The Hindu CSDS-Lokniti Post-Poll Survey 2021

Assam Assembly Elections | Beyond community vote, urban, middle class voters back NDA

Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal (right) with BJP leader Himanta Biswa Sarma and Asom Gana Parishad leaders Atul Bora and Kekhab Mahanta during an election rallyin Jalukbari constituency in Sualkuchi, Kamrup (Metro) district of Assam.   | Photo Credit: RITU RAJ KONWAR

As we have reported elsewhere on this page today, Assam has witnessed religious polarisation on such a large scale that any discussion on other social factors impacting voting choice is almost redundant. This polarisation cuts across the other cleavage — Asamiya and Bangla-speaking Hindus and similarly overcomes the factors of caste and tribe. Within the framework of this polarisation, what are the other social factors that may contribute to voting choice?

image/svg+xml Note: Figures are percentages and may not total 100 due to rounding; fgures outside parentheses are for 2021 and fgures within are for 2016. In order to compare with 2021, the fgures for 2016 are the combined percentages of the current Mahajot alliance of Congress-AIUDF-BPF-Left parties even though the parties fought that election separately. For NDA too, the 2016 fgures are based on the current alliance and not the one back then Mahajot NDA AJP-RD Others Women 42 (49) 45 (39) 4 8 (13) Men 45 (48) 44 (38) 6 6 (14) Up to 25 yrs 53 (51) 38 (35) 3 5 (14) 26-35 yrs 47 (46) 43 (39) 7 4 (15) 36-45 yrs 39 (51) 50 (35) 5 5 (14) 46-55 yrs 39 (48) 45 (39) 4 11 (13) 56 yrs and above 40 (48) 45 (42) 4 10 (10) Non-literate 53 (63) 37 (22) 3 8 (15) Up to Primary 48 (55) 39 (32) 4 9 (14) Up to Matric 40 (42) 49 (43) 6 5 (15) College and above 27 (36) 58 (56) 10 6 (8) Poor 53 (47) 39 (37) 3 6 (17) Lower Class 46 (55) 44 (31) 3 6 (14) Middle Class 36 (48) 48 (40) 7 9 (12) Rich 26 (37) 57 (56) 14 4 (7) Rural 45 (52) 43 (33) 5 7 (15) Urban 27 (26) 67 (67) 2 5 (7) Socio-economic factors Apart from religious polarisation, education, class and location were most likely to decide if voters would choose Mahajot or NDA. While the Mahajot was stronger among the poor, the NDA got a major share of votes from the middle and upper classes. However, among lower-income groups, the share of both alliances was almost equal. The NDA also had a huge lead over the Mahajot among urban voters. Further, the higher the access to education, greater was the support for the NDA in that group. But the fgures must be read with a caveat—as high as three-fourths (72%) of Mahajot’s votes have come from Muslims, while the NDA’s vote bank consists largely of Hindus (86%)
 

Looking at the way in which various social groups have voted this time, we find that education, class and location were most likely to decide if the voter would choose the Mahajot or the NDA. This comes out from the Lokniti-CSDS post-poll survey.

On the basis of levels of education, there is a neat pattern: higher the access to education, greater the share of NDA votes in that group. In turn, the Mahajot could win a greater share of votes among those with no formal education and among those who had education only up to the primary level. In both these groups, the Mahajot outperformed the NDA. In terms of economic class too, a clear pattern emerges: The Mahajot being stronger among the poor, the NDA getting a major share of votes among middle and upper classes. However, among lower income groups, the share of both alliances was almost equal. The NDA has a huge lead (40 percentage points) over the Mahajot among urban voters and though the Mahajot polled well among rural voters, here too, the NDA still has not done badly either.

Lokniti-CSDS post-poll study shows a slight but significant advantage to the NDA among women compared to men. Age also shows an interesting pattern — the NDA seems less popular among the youngest voters — something we had noticed in 2016 also.

The figures must be read with a caveat — as high as three fourths (72%) of Mahajot’s votes have come from Muslims (more so due to their alliance with the AIUDF), while the NDA’s vote bank consists of largely Hindus (86%).

(The author is a Researcher at Lokniti-CSDS, Delhi)


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Printable version | Jun 18, 2021 5:07:43 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/elections/assam-assembly/assam-assembly-elections-beyond-community-vote-urban-middle-class-voters-back-nda/article34510577.ece

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