52 seats, not a single seat gained. As seen above, party recorded many surplus votes, but not to any advantage in terms of seat share.
To conclude, a combination of low turnout, reduction in vote share gap and higher margins in urban centers led to an overall decline in seat tally for BJP despite a higher vote share.