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2019 General Elections: Decoding the Mandate of the Decade

2019 General Elections

The 2019 Lok Sabha elections mandate defied the predictions of many “experts” who said that 2014 was a black swan event. The return of the Modi government showed that when an electorate that had decided to support the politics of development meets a leader who can deliver, many citadels fall, many records get broken and many precedents get set.

While 2014 was indeed a special election as a single party majority government came into power for the first time in the last three decades, there are several unique attributes of 2019 elections that makes it not just the biggest mandate of the decade but also quite possibly the biggest mandate ever received by a government in post-Independence India.

Decisive Mandate of the Decade

India saw coalition era since 1989. 2014 marked the watershed moment of simple majority being given to a single party and its leader, Narendra Modi.

2019 is no less of a watershed than 2014. Narendra Modi is also the only leader after 1971 (almost 50 years ago) to have won a second successive majority. This shows the changing outlook of the people in giving decisive mandates. He is also the first non-Congress leader who won a second term with full majority in Lok Sabha. This hasn’t happened ever since elections commenced in India.

These elections also saw a non-Congress party getting the highest-ever national vote share. BJP’s vote share touched almost 38%, something that propelled it to 303 seats in the Lok Sabha. This is despite BJP being the incumbent party!

Development became a new vote bank. The beneficiaries of PM Modi’s schemes like Ujjwala, Saubhagya, Pradhan Mantri Awas, MUDRA, etc rose above caste considerations and voted resoundingly for development.

Breaching the Caste Fortress

Once upon a time BJP used to be derisively called “Brahmin-Bania Party”. The year 2019 dealt a blow to this description as BJP secured high vote percentage across all caste and communities including SCs, OBCs and Adivasis. According to CSDS-LokNiti post-poll survey, compared to 2014, support for BJP from Dalits and OBC’s went up by 10 points and support from tribal went up by 7 points in 2019.

In addition, BJP won 46 out of the 84 SC seats and 31 out of the 47 ST seats. BJP’s tally in reserved seats also increased to 77 in 2019 from 67 in 2014.

Women Led the Way for the Massive Mandate

For the first time in the electoral history of Independent India, voter turnout of women matched that of men with both being recorded at 66.7 and 66.6% respectively.

This shows the enthusiasm with which they came out to vote for the government which took several initiatives aimed at empowering women, ensuring their dignity and improving their living standards like PM-Ujjwala Yojana, Beti Bachao Beti Padhao, Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, PM-Matru Vandana Yojana Etc. Even schemes like Stand-Up India, Mudra Yojana had special provisions to ensure women availed benefits of these government programmes.

The effectiveness of these programmes were reflective of the way in which women of India voted. CSDS-LokNiti Post poll survey reported that NDA received 43% of women votes with BJP alone getting 36% of the votes. BJP also recorded an increase of 7% in women vote share compared to 2014.

This parliament has also set another milestone by having 78 women MPs with the BJP being the leader in representation of women with 41 MPs.

Modi’s March in West Bengal

From admonishing those who chant ‘Jai Shri Ram’, preventing CBI from arresting officials accused of corruption, to snide remarks like gifting “Rasgullas” made of gravel to PM Modi, Mamata Banerjee has been on a warpath with the central government and PM Modi.

While everyone is aware of the massive gains made by BJP in terms of seats in West Bengal, vote percentage in favour of BJP in 2019 tells the real story as to why Didi is so angry with Modi.

BJP more than doubled its vote-share in 2019 elections, i.e. it got 40.64% of the votes compared to 17.02% in 2014. It is important to note here that the gap between TMC and BJP’s vote share shrunk from 22.7% in 2014 to 2.65% in 2019.

India Rejected Dynasty and Nepotism

A defining aspect of the mandate given by the electorate in 2019 election was the overwhelming rejection of dynasts. Demolishing the myth of “family bastions”, one dynast after another lost across the country.

Starting with Rahul Gandhi’s phenomenal loss to Smriti Irani in the once “Congress Bastion” of Amethi, seats which had traditionally passed on from father to son, husband to wife and so on were wrested away from them by an electorate which yearned for politics of aspiration and development and were sick of feudal politics that fueled corruption and nepotism. Congress which is the standard bearer for dynastic politics in India was the most hit by this anti-dynastic wave with Milind Deora, Jyothiraditya Scindia, Vaibhav Gehlot, Jitin Prasada, Ashok Chavan, Bhupinder Hooda and his son, all losing their seats.

Indian electorate did not spare regional parties too with former PM HD Deva Gowda and his grandson, daughter of Telangana CM KC Rao, Daughter of former Bihar CM Lalu Prasad Yadav, multiple family members of former U.P CM Mulayam Singh Yadav losing in their “family” seats too.

“Heroes” of Social Media Became Zeroes of Democracy

In the run-up to the elections, social media and studio debates were rife with personalities who apparently had groundswell of support among the masses and were going to defeat the incumbent government.

But 23rd May gave a rude wake-up call to these social media and studio debate warriors who were overwhelmingly rejected by the electorate with many of them even losing their deposits. People of India showed that they vote for candidates and leaders who produced results on the ground and not for those who based their popularity on basis of retweets or airtime received on news channels.

Kanhaiya Kumar who purportedly represented the voice of the youth lost by a margin of over 4.2 Lakh vote as did Prakash Raj who as an Independent Candidate lost his deposit after getting an abysmal 2.41% of the votes. Shatrughan Sinha who was touted as the “Great Rebel” became rebel without a cause after voters showed him the door.

Candidate Lost By Votes Received (%)
Prakash Raj 5.7 Lakh Votes 2.41%
Atishi Marlena 4.7 Lakh Votes 17.44%
Urmila Matondkar 4.6 Lakh Votes 24.39%
Kanhaiya Kumar 4.2 Lakhs Votes 22.03%
Shatrughan Sinha 2.8 Lakhs Votes 32.87%
BJP Surged, Congress Stagnated

Another trend that the electorate discarded in the 2019 elections was that of the anti-incumbency vote. While parties facing re-elections generally see a decline in their vote percentage, BJP’s vote share increased by over 6% showing that there was pro-incumbency vote as well. Congress’s vote-share on the other hand has stagnated even though they have been in opposition.


NDA led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi received an overwhelming mandate from the people of India cutting across caste, gender, age and region. Pro-incumbency mandate like this is received when people support the changes made by the government and want them to be taken forward much more substantially. PM Narendra Modi has already started doing justice to this enormous mandate that he received by taking path-breaking initiatives like Abrogation of Article 370, Citizenship Amendment Act, corporate tax cut, extension of PM-KISAN to all farmers, appointment of Chief of Defence Staff etc. As a new decade dawns upon India, one can be rest assured that the pace of path-breaking reforms is going to continue at an even faster pace.