13 Apr 2019

Post Phase 1, An MGB Wave in UP?

There is a significant shift in the conversations online between the 10th of April and the 12th of April. The authoritative tone of BJP supporters has changed to speculation now. There is an air of uncertainty post Phase 1 turnout that is making the core BJP voters nervous.

Zoya Wahi

On 11th evening, we looked at the voter turnout numbers and assessed the impact this would have on the result of the first phase of elections in Uttar Pradesh. Since then we’ve tracked millions of social data points to understand voter conversations and sentiments across the polled constituencies and this is what we found :

Ghaziabad

An air of nervousness prevails as BJP supporters are worried about the turnout. BJP will likely retain this seat, but the margin will be significantly lower. The local BJP workers’ motivation is low on account of the low voter turn-out. Complaints that the RSS didn’t help mobilise voters dot the social landscape.

Muzaffarnagar

This is a tough fight between the MGB candidate Chaudhary Ajit Singh and the BJP’s Sanjeev Balyan. Per-poll there seemed to be a clear split between the older and younger voters with the former suggesting they will honour tradition and vote for RLD and the latter leaning more towards Modi.  Sanjiv Balayan’s comment, the morning of polls about fake voting by hiding being the burqa indicated nervousness setting the context for an impending BJP loss. This played out through the polling day, deeply impacting the BJP narrative and karyakarta morale in Muzaffarnagar. The fallout seems to have led to a spike in Ajit Singh’s vote share.

Baghpat

This is a clean sweep for the RLD. Jayant Chaudhary is clearly a crowd favourite. Unlike Muzaffarnagar where there is a divide between the old and the new, Jayant has clearly managed to bridge this gap.

Gautam Buddha Nagar

The constituency is showing a fairly neutral sentiment. Most chatter is around how Dadri and Jewar are going to hit the BJP where it hurts. But will it be enough for them to lose, we can’t tell yet.

Saharanpur

The Muslim and Dalit vote is being split by Congress & may help BJP here even as the huge Muslim turnout could likely swing this constituency in the favour of the gathbandhan.

Kairana

The gathbandhan clearly still remains a crowd favourite. Mriganka Singh being denied a ticket and her ‘Beti hatao, astitva mitao’ campaigning against the BJP has also shaken the local party workers.

Overall, looking at all of the activity post poll, we can assume that BJP workers are worried and have acknowledged that they are facing a tough fight. We can expect them to double down for the coming phases. Known faces are calling out Amit Shah, Yogi Adityanath and Maneka Gandhi’s polarising comments. That most statements online have shifted from being said with an air of authority to being speculative, suggests that it could be anyone's win. Congress is not a clear crowd favourite anywhere, however Priyanka Gandhi is. Within the Congress universe, she is the only person holding attention, not the local candidates and not even Rahul Gandhi.

*Note to be updated when more data from Bijor and Meerut comes in.

These notes are an experiment in data-driven points of view. We are immersing ourselves in information screens and data patterns and allowing ourselves to connect dots. We emerge to write a note — like the one you’re reading — which is our best understanding at a given moment in time. We believe ourselves to be correct in the moment, but are happy to be proven wrong. In either case we learn and improve.

Ominous signs for the BJP in UP
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The Changing Arithmetic of Candidacy in Uttar Pradesh