How Low Vote Margins And NOTA Denied BJP A Win In Madhya Pradesh

While the BJP settled at 109 seats, falling short of 7 seats of the mid-way mark, the party lost 7 seats to Congress for just less than 1000 votes.

Bhopal: Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia, party observer AK Antony with Kamal Nath and other leaders during a press conference announcing Kamal Nath as the next Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh in Bhopal on Dec. 13, 2018. (Photo: IANS)

After 3 terms of sitting in the opposition, the Congress may have emerged as the single largest party with 114 seats, but a closer look at the vote share and margins show that the BJP was extremely close to winning the state yet again. While the BJP eventually settled at 109 seats, falling short of 7 seats of the mid-way mark, the party lost 7 seats to Congress for just less than 1000 votes. Also, in all these constituencies, NOTA bagged more votes than the winning margin.

BJP had a higher vote share than the Congress

While the Congress bagged the most number of seats, BJP got 15,642,980 votes - the highest vote share (41%) of the total votes polled. This means that 41% of the people who voted in Madhya Pradesh had given their votes to the BJP.

The Congress's vote share was 40.9% (15,595,153 votes) lagging behind the BJP by 47,827 votes. Independent candidates bagged 5.8% of the votes, followed by Bahujan Samaj Party (5%), Gondwana Ganatantra Party (1.8%), NOTA (1.4%) and others (4.1%). The state had recorded a voter turnout of 75.05%.

In 2013, with a polling percentage of 72%, the BJP - the single largest party - had gained the highest vote share of 44.88%, followed by Congress (36.38%) and BSP (6.29%).

Thus, in 2018 the BJP saw its vote share dipping by 3.88 percentage points while the Congress' vote share rose by 4.52 percentage points.

7/10 seats with a margin less than 1000 went to Congress

The BJP required 7 more seats to hit the half way mark of 116 to form the government on its own.

Data reveal that in 7 constituencies, the BJP lost to Congress for margins less than 1000. In the constituencies of Suwasra and Gwalior South, the BJP lost to Congress by just 350 and 121 votes, respectively. Interestingly, the votes that went to NOTA in all these constituencies were more than the winning margin.

The fate of 88 constituencies was decided by margins less than 10,000. Out of 88 seats, 40 seats were won by the Congress, 3 by independent candidates, 1 by BSP and the rest of the 44 went to BJP.

NOTA higher than winning margin in 22 constituencies

If taken into consideration, NOTA - None Of The Above - would have been the 5th largest party in Madhya Pradesh with a vote share of 1.4% and 5,42,295 votes. These were the votes that none of the parties could tap into and through which people declared their dissatisfaction with the political parties in the state.

In 22 constituencies, NOTA votes were higher than the winning margin. And, in all these constituencies the winning margins are below 10,000.

NOTA also played a major role in deciding the fate of Madhya Pradesh because 13 out 22 of these seats went to either Congress or the independent candidates. The break up is - Congress (12), Independents (1) and BJP (9).

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