Pankaj Sharma / Zee Research Group
Is Bharatiya Janata Party’s poll performance linked to turnout of women voters? The saffron party’s faith in women voters to catapult them to power in Delhi assembly elections later this year isn’t misplaced. Data seems to suggest that whenever women voters turn out in large numbers in any election, the party has performed handsomely.
A Zee Research Group (ZRG) study of elections of 15 states where BJP has presence indicates that major jump in women voting percentage favours the saffron party and its electoral fortunes. Interestingly, the rise in women vote also increases BJP’s overall voting share.
A study of past three elections in Uttar Pradesh (UP) shows that when women voters’ percentage increased, votes polled in favour of BJP also stepped up. In contrast, when less women turned out in polls, the party’s vote percentage went down remarkably. Between 2002 and 2007, while UP elections saw a fall in women vote percent age from 50.25 per cent to 41.92 per cent, it also witnessed a fall in total votes polled in favour of BJP by 17.9 per cent.
A similar trend persists in other states. Bihar, where women voting dropped from 53.28 per cent in 2000 to 44 per cent in 2005, recorded a decline of 32 per cent in net votes polled for BJP during the period. But, when female vote share increased in the state from 44 per cent to 54.49 per cent in 2010, votes secured by BJP also jumped by 29.94 per cent.
In Uttarakhand, between 2002 and 2007 state elections while women vote per cent increased from 52.64 per cent to 59.45 per cent, the votes polled in favour of BJP also increased by 65.32 per cent. In 2012 assembly elections, the female vote share reached 68.12 per cent and votes polled for BJP also shot up by 17 per cent in the state.
In Delhi where Congress has won all past three elections comprehensively, BJP has decided to woo women voters by organising kitty parties and religious gatherings. Here also rise in women votes fuels rise in votes polled in favour of BJP.
During the last three assembly elections in Delhi (1998, 2003 and 2008) women vote share increased by about 5 per cent. Moreover, votes polled in favour of BJP also increased by 14.3 per cent in 2003 and 41.23 per cent in 2008 respectively.
The trend is similar for BJP in Maharashtra, Jammu and Kashmir, Gujarat and Assam. Interestingly, in states where women vote share increased by a meager per cent, votes cast for BJP decreased but marginally.
In 2007 Goa elections, while the women vote per cent increased by three per cent, the votes polled for BJP reduced by 4.7 per cent. Similarly, in Punjab assembly elections of 2012, the women vote per cent increased by three per cent and total votes polled for BJP reduced by 4.6 per cent respectively in comparison to last state elections.
Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, Rajasthan and Haryana have also seen similar instances during the last three assembly elections.
Chattisgarh and Jharkhand where BJP have strong base are not included for analysis as only two elections have taken place there. In Karnataka, the recent detailed result data of elections is not available in public domain as yet.