Post-poll survey: Modi factor swings it for the BJP in Himachal Pradesh

Seven in every 10 voters in the State wanted to see him back as PM

Updated - May 30, 2019 12:12 am IST

Published - May 29, 2019 11:56 pm IST

The Himachal Pradesh verdict stands out for the sheer scale of the BJP’s victory, sweeping all four seats with a vote share of over 69%, the highest for a party among all States.

Vote share of BJP in states where it swept all the seats (%)

The Congress saw a decline of around 13 percentage points in its vote share. Though the Congress lost all four seats in 2014, it was able to hold on to over 40% votes. Not only did the BJP win all four seats in the State again in 2019 but it also won them by a huge vote margin of over 3 lakh votes. The victory came on the back of a turnout in excess of 70%, the highest ever in the State.

Preference for Modi as the next Prime minister (%)

The survey data show that one of the prime factors that worked in the BJP’s favour was the strong support for Narendra Modi. Seven in every 10 voters in the State wanted to see Mr. Modi as the Prime Minister. This number was not only higher than in 2014 but also 24 percentage points higher than the national average. Asked what mattered to them the most while voting, three of every 10 respondents said it was the prime ministerial candidate. Here too, this figure was much lower for the rest of the country (17%).

Modi effect among different party supporters (%)

 

Among BJP voters, for four of every 10, the PM candidate was the most important consideration. For a little over half of the Congress voters, the party was the most important consideration. Data suggest that one in every four BJP voter would have voted differently if Mr. Modi had not been the PM candidate. This figure has doubled from the previous Lok Sabha election.

Satisfaction with the government and the sitting MPs’

 

What further helped the BJP in the State was the growing factionalism in the Congress. The party was divided into two factions — that of Virbhadra Singh and Sukhwinder Sukhu. Another factor had been the delay in the announcement of, and allotment of ticket to, the Congress candidates. Allotment of ticket to the grandson of Sukh Ram may have irked some traditional Congress supporters, especially in the Virbhadra camp.

One in every five of Virbhadra’s supporters voted for BJP

 

In the above scenario, the Congress workers were not found enthused about the election campaign. Where only one-fourth of the respondents reported that a Congress worker had come to their house to ask for vote, four of every 10 respondents said that someone had come from the BJP. The Balakot air strikes played a part in this victory but it will be wrong to say that it was solely because of the strikes. Six of every 10 respondents who had not heard of the strikes voted for the BJP. However, seven of every 10 of those who had heard of the strikes voted for the BJP.

(Ramesh K. Chauhan teaches at the Department of Political Science, Himachal Pradesh University, Shimla; Sakshi Khemani is a researcher at Lokniti-CSDS)

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