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Simultaneous Lok Sabha or Assembly polls, or back-to-back polls do not guarantee uniform electoral success in either

X: @prashanthamine

Mumbai: One Nation One Election (ONOE) may be a good idea to reduce costs, shorten duration of Model Code of Conduct (MCC) or negate the impact of anti-incumbency factor. But simultaneous Lok Sabha or Assembly elections, or back-to-back polls do not guarantee uniform electoral success in either of the two elections. Voters tend to vote differently in such circumstances indicating their electoral maturity, rejecting political opportunism and arrogance.

Electoral fortunes have swung to the extremes for political parties in state’s that go for simultaneous or back-to-back Lok Sabha or Assembly elections. The situation is nowhere better explained in a state like Maharashtra. A better electoral performance in one type of election is no guarantee for a repeat performance in another. Here we take a look at 10 states and union territories where electoral fortunes of political parties have fluctuated like the ebb and flow of the tides in the oceans.

If trends in results in states, that have witnessed simultaneous elections to Lok Sabha and Assembly elections, or back-to-back elections within months of each other, political parties that have done well in one election, have seldom done well in the other election. Cases in point have been Lok Sabha and Assembly elections in Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, New Delhi, Odisha, Rajasthan, Telangana and Uttar Pradesh.

The results reveal that people tend to vote differently each time wisely voting in Lok Sabha or Assembly elections are concerned. It is very rarely seen that a political party has consistently swept a state be it in the Lok Sabha or Assembly elections that have followed each other.

The situation is none better explained in the state of Maharashtra, where back-to-back Lok Sabha and Assembly elections have constantly thrown up mixed bag of results. In Maharashtra, Lok Sabha elections in April-June three month period have been followed by Assembly elections in September-October, barely a four-month gap between the two polls.

The political turbulence at the national level, has had its effect on Maharashtra between 1995 to 1999, with the state witnessing two Lok Sabha elections in 1996 and 1998. Not to mention the 1995 and 1999 Assembly elections.

In the 1995 Assembly elections the Shiv Sena-Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) alliance swept to power in Maharashtra ousting the Congress from power after a long stint in power. In the 1996 Lok Sabha elections that followed soon thereafter, the BJP won 18 seats, the Sena 15 and the Congress also 15 seats.

But in the 1998 Lok Sabha elections, the electoral fortunes of the then ruling Sena-BJP alliance took a hit as the Congress bagged 33 seats, with the Sena bagging 6 and the BJP bagging merely 4 seats.

If that was not enough, the 1999 Assembly elections that followed soon after, the ruling Sena-BJP alliance was swept out of power in Maharashtra. Thereafter, the Sena-BJP alliance was dispatched to the political wilderness for 15 years in respect of Assembly elections and for 10 years between 2004 and 2014 in terms of Lok Sabha elections.

After that in the 2014 and 2019 Lok Sabha and Assembly elections the electoral fortunes of the BJP, Sena, Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) have swung erratically from one high to a another low.

In the just concluded April-June Lok Sabha polls, the splintering of the Sena votes into its two factions (Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray and Eknath Shinde factions) has hurt the electoral fortunes of the BJP. At the other end of the electoral spectrum, the splintering of the NCP vote bank into its two factions does not appear to have hurt the NCP.

But the splintering of the BJP, Sena and NCP vote banks appears to have benefitted the Congress to a great extent, bagging 13 seats its second-best tally since 1998 when it had won 33 seats.

The 2024 Lok Sabha elections do point towards an upper hand for the Shiv Sena-UBT faction (SS-UBT) and the Sharad Pawar led NCP-SP faction.

After having comfortably retained power in Gujarat, in the December 2022 Assembly elections defying all anti-incumbency predictions, BJP saw its complete dominance a bit shaken in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. The BJP which had made a clean sweep of all the 26 Lok Sabha seats in 2019, saw its tally down to 25 seats, with Congress bagging the other one seat.

Sources disclosed that the refusal of the BJP top brass in New Delhi to change one candidate who had spoken ill of an influential community just ahead of the voting in May 2024, prompted the entire BJP voters, vote for the Congress.

The wild swing in electoral fortunes between Lok Sabha and Assembly election can best be described in the Lok Sabha elections of February 1998 and the November 1998 Assembly elections in New Delhi.

