Invincible in north, spread thin along coast

Senior BJP leader L K Advani hugs Narendra Modi as Rajnath Singh and Sushma Swaraj look on at the BJP head office in New Delhi, Saturday. Prem nath Pandey Senior BJP leader L K Advani hugs Narendra Modi as Rajnath Singh and Sushma Swaraj look on at the BJP head office in New Delhi, Saturday. Prem nath Pandey

Of the 17.16 crore votes the BJP got in the Lok Sabha polls, more than two-thirds, or 11.74 crore to be precise, came from just seven states — Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Bihar and Karnataka — which contributed 211 seats to the party’s tally of 282.

In UP, where the party won 71 of the total 80 seats, 3.43 crore people voted for the BJP.

Another 1.60 crore votes came from Madhya Pradesh where the party won 27 of the 29 seats. Gujarat and Rajasthan, where the BJP swept all seats, polled 1.52 crore and 1.48 crore votes, respectively. This was made possible by the presence of strong party organisation and CMs — Shivraj Singh Chouhan (MP) and Vasundhara Raje (Rajasthan) — who won Assembly elections about six months ago. But the impact of the ‘Modi wave’ in these states is evident, since the presence of these leaders did not deliver same results in the 2009 LS elections.

A total of 1.33 crore voters each in Maharashtra and Karnataka pressed the lotus symbol on the EVMs. Put together, both these states got the party 40 seats in the Lok Sabha.

Apart from the Modi factor, the BJP’s success in Maharashtra was fuelled by carefully crafted alliances with smaller parties like RPI (Athawale), Swabhimani Paksha, and Rashtriya Samaj Pakshs to woo Dalits, farmers and EBC community in the state.

In Karnataka, BJP did a course correction and brought Lingayat strongman and former CM B S Yeddyurappa and tribal leader B Sriramulu into the party, despite objections from L K Advani and Sushma Swaraj, to widen its base that had eroded ahead of 2013 Assembly elections. This was made possible with Modi’s consent.

Bihar, where the party stunned many by bagging 22 out of the total 40 seats, polled 1.05 crore votes for the BJP.

But the support for the BJP was not limited to bigger states. Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Delhi, Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh added over 1.90 crore votes in the BJP’s kitty. The party bagged 37 of 40 seats on offer in these five states.

Another success story for the BJP was Haryana, where the party resisted the temptation to ally with scam-tainted O P Chautala’s party INLD and entered an alliance with Kuldeep Bishnoi-led HJC. Despite serious attempts by Arvind Kejriwal-led AAP to make a foray into the state, the BJP turned the tables against the incumbent Congress and INLD and won seven out of 10 seats.

The party also managed to win three seats from J&K, where the incumbent Congress-NC alliance failed to win even a single seat. It also surprised the Congress by improving its tally in Assam, winning six out of 14 seats.

The BJP was thinly represented from eastern and southern coastal states. But a significant facet to the BJP’s performance is the number of votes it got even from states where it did not get many seats. In Orissa, for instance, the party managed to win just one of 21 seats, but still managed to garner 21.5 per cent vote-share by polling over 46 lakh votes. Similarly, in West Bengal, BJP won just two of the total 42 seats but still got 86.91 lakh votes, over 16 per cent of the total votes polled in the state.

In Kerala, where the party did not open its account, the BJP managed to secure a 10.3 per cent vote-share by bagging 18.56 lakh votes. In Andhra Pradesh, it won just three of the total 42 seats but had an 8.5 per cent vote-share. Same for Tamil Nadu, where despite winning just one seat of the total 39, the party managed to secure 22.22 lakh votes.

Simply put, of the total 164 seats on offer in Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Orissa and West Bengal, the BJP won just seven, but still managed to secure 2.14 crore votes from these states.