chapter  3
Understanding Congress’s debacle
BySuhas Palshikar
Pages 18

The defeat of the ruling party after two terms in office would ordinarily not invite great attention. But what happened to the Congress Party in 2014 has all the characteristics of an electoral upset rather than a defeat. As the real spread of the party shrunk, the party continued to have presence in all parts of the country and kept getting small vote shares from everywhere but was unable to convert those votes in winning seats. This ability of converting votes into seats is captured by the measure called vote-seat multiplier. The fact that the Congress gets only 16 per cent votes among Hindus also means that there is a hidden religious polarization between the BJP and the Congress. The gap between Congress votes and BJP votes narrows among the lower class and poor voters–the Congress in fact surpasses the BJP by 8 percentage points among poor voters of Gujarat.