Why does BJP win elections in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh ?
BJP is in power directly or through a a coalition in 64% of India’s States. The States are quite diverse – Gujarat and Maharashtra are some of the richest States in the country while UP, Bihar and Assam are the poorest. So it is quite impossibly actually to say that there is perfect uniformity. However, we shall attempt to derive some similarities.
We finally included 5 criteria but we are happy to consider more suggestions from our readers. The 5 criteria we finally included are
– Language Spoken
– Per Capita Income of the State
– Whether the State is close to the Sea
– Whether the State is close to the border
– Whether the State is high or low on migration
Let us look at how this chart looks –
When you look at Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan, they meet multiple criteria
– Hindi Speaking States
– Low Per Capita Income States
– Non- Coastal States
– Low Migration States
Rajasthan meets the 5th criteria as well – Border States
In terms of messaging, the core BJP messaging
– Strong State Support
– Frustration with current State of affairs (due to the Congress and Gandhi Family)
– Cultural messaging
All 3 of them work well with these States which are generally poor, feel they have been left behind/could have done better or constant threat of their cultures and ways of life. These kinds of message work much less effectively even in BJP ruled states like Maharashtra and Goa and that is where we come to 3 exceptions with two remarkable exceptions
Gujarat is remarkable because it meets just one of the critera, being a border ruled State. Only 4 border ruled States have remained out of BJP Control – Punjab, Sikkim, Mizoram and West Bengal. What is the difference between these 4 states and gujarat?
– Incidence of Minorties
– Strong regional party
Religion mix and regional party has not prevented BJP from coming to power in a border state but it just is that much more difficult (Assam is one such example)
Goa and Maharashtra are exceptional because they meet none of the criteria.Amongst the affluent States – Gujarat meets one criteria, Uttarakhand, HP and Haryana meet multiple criteria. But it is really interesting to note that while BJP has been in power in both Goa (longer time) and Maharashtra (shorter time), it has never crossed 40% share in Goa (35.6% highest in 2002) and never 30% in Maharashtra. Again, it is a lot more difficult for the BJP in States that donot meet the criteria (not impossible as we notice the exceptions)
Coming back to the current elections, the messaging of the BJP fits in well with what is needed in these States, therefore, beating the BJP in these states will need exceptional focus and targeting, indeed quite a tough job. While perhaps it is easier to push freebies and other development items, making strong arguments on having been left behind (even by the BJP) or connecting well on cultural messaging (having claimed being secular and open so long) will be a tough task for the Congress party. These elections are therefore a roadmap for the Opposition should they breach any or more than one State.