This story is part of
The Hindu-CSDS-Lokniti post-poll survey 2022: Welfare, regional factors provided ballast to BJP in Uttar Pradesh

Advantage BJP even as AAP stuns everyone 

The survey findings explain why the BJP retained power in four States and how the AAP won Punjab

March 12, 2022 12:15 am | Updated 10:42 am IST

BJP workers light lamps to celebrate the party’s victory in the Assembly, in Bhopal.

BJP workers light lamps to celebrate the party’s victory in the Assembly, in Bhopal. | Photo Credit: PTI

The elections to the five State Assemblies saw two trends. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has managed to secure another term in office in the four States where it held power. In Punjab, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has wrested power from the Congress. Did the fact that the BJP was in power at both the Centre and in four States help it to retain power in those States? Did the Punjab voters reject the claims of the ruling parties at the Centre and the State and support a third option? The CSDS-Lokniti post-poll survey in four States (no post-poll study was done in Manipur) provides important indications to explain the electoral trends.

Net satisfaction

It is clear that except Punjab, voters were more satisfied with the Central government than they were with the State governments. In Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Goa, the net satisfaction of voters with the Central government was way higher than the net satisfaction with the State government (Table 1). Net satisfaction with the Narendra Modi government at the Centre was three times higher than with the Yogi Adityanath government in U.P., seven times higher than with the Pushkar Singh Dhami government in Uttarakhand, and 18 times higher than with the Pramod Sawant government in Goa. That the BJP has come back to power even though it changed its Chief Minister in Uttarakhand thrice in five years (and additionally the sitting Chief Minister lost in his constituency) is clearly on account of the high level of satisfaction in the hill State with the Central government. In Goa too, the visible disenchantment with the State government was offset by both the high levels of satisfaction with the Central government and the split in the anti-BJP vote. Thus, the BJP victory in all these States owes a great deal to the Modi government rather than to State-level incumbents. On the other hand, disenchantment with the ruling party at the Centre (-43) and in the State (-52) was patently visible in Punjab. This gave the AAP an advantage.

Three of every four respondents in the CSDS-Lokniti post-poll survey in U.P. and six of every 10 in Uttarakhand and Punjab said that the party mattered more than the candidate when voting (Table 2). This explains the strong support for the BJP in U.P. and Uttarakhand, and for the AAP in Punjab. Further, the tight race in Goa can be explained by the fact that close to two-thirds of the respondents stated that the candidate was more important than the party when deciding whom to vote for.

While respondents mentioned unemployment and price rise as the key problems they face, the victory of the BJP in U.P., Uttarakhand and Goa can be explained keeping in mind the beneficiaries of free rations and cash transfers (labharthi). Close to nine of every 10 respondents in U.P., three-fourths of the respondents in Uttarakhand, and six of every 10 respondents in Goa said that they were beneficiaries of free rations and cash transfers to bank accounts.

A linked development is the intensity of blame on the governments (Central and State) for COVID-19-related deaths during the second wave of the pandemic. In Punjab, more than half the respondents, in U.P. just one-third of them, and in Uttarakhand two of every 10 respondents exclusively blamed the government for the same. In Goa, a little over four of every 10 respondents exclusively blamed the government. This possibly explains the more lukewarm support accorded to the ruling party.

As our detailed analyses of the four States will show, the outcomes were a combined product of the relatively high popularity of the Central government, the positive effects of welfare schemes and, as in the case of U.P., a sharp religious polarisation. Besides these factors, the effective bipolarity of competition was a major factor in U.P., Uttarakhand and Punjab. Goa, without such sharp bipolarity, gave the BJP only a slight advantage.

Sandeep Shastri is Vice Chancellor, Jagran Lakecity University, Bhopal, and National Co-ordinator of the Lokniti network; Sanjay Kumar is Co-Director of the Lokniti programme at CSDS; and Suhas Palshikar taught Political Science and is currently Co-Director of the Lokniti programme and chief editor of Studies in Indian Politics

Top News Today

Sign in to unlock member-only benefits!
  • Access 10 free stories every month
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign-up/manage your newsletter subscriptions with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early access to discounts & offers on our products
Sign in


Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.