History shows vote transfer will be a tall order for alliance in Karnataka
If the “unprecedented” alliance between the Congress and the Janata Dal (Secular) is to succeed in the Lok Sabha elections, voters need to buck the trend of voting differently in State and national elections.
On paper, the combined vote share of the alliance in the recent Assembly polls threatens the dominant Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in most parliamentary seats. However, Assembly constituency-wise polling numbers from recent elections point to a significant chunk of voters shifting their allegiance in the year’s gap between State and parliamentary polls. These “lost votes” seem to be heading to the BJP, rather than the coalition partners.
This changing voter behaviour is clear in the tabulation of areas where parties lost votes (a loss of more than 2,000 votes is considered to be significant) between a parliamentary election (2009, 2014) and the preceding Assembly election (2008, 2013).
The saffron party has lost votes in just 60 Assembly constituencies — or 13% of the total segments — between national elections and State elections. Three-fourths of these constituencies were held by BJP MLAs. These “lost votes” were primarily in south Karnataka and the Hyderabad Karnataka region, where the Congress and JD(S) have the upper hand. In the other areas, the BJP managed to retain and build on its voter base even is if it lost the previous year’s Assembly election.