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Election Adda at CPR: Analysing the 2019 Haryana and Maharashtra Assembly Election Results


Watch the full video (above) of the CPR Election Adda discussion on ‘Analysing the 2019 Haryana and Maharashtra Assembly Election Results’ featuring Rahul Verma (Fellow, CPR); Supriya Sharma (Executive Editor, Scroll.in); Neelanjan Sircar (Senior Visiting Fellow, CPR and Assistant Professor, Ashoka University); Gilles Verniers (Co-Director of Trivedi Centre for Political Data, Ashoka University); Sheela Bhatt (Senior Editor).

Haryana and Maharashtra went to the polls within six months of a resounding victory for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. While India is amidst economic slowdown, the popularity of Prime Minister Narendra Modi remains high and has contributed to the BJP’s strong showing in both these states. To understand this phenomenon, the CPR team presented a detailed analysis of the result, which was followed by a wider panel discussion. This panel discussion was supported by Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung – South Asia.

The question and answer session that followed can be accessed here.

Scholars at CPR have closely followed the electoral developments of the Assembly Elections. Read their curated analysis below:

Analysis of the Result:

There is no doubt that the vote was against the ruling establishment by Rahul Verma
Rahul Verma writes in Hindustan Times about factors that have changed the electoral fortunes of the BJP just months after its resounding win in the national elections. He explains that the BJP has a reason to worry, given it lost more in rural areas, failed to sustain a coalition of extremes, and saw a dip in reserved seats. Verma highlights that these election results have given another lease of life to the Opposition parties and the next round of elections in Delhi and Jharkhand will provide an answer to whether these parties are going to build on this opportunity.

Haryana verdict likely to boost regional satraps by Neelanjan Sircar
Neelanjan Sircar writes in Hindustan Times about how the results of the Haryana Assembly elections will embolden regional actors. He points that the BJP has increased its state-wise vote share compared to the last state election, but it has underperformed goals that it set for itself after its triumphant national election performance. More importantly, Sircar highlights that the Jannayak Janta Party seems to be on an ascendant in Haryana politics and its geographic configuration of support, which complements the Congress, and means the BJP requires higher vote shares to win seats in Haryana.

Haryana shows BJP isn’t invincible in assembly polls. But here’s what saves it in the end by Rahul Verma and Pranav Gupta
Rahul Verma and Pranav Gupta write in ThePrint about how the Haryana verdict serves a good reminder that under a slowing economy, parties with formidable state leaders can challenge Modi-Amit Shah’s ambition. They analyse that the results show that while the BJP succeeded in building a meta-narrative around national issues, it remains on the back foot on local issues. Further, caste is no longer an evergreen in Indian election, but springs up more prominently in some elections, depending on many other factors. Lastly, they point that concerns of economic well-being cannot always be trumped by emotive issues of religious nationalism.

Pre-Election Analysis:

BJP frontrunner in Haryana, Maharashtra. But real benefit is in states with strong opposition by Rahul Verma
Rahul Verma and Pranav Gupta write in ThePrint about how the BJP became a dominant party from a marginal player in Haryana and Maharashtra. They point to the role of pre-election coalitions and how the party has successfully mobilised a coalition of non-dominant castes in the states, thus making it a force to be reckoned with. Verma and Gupta also highlight that a weak and divided opposition has played a crucial role in improving the BJP’s fortunes. In conclusion, they write that a victory in Haryana and Maharashtra will not only put the party firmly into the politics of these states, but will also create favourable conditions for it in the upcoming Jharkhand and Delhi elections.

BJP has risen in Maharashtra by dismantling Sharad Pawar’s old empire piece by piece by Rahul Verma
Rahul Verma writes in ThePrint about BJP’s two-pronged strategy to dismantle Sharad Pawar’s empire in order to rise in Maharashtra. He explains that the amendment of the Maharashtra Cooperative Societies Act enabled the BJP to gain control of sugar and milk cooperatives, local bodies, and cooperative banks in rural Maharashtra. Further, the investigation into the financial mismanagement in Maharashtra State Cooperative (MSC) Bank during the previous regime and cases against members of Pawar family and 71 bank directors, created unease among many Congress-NCP politicians who feared a similar hunt-down. The declining value of contesting on the Congress-NCP ticket further added to the anxieties among these politicians and brought many of these local satraps in the BJP-Shiv Sena fold.

Has lack of strong opposition in Maharashtra and Haryana made the elections a no-contest?
Rahul Verma writes in TalkPoint by ThePrint about the reasons for the weakening of the opposition. He highlights that the opposition has not done enough to raise issues, mobilise voters, and enthuse workers on the ground. Further, the projection of the BJP’s national dominance is making the opposition look further disarrayed. Voters also do not perceive the opposition as credible enough. The fragmentation of the opposition has brought down the value of the tickets of these parties. Finally, Verma also points that the BJP has an added advantage of its national leadership.

Neelanjan Sircar writes in TalkPoint by ThePrint highlighting that even though the Haryana and Maharashtra assembly elections might be a no-contest battle for the BJP, we should not extrapolate this electoral environment to future state elections. He points to the results of the 2018 assembly elections in Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, and Rajasthan that show that Congress’ state units can win elections independently of the party’s fortunes at the national level.

[WATCH]: What do the Maharashtra and Haryana elections have in store?
Rahul Verma appeared on an episode of The Big Picture by Hindustan Times to discuss significance of these assembly elections. He also explained how the BJP has maintained its dominance and what the crisis in the Congress is.