Advance copy of upcoming column. All underlying data for this analysis sourced from IndiaVotes.com
Much has been written on how the Keshubai Patel led Gujarat Parivartan Party had dented the BJP’s prospects in 15 seats in which the BJP lost narrowly to the Congress. However none of the analyses in the mainstream media have quite explained how it is that the BJP managed to cut these losses to a mere two seat dip in its overall tally compared to 2007. While the GPP’s impact was an obvious, explicit phenomenon that was anticipated ahead of the election and easily quantified after the results, the counter trend that firewalled Narendra Modi has not quite been explained.
In all about 51 seats are new pick-ups by the BJP. Of these however only 19 seats were explicit gains by the BJP from seats formerly held by the Congress and others in 2007. The remaining 32 seats are new delimited seats that have been won by the BJP. Since there is no explicit one to one relationship between these delimited seats of 2012 and their predecessor seats from 2007, let us set aside these 32 seats for the purpose of this analysis. This leaves us with the 19 seats that were explicitly held by Congress and others in 2007 which have now flipped to the BJP in 2012.
Of these 19 seats explicitly wrested by the BJP are seats held by Congress stalwarts like Shaktisingh Gohil and Arjun Modhvadia. These seats include Bardoli, Bhavnagar rural, Chotila, Dhaboi, Dediyapada, Dhandhuka, Dholka, Dhrangadhra, Gondal, Jamalpur khadia, Jambusar, Jamjodhpur, Karjan, Limkheda, Mahuva (ST), Nizar, Padra, Porbandar, Vagra. A deeper analysis of these seats paints a picture that tells the real story of how the electoral landscape shifted in favor of Narendra Modi in these seats to blunt the impact of the Keshubhai led GPP rebellion against the BJP elsewhere.
In almost all of these 19 seats, save a couple of seats, the total number of electors saw a decent rise from 2007 to 2012. But the more interesting and relevant increase is in the actual votes polled that saw a significant rise in every one of these 19 seats including those couple of seats that saw fewer registered voter s. The highest increase in actual votes polled was in Nizar with nearly 70,000 additional votes cast followed closely by Dhrangadhra with about 67.000 additional votes cast. The least increase was around 11,000 votes in Dediyapada and in Bhavnagar rural around 14,000 odd votes. The average increase in actual votes polled across these 19 seats was about 42,000 votes.
In every one of these 19 seats the BJP saw a significant increase in actual votes cast in its favor between 2007 and 2012. While Dhrangadhra and Nizar saw the largest increase in actual votes polled for the BJP by about 40,000 odd votes. Dandhuka and Bhavnagar rural saw the least increase of about 11,000 and 15,000 odd votes. On average the BJP saw an increase of about 28,000 odd votes per seat across these 19 seats. The stunning metric though is the ratio of BJP’s actual vote increase as a percentage of the increase in overall votes (turnout). On an average across these 19 seats the BJP’s actual vote increase was 75% of the overall increase in turnout (actual votes, not percentages).
This means that in these 19 seats that flipped in favor of the BJP to blunt the impact of GPP elsewhere, 3 out of every 4 additional voters who turned out to vote resulting in this record spike in turnout, voted for the BJP.
This about quantifies the impact of the “Neo Middle Class” firewall comprising first time voters, young voters and women voters, that rose in favor of Narendra Modi to make all the difference to the final tally