MATHS TELLS A POLITICAL STORY
Number-Crunching Gujarat: How people get a government they do not vote for
- Sanehead
Number-Crunching Gujarat: How people get a government they do not vote for



AFTER THE POLITICAL analysis, the moral high ground claims of Rahul Gandhi and the we-are-still-the-victor claims of Amit Shah and PM Narendra Modi, here is an analysis based on  a science most pure - Mathematics. You can quibble about politics, and rhetoric, but it is difficult to fight against prime numbers and integers.

Unless you are determined not to learn from numbers. And the lesson that Gujarat election results teaches us that we should vote. Or we get a government that we did not vote for. Here’s why we come to suffer the regimes we get:

So, the BJP won 99, the Congress 80, and Independents walked away with the remaining three seats of the 182 up for grabs in the Gujarat Assembly elections.

BJP claimed 49% of the vote share while Congress secured 41%, with NOTA accounting for almost two per cent and Independents and others, including AAP, NCP, BSP, etc., cornering eight per cent.

This means:

BJP with 99/183 = 54.39% of the seat share with only 49% of the vote share.
Congress 80/182 = 43.95% of the seat share with just 41% of the vote share.
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More people get a government they never voted for. Those who did not vote could actually have made all the difference to those who voted for the party that stood second, or third or fourth. That is so unfair on those who take the trouble to vote.
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What may have riled the two big parties here was that they are used to getting far more numbers/far greater seat share with much less vote share — often because of lower voter turnouts (not in Gujarat in recent times, by the way, but in many other states). So a lot of their votes were "wasted" as they used to get big margins in fewer seats in a first past the post system, with less of a more needed spread over a larger number of seats.

One way to understand this is by seeing the 2012 Gujarat Assembly Election results, when BJP got only 47.85% vote share (1.15% less than the 49% it got this time) but 115 seats out of 182 seats (16 more seats than this time's 99) and, thus, a far better and more disproportionate 63.18% of the seat share than this time's 54.39% seat share.

Another way to understand the importance of "spread" versus "concentration" of vote share percentages is to look at the recent UP Assembly Election, held in February-March 2017 where BJP (and its allies in the NDA) got only 41.35% of the total polled voted but won an overwhelming 325 out of the 403 seats (a 3/4th majority) in the UP Assembly, which amounts to a whopping 80.64% of the seat share. From the party's point of view, that is a much more "efficient" electoral success, than Gujarat where they have barely got a simple majority even with a much higher 49% vote share. Mind you, the total voter turnout in UP in February-March 2017 was only 61.04% as against over 68% in Gujarat in December 2017.
 

One of the insights for voters here is that a higher voter turnout with a good spread of voter turnout over all the streets will yield a result more in keeping with the people's will than a low turnout, or a high turnout in only a few seats and not in others.

Since the rural urban divide in terms of party rivalry and results is very sharp in Gujarat, it would be interesting to know the percentages of rural voter turnout as compared to urban voter turnout, of which the figures are not yet readily available.
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In the 2012 Gujarat Assembly Election results, the BJP got only 47.85% vote share (1.15% less than the 49% it got this time) but 115 seats out of 182 seats (16 more seats than this time's 99).
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Some more number crunching gives us many more interesting insights
(Numbers are approximate, and subject to correction):

Total voters in Gujarat 4.3314 crores
2.9453 crores voted
1.3861 crores did not vote

Of those who voted, 29.37 lakhs (0.2937 crores) voted for NOTA or independents or other parties (besides the BJP or the Congress).
 
1.4431 crores voted for BJP
1.2085 crores voted for Congress
(Difference of about 24 lakh votes)

Of total voters, that is, 4.3314 crores,
32% did not vote

33% voted for BJP
28% voted for Cong
(Difference  5%)
7% went to NOTA, Independents and other parties

68% (voted) plus 32% (who did not vote) = 100%
What is interesting here is:

A :
Less people voted for the Congress (1.20 crores) than those who did not vote at all (1.38 crores) resulting in a difference of 18 lakh votes 

32% of the registered voters did not vote while only 28% voted for Congress, a difference of 4% 

B:
BJP (33%) beat the non-voting registered voters (32%) by only 1% of the total registered votes; a difference of around 5 lakh votes only

If we add just the NOTA (2%) to those who did not vote (32%) then total (32%+2%=34%) is more than those who voted for the BJP (33%)
(Difference of 1% is roughly 4.5 to 5 lakh votes)

C:
This is where Voter Mobilization at the ground level makes all the difference.

Since the difference between the two parties against total registered voters is only 5%, imagine what a decisive role the non-voting registered voters could make.

They could change the whole nature and result of the election.

However, even after going to the booth, many voted NOTA.

This is a clever way to avoid social embarrassment by refusing to go to vote and yet not vote; it could also help avoid social or political reprisals for not going to vote.

D:
The 6% that went to "other parties" like AAP, NCP, BSP, and so on (even if we leave aside the 2% to NOTA and 1% or so to the Independents - put together they make for 10%) could have changed the electoral maths completely, since the difference between the two major parties is only 5% of the total registered voters (1% less than Others, 2% less than Others plus Independents, and 5% less than NOTA, Ind and Others put together.
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Use UP to understand Gujarat. The BJP and its NDA allies got only 41.35% votes in last UP polls but won an overwhelming 325 out of the 403 seats, a 3/4th majority. In Gujarat, the party got a much higher 49% vote share but barely managed to secure a simple majority. This when the total voter turnout in UP was only 61.04% in February-March 2017 as against over 68% in Gujarat in December 2017.
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Conclusions :

1. We must all always vote. It can make all the difference

More people get a government they never voted for because so many of us do not vote.

Those who do not vote perhaps deserve to get the government they did not vote for, but they could actually have made all the difference to those who voted for the party that stood second, or third or fourth, etc.

That is so unfair on those who take the trouble to vote.

2. Even NOTA is better than not voting because it sends many more and clearer messages than not voting at all, and that way you can make absolutely sure that no one casts a proxy vote for you.

3. Smaller parties are just acting as spoilers in close contests. In such cases, votes given to them really are either wasted or merely act as spoilers. It's important for voters to understand which small party or independent is acting as a proxy or a spoiler for whom.
 

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