At the time of the 2012 Mumbai municipality elections, Shiv Sena, BJP and MNS together got 50% of the total votes polled. It is said that the Maharashtrian votes are 35%, the Gujarati votes are 15%, the religious minorities are 25%, leaving the balance 25% for the non-Maharashtrian & non-Gujarati Hindu vote.
It should be remembered that at the time, the possibility that Narendra Modi would take the national stage was not really considered with any seriousness, at the level of the leadership of the BJP. Though there had already been a large build up at the grass root levels in favour of Narendraji – a build up pushed from below through the social media.
The alliance equation between the Shiv Sena and the BJP was on the basis that the former would bring the Maharashtrian votes, and the latter the Gujarati votes. Since the other parties would have some support in these two vote-banks, it would be fair to assume that consolidation would mean 70% of these two vote banks, i.e. 35% of total vote, would vote for the alliance. So, where did the other 15% come from?
It would be fair to assume that the religious minorities would hardly vote for the alliance. So, 60% of the non-Maharashtrian & and non-Gujarati Hindu vote would have voted for the alliance. I would like to classify this too as a consolidation of the votes.
In Goa’s 2012 assembly elections, the increase in the BJP votes came entirely from the additional votes that were cast, over and above the 2007 elections. Actually, the Congress votes, in absolute numbers, increased by 5%. Thus, if one has to accept the contention that the Catholics voted for the BJP in significant number, one has to conclude that more Hindus voted for the Congress. I think this is an absurd contention. In fact, it can be established that the BJP voters came out irrespective of the religious identity of the candidate – that is, they voted on purely secular basis.
Since then, I have observed that every election exhibited this Hindu consolidation. And when Narendraji came to the centre stage, the whole mood got electrified almost overnight. In the Lok Sabha elections, the NDA got 36% of the national vote. This hides the fact that the total votes that the BJP itself received increased by 2.2 times over 2009, and that out of the increased votes of 140 million, the BJP got nearly 100 million, constituting 70% of the additional votes.
Also, when one sees the state-wise break up, the 43% vote share in Uttar Pradesh does indeed exhibit the trend towards Hindu consolidation. And in states where the BJP organization was weak, and there was little chance of the BJP getting elected, Hindus sought other options.
We have also seen the performance of the BJP in the various local elections in rural Maharashtra, where the voting happens more due to the contacts of the local politicians rather than the party. And, we have seen the performance of the BJP in the local elections in Odisha, particularly in the rural areas.
I do not have the vote share figures for the just concluded elections in Maharashtra. However, the total number of seats won does tell a story.
Without an alliance, the Shiv Sena, the BJP and the MNS got 173 seats out of 227 seats in Mumbai, each contesting separately. In the last elections, the three parties got 133 seats, with a vote share of 50%. Can it not be said that this performance of getting 76% of the seats would mean a vote share of 60%? (In the previous elections, the seat share was 58%.) If so, then my contention of a solid Hindu consolidation would be vindicated.
At the state level, the BJP got 49% of the seats, the Shiv Sena 21% and the MNS 1%, for a total of 71%.
Looking at the total votes polled, it should be recognized that 2017 saw 56% polling in Mumbai, against 45% in the last elections. This polling is actually higher than the Lok Sabha elections.
What exactly does the Hindu consolidation signify?
My starting point is that being pro-Hindu does not mean anti anyone. Even when one talks about the development plank, it can happen only on the basis of “Sabka saath, sabka vikas”. Issues like the recovery of the Shri Ramjanmabhoomi cannot be considered to be anti anyone, since it is the recovery of our holy site back to the Hindus.
Unfortunately, there are many amongst the strategists for the BJP, living in Delhi, who have internalized the ‘secular’ propaganda that being pro-Hindu is communal. Even though Narendraji and Amit Shah are trying to break this thinking, they have only been partially successful. What they do not seem to realize is the mood of the people does not consider that being pro-Hindu is to be communal. That is because, I think, the data is not being collected properly, or analysed properly. The whole debate is on a matter of perception. This is an intellectually lazy way to go about their task.
I also think that there are many among the religious minorities who would like help to get out of the clutches of their religious leaders, who, by definition, would be obscurantists. Issues like a uniform civil code will help in breaking this hold.
There are many among the so-called backward castes who also think that reservations should be on the basis of caste plus economic criteria, because they do feel that they are doing injustice to their own poorer brethren when only caste is used. Please see this 2m 17s interview of Aparna Yadav:
— The Quint (@TheQuint) February 12, 2017
It is time that the ‘intellectuals’ come out of their own mindset of thinking purely in terms of electoral politics, and think what is good for the people. Observe that in the above interview, Barkha Dutt is actually trying to tell Aparnaji that she is doing some sort of political hara kiri.
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