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BJP "success": Upper castes 44% of UP assembly strength, but represent 19% of total voters, says political centre

% voters in UP
By Our Representative
A political data analysis centre has contested the claim that the BJP won the election in Uttar Pradesh (UP) on the platform of inclusive growth, pointing out that the BJP’s return to power “signifies a resurgence of representation of the upper castes, who make up 44% the new Assembly." Upper castes make up of 19% of voter share in UP.
Pointing out that “this is 12% more than 2012 and the highest share 1980”, a region-wise breakup by the Trivedi Centre for Political Data, Ashoka University, suggests that “more than 50% MLAs in Awadh, 43% in Doab, 36.6% in the Eastern Uttar Pradesh, 47% in Bundelkhand, 52.5% in Northeastern Uttar Pradesh and more than a third of the MLAs in Rohilkhand and Western Uttar Pradesh are from upper castes. ”
The centre's report (click HERE), says that, interestingly, “the BJP’s victory hasn’t led to an overall increase in representation of OBCs, even though many of them won on the saffron party’s tickets.”
“If we break down these large caste groups, we get a more clearer picture of the changes at work”, the report states, adding, ”As far as the upper castes are concerned, there is a significant rise in the representation of Thakurs and Banias. Brahmin representation remains stable.”
“While the overall OBC representation in the Assembly stays the same, there has been a historic churning within the category”, the report says, adding, “The representation of Yadavs has fallen – they now comprise 17% of the OBC MLAs.”
Pointing out that BJP strategy of keeping the dominant Yadav clan has succeeded, the report says, the representation of the Kurmis, on the other hand, “has increased from 11% to 28% of the OBC contingent. ” Similarly, it adds, “The representation of lower OBCs, a key target of the BJP, has also increased.”
Muslims, the report says, are the biggest losers, as the BJP, which won 312 seats in the 403 seat assembly, “The share of Muslim MLAs in the new Assembly is the lowest it has been since 1991. In 2012, for the first time, Muslims had near-proportionate representation in the Vidhan Sabha (with 17% MLAs from the community). This has fallen to 6.2%. ”
Explains the report, “The involvement of the prime minister and the focus on development and opportunity for all – while also sending signals to the party’s Hindu base through statements, symbols and acronyms in their speeches – add a layer to the fairly vintage BJP strategy of consolidation of upper castes and the lower OBCs.”
An analysis of the voter share suggests that the Samajwadi Party’s vote share (21.8%) is “misleading”, says the report, adding, “If only the seats it contested are taken into account, its vote share rises to 28.3%, just 1% less than in 2012. In contrast, the Congress’ vote share in seats where it contested is only 22%, which indicate that the alliance did not work well.”
The report further says, “Comparing the strike rates of parties – percentage of seats won to seats contested – exemplifies the failure of the Samajwadi Party-Congress alliance. The Samajwadi Party’s strike rate is a low 15.1%, while the Congress’ share is 6.14%, at par with its previous performances in Vidhan Sabha elections.”
“In other words”, the report underlines, “Wherever a Congress candidate contested, the alliance under-performed. The large number of tickets given to Congress candidates cost the Samajwadi Party a substantial part of the vote share which, in closely fought races, might have helped reduce the gap with the BJP in terms of seats.”

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