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How the state of Uttar Pradesh (UP) will vote in 2019 in the presence of a Mahagathbandhan: Some Data Analysis

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Abhishek Chakraborty
Abhishek Chakraborty
I am an Assistant Professor at XLRI Jamshedpur

The Mahagathbandhan (MGB) between one time political rivals (or rather foes) Samajwadi Party (SP) and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) already making news both in print media as well as in social media, the success and failures of such MGBs in the history of Indian politics is mixed. On one hand we have seen how a similar MGB between Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and Janata Dal United (JDU) halted Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP’s) Vijay Rath in 2015 assembly polls, on the other hand we have also witnessed how the mahajot between Left Front and Congress turned into mahajawt (big tangle) in Bengal assembly polls of 2016.

Whether this MGB between SP and BSP will be able to dent into BJP’s aspirations to repeat their 2014 performance to reach the political throne at the Centre, only time will tell. With Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) of Ajit Singh also joining the MGB, that has its influence among the Jat population primarily concentrated in the Western parts of Uttar Pradesh; things could become even worse for the ruling BJP. However, with some recent developments like Congress party’s exclusion from the MGB, reservation for the economically backward general class and Shivpal Yadav gaining strength, things might not become as worse as predicted by many armchair psephologists.

Taking the 2014 elections as some benchmark, we can try generating certain situations that could emerge in the 2019 elections for UP. Considering the votes polled to some major parties across all the eighty Lok Sabha seats in 2014 and then making certain assumptions to vote transfer across parties, anti-incumbency against the ruling party, etc. we can arrive at various possible outcomes in 2019 polls for the state of UP. To start the data analysis exercise, we will consider the following set of factors and assumptions:

1. Any event is assumed to have a uniform outcome across the eighty seats of UP
2. Seat allocation between SP, BSP, and RLD is yet to be fixed. Assuming RLD gets to contest Baghpat, Mathura, and Kairana and SP gets those seats where it outperformed BJP in 2014 and vice versa
3. Vote transfer of SP votes to BSP and BSP votes to SP may not be 100% (the 100% vote transfer case has also been considered)
4. Shivpal Yadav could dent into the chances of MGB
5. Anti-incumbency against the BJP government
6. Positive swing from the MGB votes to BJP due to the polarization
7. Some votes polled to Congress or smaller parties like Peace Party of India could transfer to MGB as they provide a sure shot bigger anti-BJP block

With the above assumptions, the following methodology is developed
First, except five seats Baghpat, Mathura, Kairana (for RLD), Amethi and Rae Bareilly (Congress), the seats are allocated to SP or BSP based on their 2014 performance on that particular seat. If complete vote transfer doesn’t happen between BSP and SP then in such a case, if SP is contesting on a particular seat, then the votes polled to SP in 2014 is taken completely and added to a factor of the BSP votes polled in 2014. The votes polled to RLD are added to the tally of MGB as it is. Further, for the votes polled to Congress and its alliance Mahaan Dal and also Peace Party of India in 2014 in the seats except for Amethi and Rae Bareilly, a fraction is even added to MGB. A small portion of the votes polled to the MGB combined in 2014 is also transferred to BJP on account of polarization. The total votes polled to MGB is then discounted by a fraction owing to the Shivpal Yadav factor. Further, we also discount the BJP’s votes by a factor to incorporate the anti-incumbency factor. Here is a summary of results:
Factors                                                                                Scenarios

Negative Swing against BJP                        15.00%     0.00%       10.00%     5.00%       5.00%
Vote-Transfer of SP to BSP                        100.00%   100.00%    90.00%     85.00%     75.00%
Vote-Transfer of BSP to SP                        100.00%   100.00%    90.00%     85.00%    75.00%
Vote-Transfer of RLD to SP/BSP               100.00%   100.00%    100.00%    90.00%    90.00%
Vote-Transfer of Cong to MGB                   50.00%        0.00%     25.00%     25.00%    20.00%
Vote swing against MGB to BJP                    0.00%        0.00%       5.00%     10.00%    10.00%
Shivpal Factor                                                  0.00%        0.00%       5.00%    10.00%    15.00%
Seats for BJP+AD                                              15                 37             40           59            68
Seats for MGB+Cong                                       63+2           41+2         38+2       19+2      10+2

From the above table, it is evident that the worst case scenario for BJP+ Apna Dal is that they can manage to get 15 seats while the rest will go to MGB and Congress. The best case, on the other hand, is a situation similar to 2014 where BJP+AD could get 68 seats while leaving the rest with the MGB and Congress. So in all possibilities, the election of 2019 could be won or lost primarily based on one state where the seats for the ruling coalition could vary with a range of 53 seats. One thing is to be noted; this analysis is purely done on the basis of past data and attributing all the factors with uniform swings across all the constituencies. The moment local factors including local anti-incumbency comes into the picture, things could change drastically.

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Abhishek Chakraborty
Abhishek Chakraborty
I am an Assistant Professor at XLRI Jamshedpur
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