The Bharatiya Janata Party is on course for a massive victory in the Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections. Trends as of noon on Saturday suggested the saffron party would end up with nearly 300 seats in the 404-strong assembly, almost a hundred seats over the half-way mark. It would also be the biggest victory since Indira Gandhi-led the Congress to 309 seats in 1980, when the assembly had 425 seats.
If this result holds, the BJP will rule the largest state in the country without the need of any allies and take pole position for the Lok Sabha elections in 2019. Its vote share, according to trends as of noon on Saturday, would be at 40% of the electorate in a state the size of Brazil. That is the biggest vote share the BJP has ever won in the state and gives the saffron party an overwhelming mandate.
By comparison, the Samajwadi Party’s victory in 2012, which was then considered a huge victory, saw it winning 224 seats with a vote share of 29.1%. The BJP is set to get a full 10 percentage points more than the SP’s final in the previous election. The result actually looks even more significant when you compare it to the saffron party’s performance in 2012, when it pulled in just 15% of the vote. That’s a jump of nearly 25 percentage points in just five years.
But if you add in one data point, that stunning jump seems a lot less surprising, even if it’s still hugely impressive: 2014. The Narendra Modi factor in the Lok Sabha election in 2014, when the BJP won more than 40% of the votes and 71 out of 80 Lok Sabha seats – with an ally winning two more. Indeed, the scale of the BJP’s success in 2014 prompted one commentator to point out that anything short of a victory in 2017 would be the surprise.
A graph of the 2014 and 2017 elections put next to each other suggest this year’s result replicates the Lok Sabha victory (even allowing for a simple addition of the Congress and Samajwadi Party vote shares to approximate the earlier performance before they tied up last year).
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