New Delhi: Dimple Yadav, former UP chief minister Akhilesh Yadav’s wife, has reason to frown at his ‘bua’ (aunt), Mayawati, for her defeat in these Lok Sabha elections, as have the Samajwadi Party president’s cousins Dharmendra and Akshay Yadav.
All of them would be sitting in the 17th Lok Sabha if the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) had transferred its votes to them.
Akhilesh had entered into a pre-poll alliance with Mayawati’s BSP in UP, much to the chagrin of his father Mulayam Singh Yadav. Mayawati’s loyal voters supported Akhilesh in Azamgarh but abandoned most of his family members, leading to their defeats, an analysis of the poll results by ThePrint suggests.
But it wouldn’t be fair to just blame Mayawati and her party, for the SP also failed to transfer its votes to BSP candidates — in a couple of more seats, actually.
Yadav family’s chagrin
The SP-BSP gathbandhan was supposed to significantly dent the BJP’s tally in UP by bringing together their loyal caste groups of Yadavs and Dalits, as well as Muslims. But “social chemistry”, as Prime Minister Narendra Modi put it, prevailed over arithmetic, and the BSP and the SP ended with 10 and five Lok Sabha seats respectively.
An analysis of the constituency-wise results shows that the SP and the BSP were able to transfer their votes to each other in over 45 constituencies. Yet, if they couldn’t convert it into many seats, it was because the BJP’s support base also expanded to defeat their combined vote-shares.
Dimple had touched the BSP supremo’s feet at a rally in Kannauj to seek her blessings, but the BSP couldn’t transfer all its votes to her, leading to her defeat by a margin of over 12,000 votes, or 1.08 per cent of the total votes polled.
In 2014, Dimple had secured 43.89 per cent votes in Kannauj as against the BSP’s 11.46 per cent. This time, she ended up with 48.29 per cent votes, indicating that she could not win over many BSP voters even with her feet-touching gesture. That is, however, based on the assumption that all SP voters who supported her last time voted for her in this election too.
Dimple’s ‘devars’ or brothers-in-law, Dharmendra and Akshay, have similar stories to tell, and the same reason for grumbling about the alliance.
Akhilesh’s father Mulayam won from Mainpuri, but Mayawati’s loyal followers appeared to have deserted him, as did some of his own.
“We will review whether BSP votes got transferred to us or not. Their (BSP’s) leaders had supported us,” Pandhari Yadav, the losing SP candidate from Phulpur, told ThePrint.
In the absence of any scientific methodology to determine the extent of vote transfer, ThePrint’s analysis is based on comparing a party’s (or the gathbandhan candidate’s) vote-share in a constituency in 2019 with the combined vote-shares of the two parties when they had contested separately in 2014. It is assumed that the party retained its 2014 vote-share in this election.
For instance, in the Kaushambi constituency, the SP got 31.72 per cent votes and the BSP got 22.11 per cent votes in 2014. In 2019, the SP candidate got 35.33 per cent votes, which is only 3.61 per cent more than what the party alone got in the last election. Therefore, it can be concluded that the BSP couldn’t transfer its votes to the SP in this constituency.
Assuming that a party can’t possibly transfer 100 per cent of its 2014 votes to its alliance partner in 2019, the criterion has been fixed at 75 per cent and above to treat it as a successful transfer of votes.
Using this yardstick, ThePrint’s analysis shows that the BSP couldn’t transfer its votes to SP candidates in 12 seats, while the SP couldn’t do so in 14 seats contested by the BSP. According to the seat-sharing arrangement, the SP had contested on 37 and the BSP on 38, leaving three seats for the Rashtriya Lok Dal and two for the Congress.
On the 38 seats it contested, the BSP got a total vote-share of 19.26 per cent. On the same seats in 2014, Mayawati’s party had secured 13.41 per cent votes in 2014, while the SP had secured 12.29 per cent.
The SP secured 17.96 per cent of the total vote on the 37 seats it fought as part of the alliance. On the same 37 seats, it had secured 14.61 per cent votes and the BSP 9.71 per cent.
In Dhaurahra, where Congress leader Jitin Prasada was contesting, the BSP fielded Muslim candidates in 2014 and 2019, securing 22.13 per cent votes and 33.12 per cent votes respectively. The BSP gained around 11 per cent more votes in 2019, whereas the SP had secured 22.07 per cent votes here in 2014.
Similarly, in Fatehpur Sikri, the gathbandhan’s BSP candidate got 16.2 per cent of the votes in 2019. In 2014 elections, the BSP had got around 26 per cent votes in this constituency, while the SP had got 22 per cent. It can, therefore, be concluded that there was no transfer of SP votes to the alliance candidate.
The seats in which the BSP couldn’t transfer its votes to the SP candidates included Hardoi, Firozabad, Mainpuri, Badaun, Unnao, Kannauj, Jhansi, Banda, Kaushambi, Alalhabad, Bahraich and Maharajganj.
The seats in which the SP couldn’t transfer its votes included Gautam Buddh Nagar, Aligarh, Fatehpur Sikri, Shahjahanpur, Dhaurahra, Sitapur, Misrikh, Mohanlalganj, Akbarpur, Fatehpur, Kaiserganj, Basti, Sant Kabir Nagar and Deoria.
Obviously, two plus two did not equal four for the gathbandhan.