Sunday, May 26, 2024

Hindus in Bengal voted overwhelmingly for BJP: So what went wrong?

In first 70 years since indepedence, Hindu Bengalis of West Bengal were marked, by and large, as “communists” and “seculars”—in other words, anti-Hindu by nature. 

But consolidation did happen in 2021—to the extent that “Jai Shree Ram” became a commoners’ slogan in the land of communism. So much so that anti-BJP lobby had to field Amartya Sen to orchestrate against the outcry of “Jai Shree Ram.”

In subsequent assembly polls, Trinamool Congress managed 58.84 lakhs more votes than BJP and garnered 213 seats. BJP eked out 77 seats and bagged 2.28 crore votes. 

The polls were marked by 100% consolidation of Muslim votes behind Trinamool which, in any democracy, is undesirable and creates a war-like situation which West Bengal is facing presently. 

However, before we infer anything meaningful on ongoing violence in West Bengal, it would come handy if we analyse the assembly polls through two prisms:

  1. Booth-wise election results (as per Election Commission)
  2. Voters’ list of corresponding booths

As ECI does not publish or have no such mechanism to determine community wise distribution of votes cast, the analysis has been done by thorough manual scrutiny of individual electoral rolls to derive community wise distribution of voters in our sampled booths. Community wise distribution thus obtained were then mapped over booth wise results published by ECI correspondingly for those sampled booths. 

Overall average voter turnout in West Bengal Poll 2021 has been assumed to be 75% as ECI didn’t publish the overall average voter turnout and WB’s religious demography of 2021 has been extrapolated from Census Data, 2011. 

Accordingly, total number of Hindu electorates of West Bengal has been extrapolated to be 67%, Muslims 31% & Other Communities 2%.

FINDING 1: Considering overall average voter turnout to be 75%, it becomes apparent that 45% of casted votes came from Hindus, 29% from Muslims & 1% from other communities.

FINDING 2: Only 41.6 per cent out of all 100% Hindu votes went to BJP; 10.9% to TMC  and 14.6% to Left, Congress, ISF, NOTA and independent candidates. As many as 32.8% of Hindu electorates abstained from voting. This decidedly had a major impact on the outcome of the Bengal polls results. 

(However, this exhibits that almost 42% of West Bengal’s Hindus indeed consolidated behind BJP. Only 10.9% chose Trinamool Congress. This explains that post-poll violence upon Hindus most likely is vengeance against the Hindus. Once booth-wise mayhem is corresponded with electoral outcomes, it does point that violence is anathema to Hindus. But it also underlines that Hindus predominantly refused Trinamool Congress this year. So that “communists” and “pseudo-seculars” type pigeon-holing doesn’t fit as only 14.6% of all existing Hindus voted for the 3rd Front this year of which Communists were a mere fraction. 

FINDING 3: Out of 100% cast Hindu votes, that is considered all caste Hindu votes, 62% went to BJP, 16.2% to Trinamool Congress and 21.8% to Left, Congress, ISF, NOTA and Independents combined. This implies that BJP got approximately 400% Hindu votes to what Trinamool Congress managed. It’s also fair to say that those facing wrath in the State today are also Hindus. 

FINDING 4: So if 83.8% (62%+ 21.8%) of Hindus voted against Trinamool Congress, it indicates a huge anti-incumbency against the ruling party. Why Trinamool Congress still retained power is a subject which would be dealt with separately. 

FINDING 5: In all, 73.99% of all those Hindus who voted against the Trinamool Congress, voted for BJP. And 26.01% of anti-Trinamool Hindu votes went to Left, Congress, ISF, NOTA and Independents combined. 

FINDING 6: As per Election Commission, BJP accumulated 38.1% of total votes cast in West Bengal assembly polls, 2021. Out of this, 37.2% were from Hindus, 0.4% from Muslims and 0.5% from other community voters. 

(This reflect that out of 67.2% of total Hindu electorates, as many as 62% voted in favour of BJP, if the average voter turnout is assumed to be 75%.)

FINDING 7: So considering 22,850,710 votes were cast in favour of BJP, 97.6% of them were from Hindus, 1% from Muslims and 1.3% from other community voters. 

So ethically, and morally, BJP leadership cannot leave Hindus of Bengal to face persecution on their own. It’s the responsibility of the BJP to do justice to those 38.1% of the total electorates in Bengal who voted for them. 

(To Be Continued)

Debjani Bhattacharyya is a columnist who’s a keen observer of politics and social changes.. A communication-strategist by profession having special aptitude for analytical jackknifing of information, Debjani is a Pharmaceutical Engineer & a Management Professional by her credentials.

Analysis of data & information for generating insights for policy planning is a passion while her other significant area of interest is the Constitution of India and its interpretations thereof. She’s a voracious reader with enormous affinity towards Classics of Bengali Literature. She is an opinion-maker on social media through her  blog, twitter and facebook. 



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