As reported in the morning, Punjab has seen some churning today. Sunny Deol is of course leading from Gurdaspur and the neighboring Hoshiyarpur has also seen a close contest with a small margin that will decide the winner – it is in the tossup category on our MAPi – Micro Analytics Projections (INTELLIGENCE) – trackers. The lone union territory of Chandigarh has once again gone with Kiron Kher and BJP. SAD is seen to be ahead in two seats and may actually do better than expected. In all probability, the Congress party will not be able to touch the double-digit mark in Punjab.
Himachal Pradesh too is a straight sweep for the BJP like its neighboring hill state of Uttarakhand where the Prime Minister is currently in a two-day spiritual recoup tour. Kangra, Shimla and Hamirpur should see big margins for BJP, while Mandi may be a smaller margin of victory – it still depends on the Kullu side of the story, for if that side gives a bigger lead to the saffron party, then BJP may win all 4 with huge margins. The reasons for Congress party’s underperformance are not far to seek, former Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh (Raje as he is lovingly referred to by people here) will soon turn 85-year-old and it was on his shoulders that Congress was built on in this state. Raje still commands loyalty from literally hundreds of leaders across the state, especially more so in the upper parts of the state – the Shimla-Mandi belt – once he receded into the background, Congress faces a huge vacuum. This is the problem with leader-centric parties with little or no cadre base, once the leaders are gone, the party too vanishes – like how Congress has vanished from UP or Bihar or even West Bengal.
In Madhya Pradesh, the Kamalnath led Congress government is already facing anti-incumbency in under 5 months. There is even a clamor for Shivraj Singh’s return among a section of populace. One of the primary reasons is the ineffectiveness of Congress party’s promised farm loan waiver which Rahul Gandhi had promised to execute in 10 days, “the CM would be removed on the 11th day, if it’s not done”, the Gandhi scion had famously promised before last year’s assembly elections. As per rough estimates, only about 25% of the farmers have got some kind of waiver, the rest are simply too angry and anxious. Yet, as always this election season, the high turnout is an x factor, but then, so is Modi as many voters who voted for Congress are returning back to the BJP fold to give Modi another chance as Prime Minister of India. In today’s polling, MAPi has allocated 7 seats to the BJP and 1 is a tossups. BJP should easily cross the 23-seat mark which looked tough after the first two rounds of polling in the state.
In Jharkhand, all three were tough seats today for BJP, so two are in tossup category (although both are tilting towards the saffron party) and one is going to the BJP. Surprisingly, Godda, a saffron stronghold represented by Nishikant Dubey, a two term MP from here, is in the tossup category. Bihar as usual looks good for the NDA and the Modi-Nitish-Paswan alliance should easily touch the 35-seat mark, barring internal sabotage in some seats. Misa Bharati, we believe is also losing in today’s polling. We have already called Uttar Pradesh in favor of the BJP, but there is one small twist as Gorakhpur leads of the BJP have reduced quite by much and it is just hovering above the “tossup” category. The Nishads here seem to have voted for SP candidate despite Pravin Nishad of the Nishad party having joined the BJP. Gorakhpur is a prestige seat for Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and a second straight loss here after the famous by-election defeat of 2018 would hurt the Mahant’s persona and may even endanger his chief ministership.
In Bengal, BJP definitely has chances in three seats out of the nine that went to polls today, while Trinamool is clearly ahead in four seats and two have been classified as “tossups”. Rahul Sinha, as we reported in the post-noon article could well turn out to be 10th time lucky after having suffered 9 straight losses.
After that brief round-up of today’s polling, let us look at what all India picture finally looks like after all the phases. Remember, our macro-analytical models were tracking the vote-share, while MAPi was tracking each MP seat at the polling booth level to come up with seat-wise projections throughout the election season. After about six phases there were still some 25 tossup seats which were mostly tilting towards the BJP. Now, our models have reallocated all the seats and this is the all India picture after all the 7 phases of elections.
Our models are predicting a 5% positive swing in favor of the BJP on its own as compared to 2014. This is happening largely because of three electoral geographies as you can see from the map math below. BJP is gaining almost 3 percentage points from the eastern zone – West Bengal, Odisha and the 7 north eastern states – and is also gaining surprisingly in south India simply because of Karnataka, Kerala and undivided Andhra where the party is gaining by default because it is contesting more number of seats there. BJP is also gaining in what we term as north-western electoral zone along with Uttar Pradesh. The only zone where BJP could be losing a bit of vote-share is in the Bihar-Jharkhand-Chhattisgarh zone.
The seat share model using MAPi has also been mapped to India with different electoral zones – this zoning is slightly different from the vote-share zoning that we have done, but then you must always remember that we are using two different models with their own datasets and predictive algorithms. Everything shows that this 2019 election would be the greatest mandate ever for a party since 1984.