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3 charts that explain the BJP’s gain, and crushing defeat in Delhi elections

A booth-level analysis of the election results shows that there may have been some reason for the BJP to be positive about its prospects.

Updated: Feb 18, 2020 12:48 IST

By VIjdan Mohammad Kawoosa, Hindustan Times New Delhi

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) won 64.5% of the total booths in 2020 elections. While this is a nine percentage point decline from the 73.6% of the booths it won in 2015, it is still a very high figure. (Amal KS/HT PHOTO)

New Delhi: Until the Delhi assembly election results were declared, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) appeared quite upbeat about its prospects. Given that the BJP could not even win 10 seats, was this optimism misplaced?

A booth-level analysis of the election results shows that there may have been some reason for the BJP to be positive about its prospects.

In 2015, the BJP won 23.2% of the total 12,177 polling booths in Delhi. This year, it won 35.1% of the total 13,747 polling booths, an increase of 12 percentage points.

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) won 64.5% of the total booths in 2020 elections. While this is a nine percentage point decline from the 73.6% of the booths it won in 2015, it is still a very high figure.



 

The BJP is known to follow the model of using “panna pramukhs” (a dedicated campaigner for each page of the voter list) during elections. If these grassroots campaigners were giving the feedback that the party was wresting an extra 12% of booths from its opponents, it could well explain the pre-result optimism displayed by the BJP. However, even such a micro-level campaign plan has its limitations, especially when it is faced with an adversary which is as strong as the AAP in Delhi.

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The share of booth-wise victories for both the AAP and BJP are disproportionate to the change in their overall vote share. The AAP’s vote share went down by just 0.8 percentage points, and the BJP’s increased by 6.3 percentage points.

The AAP won more than half of the booths in 59 out of 70 assembly constituencies (ACs) in these elections. This number is just 11 for the BJP. In 23 ACs, the AAP won more than 75% of the booths. The BJP could achieve this feat in just three ACs. The worst booth-level performance for the AAP was in Ghonda AC, where it could win just 16.5% of the booths. The BJP won less than 16.5% of booths in 11 ACs. These statistics clearly demonstrate that the AAP has a much wider and consistent political footprint across Delhi compared to the BJP.

To be sure, even winning majority of booths is not sufficient to win an election. In three ACs – Krishna Nagar, Mustafabad and Patparganj – the BJP won more than 50% of the booths, yet it lost the elections in these ACs.

This can happen if a party has such heavy trails in booths it has lost, that it is unable to make up with leads from booths it has won. A booth-wise analysis of votes is useful to understand this trend. Not only has the AAP won a significantly higher share of booths, its victories are also bigger in terms of vote share. The total vote share of the AAP in booths it won is 62.4%, while the BJP received only 28.9% of votes in these booths. The BJP received 56.6% votes in the booths it won, while the AAP got 37.5% votes.

 

Even as the BJP has been able to increase its foothold between the 2015 and 2020 assembly elections, it has not been able to perform uniformly better across Delhi’s seven Parliamentary Constituencies (PCs). The share of booths the BJP won increased in six PCs. It gained the most in the East Delhi PC, where it won 55% of the booths, up by nearly 19 percentage points compared to the 2015 elections. On the contrary, the share of the booths that the AAP won decreased in six of the seven PCs. New Delhi PC is the only one where the AAP managed to increase the share of booths it won (by four percentage points).

 

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