Why the Opposition will perform better than 2014

Will the opposition perform better than 2014?

There are many reasons to argue why Modi Govt is liked or disliked but today the focus is on four reasons why the Opposition will perform better than 2014

In 2014, the current NDA won about 350 seats (Excluding TDP and including AIADMK). Essentially the ‘opposition’ won just 193 seats between them. The question is will the opposition perform better than 2014?

Congress has always gained when in Opposition

In every election since 1977, Congress has always gained when in Opposition – 1980, 1999 and 2004. Not so in 1991 (Outside support) and 1998 (Outside support). In 2014 Congress lost 33 seats with less than 5% margin. So even a small gain of 2.5% could swing these seats in its favour. Our Urban survey the Congress had gained 2.1%, it is likely to be higher in rural India which is a bigger loser under PM Modi

Opposition is better organised

In 2014, BJP won atleast 73 seats with 10% or lower margin. May of these are located in States where the Opposition is better organised

  • Uttar Pradesh (17)
  • Bihar (10)
  • Karnataka (8)
  • Jharkhand (5)

While BJP may not lose all of these Seats, even a 70% conversion would give the opposition a gain of 50 seats

BJP’s partners are also in Trouble

BJP’s partners are also in trouble, whether it is AIADMK in Tamil Nadu or Bihar while its allies in Punjab and Maharashtra are in some trouble . These allies together won about 70 seats in 2014. Opinion polls seem to suggest a 30 to 40 seats loss here.

Voter Turnouts are better in 2019

One of the most interesting facets of the 2014 election was the high voter turnout. However, some States are continuing to show an increased voter turnout in 2019 as well. The states are listed here (first four phases) – Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Assam and Karnataka. These are States where BJP performed very well in 2014. One explanation for this is the limited resources opposition candidates had invested in 2014 to drive up their own voter turnout due to inevitability of defeat. This is most visible in the dramatic wins in each of these States for the BJP

Rajasthan – Vote share Gap – 26%

Madhya Pradesh – 20%

Chhattisgarh – 10%

Jharkhand – 16%

Gujarat – 25%

In most cases, the drop in Congress volume of votes versus the previous assembly election was HIGHER than the gain in votes for the BJP

Even without swings but an increased opposition turnout could result in better performance from the opposition. One thing is clear, since Gujarat 2017, Opposition is getting better funded than ever before. This helps better mobilise voters on the ground.

In Sum

A combination of some anti-incumbency, better organisation, better funding and weakness amongst BJP allies will all contribute to a better performance by the Opposition. Therefore it will be difficult for NDA to repeat its 2014 performance. The question therefore is, will the NET losses be 50 seats or 100 seats or 150 seats? Even with 100 seats NET loss, NDA will return to power. The opposition will therefore have to optimise at every level, something difficult when the PM has sustained his satisfaction ratings (very satisfied) throughout the campaign at around 50%. Therefore, the best perspective for the opposition is whatever the result, they will be better placed for the next 5 years when compared with the last 5 years.

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