19 September 2020

Indian voting was traditionally divided along religion and caste. People used to vote in a very predictable manner on religious and caste lines. People voted for the same party repeatedly for generations which represented their caste or their religion .

Thus, Indian elections were predictable. Political Analysts and Media could predict the election. Prediction of elections results could even be made till the level of a State, a Distict or even a Village.

But, this could not be done in the 2014 elections which brought a clear majority government after 30 years of coalition politics. The reason is weakening of caste politics. The voting along religious lines was still strong in 2014. But, the rigidity in caste politics weakened especially among the youth. 

The elderly population (above 35 years of age) still voted along caste lines. But, a small portion of the youth (30%) did not vote for their traditional caste party. Instead they voted for a Party or a Candidate which they though will provide good governance. In 2014 that was BJP and Mr Modi. Thus, the election results could not be predicted by the political analysts and the media. 

BJP was the best placed among all political parties to benefit from this trend. Whereas, the other political parties had encouraged caste politics, BJP had an ideology of a common caste-less Hindu identity. Thus, when caste politics weakened, BJP benefited the most.

Modi had an idea of this new trend. He mentioned in his speech that the Country has already moved forward and it is up to you to catch on. Thus, he made Good Governance (Vikas) as his poll plank.

Political analysts had predicted that Mr Modi can win the educated middle class vote with his Good Governance promise. As, the educated middle class loves a dictatorial good administrator. So they thought that Mr Modi would do well in educated and Urbanized states like Gujarat (60% urbanization). But, they predicted that he would  be defeated in states like Uttar Pradesh (20% urbanization) & Bihar (10% urbanization) where the rural population would vote on caste.

Thus, the results of 2014 were surprising. The defeated political parties called it a one time thing. But, when they lost in some state elections after 2014, they had to say that it was a Modi wave.  But, when they continued to loose election after election, they had to then explain it with tampering in electronic voting machines.

But, something had fundamentally changed in Indian elections. And that was weakening of caste politics especially among the youth.

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