The Hindu CSDS-Lokniti Post-Poll Survey

Post-poll survey: different strokes for State and Centre in Chhattisgarh

Chhattisgarh has possibly thrown up the biggest puzzle of the Lok Sabha election. The BJP was decimated by the Congress in the Assembly election held six months ago. Not only that, the BJP had replaced all its sitting MPs with fresh candidates just ahead of the Lok Sabha election. And yet, not only did it manage to come back in the electoral race, it stunned everybody by winning nine of the 11 Lok Sabha seats in the state. Within six months, it was able to increase its vote share to 50.7% from 33% in the Assembly election.

The Congress could just add one more seat, compared with the 2014 Lok Sabha election, to its kitty.

What made this BJP’s turnaround possible? As the post-poll survey findings indicate, the BJP improved its performance across the social spectrum, except the Adivasis who seem to have stayed with the Congress. In particular, the BJP managed to push the Congress way behind among young voters (18-25 years of age), women, college-educated youth, upper castes, OBCs (despite having an OBC Chief Minister), Dalits and the urban voters. The 20 percentage point lead taken by the BJP over the Congress among women is particularly noteworthy.

Could this dramatic social shift in favour of the BJP be attributed to the performance of the Congress government? The findings of the post-poll survey seem to negate this as about three-fourths of voters were satisfied. Also, a majority of voters also approved of making Bhupesh Baghel the Chief Minister. The level of satisfaction with the work done by MLAs also appeared to be quite high (70%), though the benefit of many schemes launched by the new government is yet to reach a large number of eligible beneficiaries. For instance, only a fifth of voters said that they or any member of the family received the benefit of loan waiver.

What is, however, important to note is that eight out of 10 voters were also satisfied with the performance of the NDA government at the Centre. They were not only highly aware of many Central government schemes such as the Ujjwala Yojana, there were also many (40%) who benefited from this. This probably explains the higher vote share of the BJP among women than the Congress. Three-fourths of voters were in support of the 10% reservation for the general category.

This might have been one of the factors for the surge of BJP among the young and college educated voters. Interestingly, and unlike the voters in many States, more than half the voters of Chhattisgarh approved of demonetisation. Thus remarkably higher appreciation of the BJP-led NDA government at the Centre made most people (48%) longing to see Narendra Modi as the Prime Minister once again.

Sanjeer Alam is faculty at the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, Delhi. Lakhan Choudhary is the Chhattisgarh State coordinator for Lokniti based in Raipur

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Printable version | May 3, 2021 9:23:48 PM |

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