In the February 1998 Lok Sabha elections, the BJP had almost swept New Delhi, winning 6 out of 7 seats with Congress winning one seat. However, tide of electoral fortunes turned and the BJP lost the Assembly elections in November the same year with Congress bagging 52 seats and the BJP could just win 15 seats. The poor performance then was attributed to the steep price rise of Onions.

In Andhra Pradesh the BJP did not benefit from the anti-incumbency factor against the YSRCP in not just the Lok Sabha elections but also the recent simultaneously held Assembly elections. The Telugu Desam Party (TDP) has an outright majority in the Assembly and has done equally well in the Lok Sabha polls.

Charges of sexual misconduct on Janata Dal (Secular) scion Prajwal Revanna hurt the electoral chances of the BJP-JD-S chances in Karnataka. After wresting power from the BJP in the 2023 Assembly elections, the Congress was looking down the barrel in the Lok Sabha polls. The BJP which did well in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls bagging 25 of the 28 seats, its tally came down to 17 seats in 2024 polls.

Like in neighboring Maharashtra, in Karnataka too the alliance partner’s (JD-S & NCP-AP) poor show has badly affected the BJP’s overall performance at the national level, falling short of the halfway mark in the Lok Sabha.

After having lost Assembly elections in 2018 in Madhya Pradesh, toppling the Congress government 15 months later in 2020, the BJP has turned around its electoral fortunes, both in the 2019 and in the 2024 Lok Sabha polls. Not only did it wrest power with a comfortable tally in the Assembly polls, the BJP bettered its performance sweeping all the 29 seats. The BJP had won 28 seats in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.

Odisha is one state where the BJP has improved its tally in the Lok Sabha polls and even managed to wrest power from the BJD in the Assembly polls. The BJP more than tripled its Lok Sabha tally from 8 seats in 2019 to 20 seats in 2024. In the Assembly too it secured a working majority ending a more than two decades old BJD reign of ex-CM Navin Patnaik.

Rajasthan has been yet another state where the BJP suffered more on account of internal party dissent from ex-CM Vasundhara Raje Scindia camp. The Congress which was roundly trounced in the November 2023 Assembly polls and had drawn blank in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, managed to bounce back and win 8 seats. The BJP which had won 24 of the 25 Lok Sabha seats in 2019, saw its tally come down to 14 seats.

Unlike in Andhra Pradesh, in neighboring state of Telangana, the BJP has more than doubled its Lok Sabha tally from 4 seats in 2019 to 9 seats in the 2024 polls. This performance comes barely after six months, winning just 8 seats in the November 2023 Assembly seats. The BJP appears to have benefitted in the 2024 Lok Sabha polls, from the rout the BRS had suffered in the 2023 Assembly polls.

The 2024 Lok Sabha results in Uttar Pradesh has come as a shocker not just for the BJP, but to everyone else. The BJP saw its 2019 Lok Sabha tally of 62 seats almost halved to 33 seats in 2024 polls. Not to forget that the BJP has brute majority of 255 in a 403-member UP Assembly. All this in a matter of just two years into power in the key state in North India.


Andhra Pradesh:

Assembly – 175 seats – Majority mark – 88 seats.

Simultaneous – April-May-June – 2024.

Lok Sabha: 25 seats.

2024 Assembly elections – TDP 135, Jana Sena Party 21, BJP 8, YSRCP 11.

2024 Lok Sabha elections – 25 seats – TDP 16, BJP 3, JSP 2.

2019 Lok Sabha elections – YSRCP 22, TDP 3.


Gujarat:

Assembly – 182 seats – Majority mark – 92 seats – December 2022.

2 Years gap.

Lok Sabha – 26 seats – April-May-June 2024.

2022 Assembly elections – BJP 156, Congress 17, AAP 5, SP 1, Others 3.

2024 Lok Sabha elections – BJP 25, Congress 1.

2019 Lok Sabha elections – BJP 26.


Karnataka:

Assembly – 224 seats – Majority mark – 113 seats. April-May 2023.

1 Year gap.

Lok Sabha – 28 seats – April-May-June 2024.

