Samajwadi Party known for ‘yadavs’, Bahujan Samaj Party known for ‘jatavs’ and ‘Muslims’ and Rashtriya Lok Dal known for ‘jats’ of Uttar Pradesh. Almost every political party in India has a class-based identity, mostly classified by their vote bank and Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) was no exception.
However, the BJP, alluded to as the citadel of upper caste Hindus, has pulled off quite a makeover. The Modi-Shah-led party has discarded its caste based identity for a wider vote bank beyond the Brahmin-Bania-Rajput sect.
With a massive mandate in the Lok Sabha elections 2019, the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) won 353 of 543 seats in the lower house of parliament with a 45 percent vote share.
The BJP alone walked away with 303 seats, improving its tally of 282 (previous Lok Sabha Elections). The victory of the saffron party is historic in many aspects. The BJP alone garnered 37 percent of the national votes, the highest vote share for any single party in the past two and a half decades.
Moreover, no political party has achieved a tally of 300 Lok Sabha seats on its own since 1984.
The data from the poll threw up interesting insights-in particular the massive transformation of the BJP’s caste support base. Traditionally considered a party of the upper caste vote bank has made collosal and deep inroads into other castes as well.
Even though, in the 2014 Lok Sabha Elections, the BJP had broadened its base from its traditional Brahmin-Bania-Rajput voteban, by gaining support from other backward class (OBC) voters as well, it was during this elections, that in a massive leap, it expanded its reach among the scheduled caste (SC) and scheduled tribe (ST) community, across India. The survey results indicate that more than 40 percent of SC voters and nearly half of the ST voters polled in favour of BJP.
It The survey also shows a significant increase in OBC voters, as almost 60 percent of OBC voters cast their vote to BJP. Additionally, the BJP-led NDA also managed 10 percent of Muslim votes over and above their traditional vote bank.
A phenomenal feat, indeed, as the SC constitute around 16 percent of India’s total population, and despite various media reports suggesting that Dalits (SC) were annoyed with Modi government’s move to amend the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes Act, last year. However, all such claims proved to be false as was reflected in the election results.
According to the data of top five states with higher SC population (except Punjab and Uttar Pradesh) the BJP and its allies got highest SC vote share as compared to their counterparts.
The Lok Sabha elections in UP witnessed a triangular fight between NDA, UPA and the MGB.In UP, the SP-BSP’s combined vote share fell to 37 percent this election, while the BJPled NDA managed a vote share of around 50 percent, in the state. In Punjab, BJP and its allies won 30 percent Hindu and Sikh community SC votes in the state. While 44 percent of Sikh SC votes and 49 percent of Hindu SC votes went to the Congress, according to the poll results.