The Hindu CSDS-Lokniti Post-Poll Survey 2021

West Bengal Assembly Elections | BJP failed to attract Congress, Left supporters

West Bengal BJP office wears a deserted look after party's defeat to TMC in state assembly polls, in Kolkata, Sunday, May 2, 2021.   | Photo Credit: PTI

The success of the BJP in West Bengal during the 2019 Lok Sabha election was largely made possible due to a significant shift amongst traditional Left and Congress supporters towards it.

image/svg+xml Voted for.. Voters who described themselves as… AITC BJP Left-Congress Traditional Left supporters (6% in 2021) 18 (31) 33 (39) 46 (30) Traditional Cong (3%) -29 25 (32) 50 (36) Traditional AITC (34%) 85 (64) 7 (35) 2 (-) Traditional BJP (15%) 4 (8) 94 (88) 1 (4) Non-committed/other party supporters (42%) 39 (46) 45(37) 12(13) Figures are percentages, the rest voted for other parties and candidates. Figures outside parentheses are for 2021 and within parentheses for 2019. Table 1: BJP failed to mobilise many traditional Left- Cong voters the way it had in 2019
 

The Lokniti-CSDS NES 2019 post-poll data indicated — around two-fifths of traditional Left voters and one-third of traditional Congress supporters voted for the BJP in the Lok Sabha election, helping it achieve its unexpected victories. The BJP needed two things to win the 2021 election — either it had to make a bigger dent in the traditional base of the Left and the Congress, and/or mobilise a sizeable number of unattached voters. It seems to have failed on both these accounts. According to our post-poll data, the BJP managed to wean away only 33% of traditional Left voters and 25% of Congress supporters to its side. This is 6 to 7 percentage points less than what it had managed in 2019.

image/svg+xml Voted for.. AITC BJP Left-Congress Others Pro incumbency (53%) 82 8 4 6 Anti incumbency (34%) 5 79 14 1 Silent/Can’t say (13%) 22 52 22 3 Figures are percentages, the rest voted for other parties and candidates. Table 2: One-ffth of the anti-incumbency vote went to the Left
 

Half the traditional Left Front and around two-fifths of traditional Congress voters stuck with their traditional choices and voted for the Left-Congress-ISF joint alliance instead of opting for the BJP. To be sure, not many (only 9%) in our survey this time described themselves as traditional Left-Congress voters. Many of Left-Congress loyalists, we suspect chose to describe themselves as unattached this time — as many as two-fifths of all respondents said they were not a supporter of any particular party. However, among this pool of voters too the BJP could not make any massive gains, securing only 45% of their support.

The failure to capitalise on the ambivalent and uncertain vote seems to have done the damage for the BJP. While the party did manage to capture around four-fifths of the anti-incumbency vote (34% wanted the government out), it could not make the same dent among those (13%) who were not sure if the government should get another chance or not. Only half of such people voted for the BJP and about one-fifth each for the Sanyukta Morcha and the Trinamool (Table 2).

(Shreyas Sardesai is a Research Associate at Lokniti-CSDS; Sanjay Kumar is Co-Director of the Lokniti programme at CSDS.)


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Printable version | Jun 18, 2021 6:09:09 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/elections/west-bengal-assembly/bjp-failed-to-attract-congress-left-supporters-finds-csds-lokniti-survey/article34493183.ece

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