How well the Akhilesh Yadav-Mayawati does against BJP in UP depends crucially on how smoothly their voter bases remain loyal as two long-feuding parties tie up.
Here’s an indication of how this can work in different scenarios.
1. Note, first, UP’s 80 seats account for 15% of Lok Sabha. That’s why everyone says UP can win or lose polls
2. Now in four elections beginning 2009 – two state & two national polls – the important point if you compare vote shares is that the worst of SP-BSP total vote share is similar the bestof BJP’s vote share, both around 41%. (See table 1).
3. This clearly shows the uphill task BJP faces if SP’s and BSP’s voters join hands.
4. But, and this is the key part, the two regional parties’ voters have to actually vote in droves for each other’s candidates. The more willingly they do this, greater the trouble for BJP, and vice versa.
5. So, we imagine three scenarios. One, voter base loyalty is 100%, it’s 80%, that is, 20% of BSP, SP votes go to parties other than the two allies, and loyalty is 60%, that is, 40% SP and BSP voters are disloyal. We take the 2014 Lok Sabha poll vote shares in UP for this exercise and assume that BJP retains its vote share, that is, it doesn’t lose votes but it also can’t take advantage of full vote division between SP and BSP.
6. In a scenario where BSP and SP retain all their votes while in an alliance, by 2014 vote shares, the alliance will win 41 seats, beating BJP-led NDA, which will get 37; and Congress gets 2. This is bad news for BJP, because this assumes both that SP-BSP doesn’t increase vote shares and BJP doesn’t lose vote share compared to 2014. Even then, NDA falls below 40. (See map 1)
7. If BSP and SP lose 20% of their combined vote share while in an alliance, the situation changes dramatically. NDA gets 60 and BSP and SP get 18; Congress gets 2; (See map 2)
8. And if 40% of vote share is lost in an alliance between BSP and SP, BJP doesn’t suffer at all. NDA gets 72 and BSP and SP get 6; Congress gets 2 (see map 3)
9. So, it’s clear even from this simple mathematical exercise, how crucial it is for BSP and SP to retain the loyalty of their vote bases, and therefore how important it is for BJP to try and sow doubts and divisions within the ranks of SP and BSP.
Text: Ravi Seth