The public rally of Gujarat Chief Minister and Bharatiya Janata Party’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi here on Sunday — the first in Karnataka in the run-up to the Lok Sabha elections — has generated much debate on its possible impact on the poll results.
Interestingly, the impact of Mr. Modi’s visit to Bangalore prior to the 2013 Assembly elections did not improve the fortunes of the BJP. In fact, in the 32 Assembly segments falling in the four Lok Sabha constituencies that cover the city — Bangalore South, Bangalore North, Bangalore Central and Bangalore Rural — the BJP’s tally came down to 12 from 18 in 2008.
An analysis of the vote share of the BJP in Assembly segments falling in the four Lok Sabha constituencies also does not throw up a picture of Mr. Modi’s visit having made a positive impact on the party’s electoral fortunes.
When the votes secured by the BJP in the 2009 Lok Sabha elections in the four constituencies are compared with the total votes garnered by the party in 2013 in the Assembly segments falling under them, there has been a decline in numbers. In contrast, there is a jump in the vote share of the Congress in all the constituencies.
The BJP suffered a dramatic loss of over 1 lakh votes in Bangalore North and Bangalore Rural. The least loss was in Bangalore Central (less than 1,000 votes), while even in its traditional bastion like Bangalore South, the party’s vote share declined by about 83,000 votes, indicating that Mr. Modi’s visit to the city did not do much for the party. Conversely, the Congress improved its vote share in the all the Assembly segments under the four Lok Sabha constituencies.
In the 2009 Lok Sabha elections, the BJP secured 15.94 lakh votes and the Congress 12.91 lakh votes in the four constituencies. In the 2013 Assembly elections, the BJP polled 12.94 lakh votes and the Congress 18.69 lakh votes in all the 32 Assembly segments under the four Lok Sabha constituencies.
Sandeep Shastri, psephologist and Pro Vice-Chancellor of Jain University, argues that while the “Modi factor” has had an impact in the western and northern parts of the country, there was no visible wave in favour of Mr. Modi in the southern and eastern parts. “Among the southern States, it is in Karnataka that the BJP is hoping to make some impact with Mr. Modi as the icon, especially in urban pockets like Bangalore,” Prof. Shastri said. He added that the party would like to cash in on the fact that Mr. Modi’s status was now elevated — having been declared a prime ministerial candidate — in contrast to his political status during his last visit to the city.
Party sources feel that parliamentary elections would be different from the Assembly elections, and that the split in the BJP dented its vote share in the recent elections.