INDIA VOTES 2024 - PUNJAB: Consolidation of non-Jat votes may benefit BJP : The Tribune India

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INDIA VOTES 2024 - PUNJAB: Consolidation of non-Jat votes may benefit BJP

Exit poll predicts 25% BJP vote share in Punjab, up from 9.63% in 2019

INDIA VOTES 2024 - PUNJAB: Consolidation of non-Jat votes  may benefit BJP

Photo for representational purpose only. File photo



Tribune News Service

Ruchika M Khanna

Chandigarh, June 2

A day after the polling for the 13 Lok Sabha seats in Punjab, political parties and their candidates are pondering over the apparent consolidation of non-Jat votes (Hindus and Dalits) in the state, as indicated by various exit polls.

The political pundits in various parties say any such consolidation can benefit the BJP in some pockets.

The exit polls have given two to four seats to the BJP. One of the exit polls predicted that the BJP vote share has increased to 25 per cent this election, from 9.63 per cent in the 2019 General Election. The Congress vote share is predicted at 31 per cent this time, down from 40.12 per cent in the 2019 poll. The party had won eight seats in 2019.

Political strategists in the Congress and AAP believe that the consolidation of non-Jat votes has actually taken place and that it may give advantage to the BJP, upsetting the Congress’ applecart in some constituencies. The exit polls have given the Congress seats in the range of three to nine. Traditionally, the party wins Punjab elections riding on good support from Hindu voters, comprising around 38 per cent of the total electorate in the state. Any shift in this support base may affect the party’s electoral prospects.

Though things will become clear only after the results are declared on June 4, a higher voter turnout in areas dominated by Hindus and Dalits is being taken as an indication of the voters’ mood in favour of the saffron party in some pockets.

The voter turnout in several Hindu-dominated areas in Patiala, Ludhiana, Gurdaspur and Jalandhar constituencies has been higher than the state’s average turnout of 62.8 per cent.

The Aam Aadmi Party also doesn’t seem insulated from this vote consolidation, although various sops, including 300 units of free power to domestic consumers, have added to its popularity.

Exit polls predict that the AAP vote share could be around 18 per cent, down from 42 per cent in the 2022 Assembly poll. However, the latest predicted vote share is up from 7.38 per cent vote share in the 2019 Lok Sabha poll. Exit polls are giving two to six seats to the ruling party in the state, up from one seat it won in the 2019 poll.

Though there have been sparks of radical politics, this has not led to consolidation of Sikh votes as much as the BJP has been able to consolidate non-Jat votes. The farmer unions, mostly dominated by Jats, led a tirade against the BJP, but it resulted in reverse polarisation of votes for the BJP.

The Shiromani Akali Dal, which had been pushed to the brink due to repeated political debacles, seems to have yielded space to the Sikh hardliners. Since Hindus rarely voted for them, even when they were in alliance with the BJP, the SAD seems to have survived (in pockets where they still wield political influence) the Hindu-Dalit vote consolidation onslaught. The exit polls have predicted one to four seats for the SAD.

May upset Cong applecart

  • The Congress vote share is predicted at 31% this time, down from 40.12% in the 2019 General Election
  • Shifting of party’s electoral base among the Hindus, comprising around 38% of the total electorate, may affect its prospects this time

About The Author

The Tribune News Service brings you the latest news, analysis and insights from the region, India and around the world. Follow the Tribune News Service for a wide-ranging coverage of events as they unfold, with perspective and clarity.

#BJP #Dalits #Lok Sabha


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