A YouTube Video and an Article published in The Wire by one of the best Psephologist (election analyst) in India, Mr Yogendra Yadav went viral among at least the people sympathetic to Congress, and more importantly among those who are not ready to accept this 3-1 defeat of congress in the Assembly election in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Telangana. In this article, I would like to give one to one response to the data and claims shared by Yogendra Yadav.
Before we move to the other side of the story let’s summarise Mr. Yadav’s side of the story. Mr Yadav claimed that the collective vote share of Congress in four states that went into the assembly election in November 2023 is higher than the vote received by the BJP. And thus there is no need for Congress to get panic. He made the same inferences for Congress based on the minor difference in vote share in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh.
He also went into the electoral history of these three states and reminded the BJP that in the 2018 assembly election in these four states, BJP lost three out of these four states. But despite that 3-1 defeat for the BJP, BJP returned to power in the 2019 parliamentary election with a far larger majority than in the 2014 Lok Sabha election. Thus, the BJP could be defeated even after this grand victory in 2023.
Let’s go one by one to his claims and what he missed in his ultra-cynicism and love for Congress.
First Claim :
He claimed that BJP received a total of 4 crore 81 lakh 33 thousand 463 votes collectively in these four states while INC received a total 4, crore 90, lakh 77 thousand 907 votes in the same four states. Thus Congress received 9.5 lakh more votes than BJP.
Correction 1: First of all how could a learned person like Mr. Yogendra Yadav miss the fact that there were five states that went into the election in November-December 2023? Mizoram was the fifth state. How long the north-eastern states would continue to feel segregated from mainstream Indian narratives?
Correction 2: If we subtract 4 crore 81 lakh 33 thousand 463 BJP votes from 4, crore 90, lakh 77 thousand 907 Congress Votes the result is 944444. In simple mathematics, this cannot be written as 9.5 lakhs as Mr Yadav claimed. It should be written as 9.4 lac or 9.44 lakhs.
Correction 3: In the last state assembly election held in 2018 in these four states the total votes received by Congress was 2 crores 59 lakh 54 thousand 741 while total votes received by BJP was 1 crore 99 lakh 09 thousand 488. Despite this gain of 60 lakh 45 thousand 253 for Congress, Congress could manage to win only 6 out of 82 Lok Sabha seats from these four states in the 2019 Lok Sabha election.
With 60 lakh 45 thousand 253 gain over BJP congress could not manage to win more than 6 seats while BJP won 65 seats out to 82 lok sabha seats from these four states. And now with 944444 gain to Congress, Mr Yadav is selling a dream to Congress that Congress can win 23 seats in the upcoming Lok Sabha election in 2024.
Mr Yadav claimed that the difference in vote percentage is not large in any of the three states BJP won. Specifically, he mentioned Rajasthan where BJP got 41.7% vote share while Congress got 39.6% and thus the difference is only 2%. Similarly, the difference in Chhattisgarh is 4% and 8% in Madhya Pradesh.
Correction 1: Mr Yadav could have also gone through the vote percentage of the last assembly election held in Madhya Pradesh. In the 2018 Madhya Pradesh legislative election, the BJP got 41.02% vote shares while the Congress got only 40.89%. Thus, despite the fact that the BJP got 0.13% more votes than the Congress, the Congress managed to get five more seats than the BJP and formed government in MP.
In the 2018 Madhya Pradesh Assembly election, BJP got 109 seats while Congress got 114 seats. So in the last election in Madhya Pradesh BJP got fewer seats despite getting more vote share. And if this is correct, and it is correct, then how could you or the Congress take the moral upper hand over the BJP that the Congress got more voters than the BJP?
Correction 2: Mr Yadav claimed that the difference between Congress vote share and BJP vote share in Rajasthan is only 2% but actually it is 2.1%. Mr. Yadav may also remember the fact that in the last Rajasthan State Assembly election held in 2018, the BJP got only 1.32 % fewer votes than the Congress but the difference in terms of the number of seats was 27 seats. BJP got only 73 while INC got 100 seats.
Loss in three Hindi-speaking states by Congress was compensated by gain in Telangana because in Telangana Congress got the majority and 39.40%, and that is 59 lakh 78 thousand 281 more votes than BJP.
Correction 1: True, in Telangana Congress got 59 lakh 78 thousand 281 more votes than BJP and this gain was of around 944444 more than all the gains BJP made in the other three states. But in Telangana too the vote share of Congress increased from 28.40% in 2018 to 39.40% in 2023. This increase was of around 38.73%. But the vote share of BJP increased from 6.98% in 2018 to 13.90% in 2023. This increase for the BJP was around 99.14% which is much higher than 38.73% of the Congress during the same period of time.
Mr Yadav claimed that those who won in these three states (MP, RJ and Chhattisgarh) just before the Loksabha election, they won the next Lok Sabha election. He gave reference to the 2018 and 2003 State Assembly elections. In 2018 Congress won two out of four of these states (Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh) but lost the Lok Sabha election in 2019. and in 2003 BJP won three out of three states but lost the Lok Sabha election in 2004.
Correction 1: Mr Yadav could also have considered two other state assembly elections held in these three States between 2003 and 2019. In 2008, all these three states went through assembly elections and in 2008 election BJP lost 42 seats in Raj, 30 seats in MP, and 0 gain in Chhattisgarh while Congress gained 40 seats in Raj 33 more seats in MP and 1 more seat in Chhattisgarh. And despite that Congress came to power in the 2009 Lok Sabha election.
Correction 2: Let go to now second election that you skipped intentionally or unintentionally. In the 2013 state assembly elections in these three states, BJP won all three states with a clear majority. and in the next Lok Sabha election the BJP won a thumping majority. Mr Yadav was too quick to make such supernatural inferences from the selected electoral history of these three states.
Mr Yadav claimed that out of the three states BJP already had 61 out of 65 seats and thus congress has nothing to lose here. He also suggested that Congress is dreading to defeat BJP by gaining in Bihar, Maharashtra, Karnataka and West Bengal only.
Correction 1: I still remember Mr. Yadav making the difference between the state assembly election and the Lok Sabha election. Everyone knows, that Modi is the only factor and he still has more followers than any leaders in the INDIA alliance. Everyone knows that voters in India vote differently in state assembly elections and Lok Sabha elections.
Correction 2: Even if Congress or partners of INDIA alliance do better in Bihar, West Bengal, Maharashtra, and Karnataka, is it possible for Congress to come to power in 2024 without snatching seats from BJP that she got in these three states (Raj, MP, Chhattisgarh) or any other states where BJP is still strong like Gujarat, UP, Punjab, Haryana, etc? If Congress is happy to let BJP remain with the same number of Lok Sabha seats in these states and still hopes to defeat BJP in 2024, this calculation does not make sense.
Correction 3: Mr. Yadav also claimed that even after losing these three states BJP can manage only 47 seats which is 14 fewer than the 2019 Lok Sabha election. This is laughable. In 2018 when Congress managed to come to power in two out of these three states but could not manage to win more than 3 seats and now when Congress lost all three states, Mr. Yadav is imagining that Congress may win 14 Lok Sabha seats in the upcoming Lok Sabha election in 2024?
In the end, I still agree with Mr Yadav on at least one point that Congress has nothing to lose in these three states in the upcoming Lok Sabha election because BJP already had 61 out of 65 Lok Sabha seats from these three states. But is Congress dreaming to power by managing to stop the BJP where BJP was in the 2019 election? I think this kind of calculation and inferences could only do a disservice to Congress and could damage the hope of its revival. Congress needs deep introspection.