#Elections2019: Opposition benefitted more than BJP from Split of Votes in 2014

The Election Commission has announced the dates for 2019 Lok Sabha Elections. The seven-phase poll will begin on 11th April and culminate on 19th May. Results will be announced on 23rd May. The next 2.5 months is likely to witness immense frenzy about elections which will be fought on all fronts, print, electronic, social media and on the ground. Who will win these elections is on everybody’s mind? Before we try to find out who will win 2019, let’s bust some myths about 2014 elections. History doesn’t repeat itself but it does rhyme.

Busting myths about 2014

1. BJP doesn’t enjoy a truly national mandate

For the last five years, many commentators often put out the fact that BJP received only 31% vote share in 2014, while others contesting separately 69%. So, BJP doesn’t enjoy a national mandate. Going by this theory no party ever in India’s general elections history has won a national mandate, as no party has ever won more than 50% vote share. Congress party’s best performance has been 47.8% in 1957.

2. BJP benefitted from split of votes in 2014 as opposition was not united

When the 3rd candidate (second runner up) gets more votes than margin of victory, it can be argued that the winner benefitted from split of votes between runner up and second runner up. Let’s say 1st candidate gets 1 lakh votes, 2nd candidate 80,000 and 3rd 45,000 votes in an election. Here the votes secured by 3rd candidate is more than the margin of victory. An analysis of 543 seats in 2014 shows that the vote share recorded by 3rd position candidate was more than the margin of victory in 223 seats.

Split of Votes.png.jpg

Source: www.politicalbaba.com

So, split of votes helped the victorious candidate in 41% of Lok Sabha seats. Further grilling of data shows that BJP won 80, Congress 26, TMC 25, AIADMK 19, BJD 12, TRS 8 and CPM 7 out of these 223 seats. The split of votes helped Congress and opposition parties more than BJP. While BJP won 80 out of 282 (28%), Congress 26 out of 44 (59%), TMC 25 out of 34 (73%), AIADMK 19 out of 37 (50%), BJD 12 out of 20 (60%), TRS 8 out of 11 (73%) and CPM 7 out of 9 (73%) of its seats due to split of votes.


Seats won due to split of votes

Total Seats Won Proportion


282 28%

























46 106


Total 223 543


Source: www.politicalbaba.com

So, BJP benefitted only in 28% of the seats it won versus national average for all parties at 41%. Opposition parties benefited more than BJP sue to split of votes.

Will Split of Votes Play Similar Role in 2019

a) Impact of split of votes in 2019 on BJP

Out of 80 seats where BJP benefitted from split of votes 38 were in UP, 10 in Bihar, 4 in Delhi, 6 in Jharkhand and 3 each in Haryana, Rajasthan and Punjab. BSP and SP each were runner up in 19 of these seats, INC in 16 and Others in 26 such seats. This time the SP and BSP have formed an alliance, the split of votes may not favour BJP in 38 of these seats, unless Congress puts a spirited fight. In Delhi, BJP would again benefit from split of votes as there has been no alliance between AAP and Congress. In Bihar, JDU which contested separately in 2014 and finished 3rd on most seats, is now back in NDA, which will help. In Jharkhand a Mahagathbandhan has shaped up and is likely to impact 6 seats. All in all, 44 seats which BJP won due to split of votes in 2014, are in danger in 2019.

b) Impact of split of votes in 2019 on INC

Out of 26 seats where Congress benefitted from split of votes in 2014, 7 were in Kerala, 5 in Karnataka, 3 each in Bengal and Assam, 2 each in Punjab and Telangana. In 2019 as well, all these states are likely to face triangular or multi cornered contest which will help Congress due to split of votes. So, there is no danger to these 26 seats, unless Congress loses due to other issues like non-performance of MP, caste / class considerations etc.

c) Impact of split of votes in 2019 on Regional Parties

TMC is not likely to be impacted much as Bengal is likely to witness a quadrangular contest again. Similar situation prevails for TRS, CPM and BJD, triangular contests in Telangana, Kerala and Odisha could benefit these players again. Tamil Nadu is difficult to predict. In 2014 it was AIADMK vs DMK vs NDA vs Congress. AIADMK benefitted in 19 seats due to split of votes. This time a lot of regroupings have happened, AIADMK is in NDA fold, DMK-INC have patched up. Rajnikanth has said his party won’t contest.

d) Triangular contests likely to decline in 2019

The impact of split of votes on elections 2019 is likely to decline vis-à-vis 2014. This is because in many states we may not witness truly triangular contests, like UP, Bihar and Tamil Nadu. These states account for 159 seats, 29% of Lok Sabha strength. 86 of these seats helped winning party through split of votes.



2019 E


BJP vs SP vs BSP





Tamil Nadu AIADMK vs DMK vs NDA



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