Manipur Vote Can Be a Huge Embarrassment for Axis-IndiaToday & CVoter-HuffPo Pre-Polls

Monday, March 06, 2017

Manipur’s is a Congress bastion and the above graph tells you why exactly. Last Saturday, 1st phase of polling encompassing 38 out of the state’s 60 constituencies witnessed a whopping 84% voter turnout. This is a 5% rise from 2012, an all time record. The question is whether this could well symbolise a vote for change, and if so who does it benefit? If no, what alternate is there as explanation to the surge in voter turnout.

Let’s begin how the results of the 2012 Assembly and 2014 Lok Sabha polls panned out to understand the politics of Manipur.

So we see the Congress vote is steady around 42%, unaffected by the Modi Wave in 2014. The BJP in 2014 tripled their vote base to almost 12%, However the CPI also almost tripled their vote share to be almost 15% and the National People’s Party (NPP) tripled their vote share to be around 21%. The vote share losers were TMC and NCP. 

So what does Pre-Polls predict? There were only 2 carried out by national polling agencies as below.

The CVoter-HuffPo pre-poll is suspiciously fuzzy – a whopping 37% clubbed simply under others, without any desegregation of parties. But to note is they project BJP at 36% and the Congress at 31%.  

The Axis-IndiaToday pre-poll even makes more interesting reading. They pegged Congress at 37% - a projected loss of 5% - which is huge! But look at BJP’s vote projection which is most interesting – 40%!!! That’s a whopping 28% increase from 2014! It signals a massive Tsunami Wave for the BJP. Unfortunately, there is hardly an evidence of it from ground reports. So how do we explain this 40%? Most likely Axis-IndiaToday chose to misinform readers. Rather than BJP, it should read NDA. So who are the constituents of NDA? NPP, NPF & LJP? ? If we look at NDA vote shares of both 2012 & 2014 they roughly add up to 37-40% as projected by CVoter-HuffPo and Axis-IndiaToday respectively.

So does it mean that NDA will form the government?  Far from it for the following reasons:

a. NPP & NPF are NDA allies in Nagaland but are fighting separately in Manipur – no formal alliance. This means though cumulatively they would chalk up impressive vote shares, NDA vote:seat conversion will be poor as they cut into each other’s votes. 

b. NPP is founded by the late PA Sangma, after splitting from the NCP. They do not have the towering figure of Sangma and besides left weak organizationally after the split from NCP.

c. The blockade will help NPF to retain or slightly improve their vote share in the hills. This is because the Naga dominated Hills perceives the Ibobi government increasingly being seen as a “Meitei government”. The Congress suspects that though the NDA has no formal alliance in the hills there is a tacit one, as each constituent is contesting separately. The hills account for 20 seats. Despite this, the Congress is hoping to win 12 of these 20 seats on the basis of Naga vs Non-Naga consolidation. This confidence is based on creation of seven new districts in Manipur, which witnessed BJP and NSCN (IM)’s opposition to it. 

d. For the same reasons as (c), the BJP and its constituents like NPP is suspect in the valley that account for 40 seats for being pro-Naga. In the valley, Meiteis are 58% of the population. If you add other non-Nagas, this figure shoots up to over 85%, leaving BJP and NDA allies at a severe disadvantage to win. The Congress dismisses BJP by saying they won’t even reach double digits as opposed to those projected by CVoter-HuffPo & Axis-IndiaToday. The above poster will give a good insight on what degree the BJP is defensive about its pro-Naga tag.

The 38 seats that went to polls during Phase 1 are those in the valley. So it is possible that rather than a vote for change, Meiteis and other non-Nagas may have been emotionally charged to come out to repose faith in the incumbent Congress government. The Congress claimed that they would win 28 out of the 38 seats that already went to polls while the BJP had not given a statement on what they see are their own chances. The Congress hopes to win 12 seats that goes to polls during the 2nd Phase and roughly equal to those seats they hold in the outgoing assembly.The BJP in contrast had not articulated any feedback of their prospects after Phase 1 voting.

Read our archives on Manipur: Click HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE

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