Except for one pollster, ‘Axis My India’, all other pollsters clearly proved to be horribly wrong in their exit poll prediction, in the Haryana assembly election 2019.
Technically, the BJP got a 3.3% higher vote share, compared to 2014, but then, why did it lose 7 seats? In the 2014 assembly elections, BJP’s vote share was 33.2%, whereas, in 2019, BJP’s vote share was 36.5%. The increase of vote share always adds seats. That’s why most of the pollsters gave more numbers to the BJP. But then, the dynamism of Indian polity is such, that sometimes, vote share doesn’t matter.
The political dynamism in a particular polity always matters. The purpose of this article is to assess the exact reasons why the pollsters failed to get the numbers right, and what message the Haryana people wanted to give to all the parties.
However, one thing must be noted here. In my article ‘Assembly Election 20019: A preview on Haryana polity’, I have categorically mentioned that ‘I think BJP will retain the power even if it loses 10-15% vote share compared to its general election performance in May this year’. I think I was right, as I was apprehensive about one reason which I will discuss in later on.
The BJP lost a 21.52% (58.02% – 36.5%) vote share, compared to the general election, 2019, where it got a 58.02% vote share. If you lose more than 15% vote share, then it becomes difficult to form a majority; although BJP did well, to be the single largest party getting 40 seats.
To understand the real reasons, I would like to refer to a pictorial presentation by NDTV. It allows you to see both, the 2014 results, as well as the 2019 results, in the same map. Now, let’s decode what happened to Haryana polity in 2019. In the 2014 assembly election, INLD was a formidable party with the solid backing of the Jat community, and it got a 24.1% vote share, along with 19 seats. The Congress was placed in the third position, with a 20.6% vote share and 15 seats.
INLD was nowhere in this election post its split with JJP. It has got just a 2.44% vote share, down by 21.66% compared to its 2014 performance. This was evident from the general election 2019 where it got just a 1.89% vote share.
As a prominent party vanished from the polity, there was bound to be a change of dynamism in the polity. When INLD was running, most of the jats (27%) were rallied behind it, and thus it made a counter polarisation on non-Jats towards the BJP. The loser was Congress in 2014.
In the map (NDTV) referred above, one can see how INLD dominated the Jat belt, (central Haryana), eating away at Congress’s Jat votes. Whereas BJP dominated Northern and Southern Haryana, in non-Jat dominated areas. In 2019, the Congress and JJP got the Jat votes divided between them (exact vote share not has been given yet by ECI). Most of Congress and JJP’s vote has increased in that area.
However, the BJP just lost net four seats in the Jat belt, as it got some of INLD’s seats, whereas, it lost some to Congress and JJP. It, in fact, lost more in Northern Haryana which is basically a rural belt. Here, BJP lost its ministers and many other MLAs and new star contestants, just because they lost field-connect. They took voters for granted, assuming that people will vote for them due to Narendra Modi’s popularity. Thus, the changing dynamism of the polity due to vanishing of INLD, and anti-incumbency at the ground doomed the BJP, despite Khattar government providing a reasonably, corruption- less government. Manoharlal Khattar too, is not a popular leader in Maharashtra, although he is respected for his honesty.
Message to BJP:
Message to Congress:
In conclusion, I would say just one thing, which I always say, that Indian voters are smart, intelligent and mature enough to exercise their voting rights as a whole. Whoever takes them for granted always bites the dust. It’s the Indian voters that defeated the mighty Indira Gandhi, post-emergency. It’s the same voters that defeated the Vajpayee government, despite Vajpayee’s popularity, just because the BJP MPs took the voters for granted. They displayed the same wisdom again, both, in Haryana and Maharashtra this time. Thus, I am very proud of the Indian voters. Aren’t you too?