Why the Axis results did not shock me
I had written many months ago on why the BJP would win more seats than 2014. This was not a prediction, it was a simply logical argument. I had done this during the assembly election in 2018. However, once the assembly elections were over, I had some doubts about this argument of mine. I had not changed my view of Modi returning to power but questioned if BJP would win more seats than 2018.
That opinion changed again in February
Aeon and us were collaborating on an Urban only survey (a Daily tracker). We wanted to demonstrate how a daily tracker could tell us a lot about what influences voters. On the Budget day, BJP was down 5% over 2014. By the time we reached Balakot, BJP had recovered most of the 2014 share. Post Balakot, it flew off the charts. Urban India is much better informed than rural India. With the launch of the Congress Minimum Income scheme, BJP dipped a bit but the overall share was still higher than 2014 (Marginally).
I have a strong belief in uni-directionality of urban and rural. While most argued that BJP’s share may stay steady in Urban while going down in rural. The exit poll data confirms my hypothesis, it seems to suggest that while urban may have marginally gone up, rural went up quite a bit.
In 2014, the rural urban gap (for BJP) as per my estimates was quite significant (12% points). These swings confirmed a. The consistency in direction of both urban and rural, b. My central argument in November article that BJP will win more because of rural.
Just to reiterate, I changed my views many times to a narrow win until early May. In May, this happened.
Look at the data of our survey with Aeon and see this survey by CVoter.
- The bounce is similar (from Feb 1st) and then Balakot
- See how the momentum sustains after election started in April with marginal dips here and there.
I have co-authored a book on Customer Satisfaction, when I see a top box of 51% on satisfaction, I am reminded of Apple, not Micromax. This is when I told many of my ‘liberal’ friends that it is game over. My liberal friends still stick to 180 to 220 and perhaps they will be right and I will be wrong, we shall know on 23rd May.
Even if NDA wins with say 300 odd seats, it is clear that the ‘liberal’ parties have a long way to go to be able to compete with the BJP. I had written these predictions in March 2018.
1. BJP will be the leading party in the country for a minimum of the next 15 years. Economic growth of 7-8% is likely to easily sustain until 2025 giving the BJP enough talking points to sustain its lead over other parties
2. If the BJP sustains its current performance for another 2-3 years, it will have brute majorities in both the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha giving it the ability to shift the constitution in the manner it desires (Simultaneous elections being an example). For a party in ascendancy, simultaneous elections could sustain power for a long time. One can only hope that none of the changes will fuel any negative energy in the country
3. Narendra Modi is the undisputed leader of the BJP and is likely to remain so until 2029. While anti-incumbency will pick up and peak around 2022, the BJP is unlikely to replace Modi in 2024.
In 2014, India’s per capita was $ 1452, the air was rife with corruption scandals and inefficiencies existed everywhere. In 2024 per capita income is likely to be $ 3500 and with very limited poverty and with a highly educated voter base. Global circumstances could be substantially different with China fully emerging as a superpower. Growth itself could have slowed down owing to lower population growth. In these circumstances, BJP will be tempted to continue with their mascot Narendra Modi instead of trying other new names
4. BJP will see its share of ups and downs over the next 5 years as anti-incumbency builds against it across the country. With changing demographic mix, what drives the population will also change. The core ideology of the BJP will increasingly confront an entirely new generation of voters who are unlike the generation that is currently powering the BJP to power. However, without there being a sound alternative, it is unlikely the emerging voters can end the dominance of the BJP
5. The opposition will be able to beat BJP only if they unify as one party with one leader. No front was able to beat the Congress for long and no front will be able to beat the BJP. The BJP will use every resource on the planet to ensure that the opposition does not come together.
6. Regional parties are all likely to be in trouble with the exception of Mamata or Stalin perhaps. Regional parties in UP, Bihar, Odisha, Delhi etc will all have to align to a political party nationally. I may be wrong on the parties itself but the power of regional parties will wane for the first time since the 1990s given the increased ‘national’ mindset of the voters
7. The opposition will have to evolve an ideology distinct from the BJP and one that appeals to at least 60% of the voters. This may or may not come from the current parties. Further, the cadre from the party will need to have the courage to challenge the BJP on the ground.
8. Arvind Kejriwal has single-handedly damaged the possibility of a new party emerging for a long time. No new party is likely to emerge until there is serious frustration with the BJP and a mass and appealing leader drives the formation of this new party. A strong existing leader from the opposition will have the highest probability of success. The opposition is likely to see the greatest success if it is led by someone who has already demonstrated his/her governance on the ground.
9. The next biggest challenge for the BJP will come from Urban India (whenever it is) and not from rural India. The challenger from BJP will come from an alliance of millennials, women, minorities and urban voters. The biggest mistake being done by the current opposition is focussing too much on rural India. It is tempting (like in Gujarat) but will not deliver elections in any State. By 2026, a much larger number of seats will be urban (about 200 plus Lok Sabha seats from the current 100+)
10. The complete character of the current opposition politician will change from an affluent feudal or businessman or professional to a passionate affluent (affluent for sure). It is only when the bulk of the opposition is loaded with passionate affluent will they come back to power
Subhash Chandra, CEO, CrowdWisdom360