2023 Assembly elections – BJP 66, Congress 135, JD-S 19.

2024 Lok Sabha elections – 28 seats – BJP 17, JD-S 2, Congress 7.

2019 Lok Sabha elections – BJP 25, Congress 1, JD-S 1, Independent 1.


Madhya Pradesh:

Assembly – 230 seats – Majority mark – 116 seats. November 2023.

Lok Sabha – 29 seats – April-May-June 2024.

6 Month gap.

2023 Assembly elections – BJP 163, Congress 66, Others 1.

2024 Lok Sabha elections – BJP 29.

2019 Lok Sabha elections – BJP 28, Congress 1.


Maharashtra:

Assembly – 288 seats – 145 Majority mark – 145 seats – September-October 1999.

4 Months gap.

Lok Sabha – 48 seats – April-May-June 2024.

1995 Assembly elections – Shiv Sena 73, BJP 65, Congress 80, PWPI 6, Samajwadi Party 3, Independents 45.

1996 Lok Sabha elections – BJP 18, Sena 15, Congress 15.

1998 Lok Sabha elections – Congress 33, Sena 6, BJP 4.

1999 Lok Sabha elections – Sena 15, BJP 13, Congress 10, NCP 6.

1999 Assembly elections – Congress 75, Sena 69, NCP 58, BJP 56.

2014 Lok Sabha elections – BJP 23, Sena 18, NCP 4, Congress 1, AIMIM 1, Independent 1.

2014 Assembly elections – BJP 122, Sena 63, Congress 40, NCP 41, Others 23.

2019 Lok Sabha elections – BJP 23, Sena 18, NCP 4, Congress 1, AIMIM 1, Independent 1.

2019 Assembly elections – BJP 105, Sena 56, NCP 54, Congress 44, AIMIM 2

2024 Lok Sabha elections – Congress 13, SS-UBT 9, BJP 9, NCP-SP 8, SS-ES 7, NCP-AP 1.

2024 Assembly elections – NIL.


New Delhi:

Assembly – 70 seats – Majority mark – 36 seats – February 1998.

Lok Sabha – 7 seats – – April-May-June 2024.

10 Months gap.

1998 November Assembly elections – Congress 52, BJP 15.

1998 February Lok Sabha elections – BJP 6, Congress 1.


Odisha:

Assembly – 147 seats – Majority mark – 74 seats.

Lok Sabha – 21 seats.

Simultaneous – April-May-June – 2024.

2024 Assembly elections – BJP 78, BJD 51, Congress 14, CPI-M 1, Independent’s 3.

2024 Lok Sabha elections – BJP 20, Congress 1.

2019 Lok Sabha elections – BJD 12, BJP 8, Congress 1.


Rajasthan:

Assembly – 200 seats – Majority mark – 101 seats – November 2023.

Lok Sabha – 25 seats.

6 Month gap.

2023 Assembly elections – BJP 115, Congress 70, RLD 1, BAP 3, BSP 2, RLP 1.

2024 Lok Sabha elections – BJP 14, Congress 8, BAP 1, CPI-M 1, RLP 1.

2019 Lok Sabha elections – BJP 24, RLP 1.


Telangana:

Assembly – 119 seats – Majority mark – 60 seats – November 2023.

Lok Sabha – 17 seats – April-May-June.

6 Months gap.

2023 Assembly elections – Congress 64, BRS 39, BJP 8, AIMIM 7.

2024 Lok Sabha elections – BJP 9, Congress 7, AIMIM 1.

2019 Lok Sabha elections – BRS 9, BJP 4, Congress 3, AIMIM 1.


Uttar Pradesh:

Assembly – 403 seats – Majority mark – 202 seats – February-March 2022.

Lok Sabha – 80 seats – April-May-June 2024.

2 Year gap.

2022 Assembly elections – BJP 255, AD-S 12, NP 6, SP 111, RLD 8, SBSP 6, BSP 1, Congress 2, JD-L 2.

2024 Lok Sabha elections – SP 37, Congress 6, BJP 33, RLD 2, AD-S 1.

2019 Lok Sabha elections – BJP 62, AD-S 2, BSP 10, SP 5, Congress 1.

Prashant Hamine
Prashant Hamine
News Editor - He has more than 25 years of experience in English journalism. He had worked with DNA, Free Press Journal and Afternoon Dispatch. He covers politics.

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