ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Getting It Wrong

Ratnakar Tripathy’s “How Modi-Speak Boomeranged in Bihar” (EPW, 21 November 2015) misinterprets data on the elections in Bihar and fails to compare the outcome of previous elections with the most recent assembly elections.

The data extracted from the website of the Election Commission of India clearly shows that the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) statewide vote share increased from 16.49% in 2010 to 29.86% in 2014 (Lok Sabha) and then declined to 24.40% in 2015. While the BJP’s vote share between 2014 and 2015 witnessed a decline by about 5 percentage points, it is to be noted that in the 2015 elections, BJP emerged as the single largest party in terms of vote share, which is also by far the largest share obtained by any party. This clearly is an indication of the fact that over the years, the BJP’s electoral support has not waned but increased from 16.49% in 2010 to 24.40% in 2015. Ignoring this crucial aspect, the article has attempted to portray the 2015 electoral outcome in Bihar as a massive shift in vote preference away from the BJP. It is probably the coalition strategy that seems to have catapulted the Rashtriya Janata Dal–Janata Dal (United) alliance to victory.

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