LS polls 2019: Two dozen bellwether seats in Hindi heartland critical

Updated 3:12 PM, 3 May, 2019
UP
There is no scientific basis to this but historical data shows that bellwether constituencies usually act as a marker for the final results. File photo/PTI

The focus of Lok Sabha polls 2019 has shifted to the ‘Hindi heartland’ of India, which also hosts over two dozens bellwether constituencies. Bellwether constituencies are the ones  that vote for a political party that eventually forms the government at the Centre.

There is no scientific basis to this but historical data shows that bellwether constituencies usually act as a marker for the final results.

Amid the rising curiosity to know which party will form the government in this general elections, here is an analysis of bellwether constituencies where polling is completed.

Valsad

Gujarat’s Valsad constituency has predicted or rather voted for the political party that eventually formed the government in the Centre in all the 11 Lok Sabha polls between 1977 and 2014. Thus, the constituency is said to have a strike rate of almost 100% in predicting the direction in which the electoral winds are blowing.

Polling in Valsad, which concluded in the phase III of the Lok Sabha polls 2019, saw a voter turnout of 74.15%. The turnout was the same as recorded in the 2014 general elections.

In the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, key candidates contesting from this constituency includes BJP’s KC Patel, who will be facing Congress’ Jitubhai Harjibhai Choudhary. In 2014, Patel defeated Congress candidate Kishanbhai Patel by over 2 lakh votes.

Shahdol

Madhya Pradesh’s Shahdol constituency has voted for the political party that eventually formed the government in the Centre in 10 of the 11 Lok Sabha polls between 1977 and 2014. Thus, the constituency is said to have a strike rate of 90% in predicting the likely winner of the general elections.

Polling in Shahdol, which concluded in the phase IV of the Lok Sabha polls 2019, saw a voter turnout of 74.78%. This year’s voter turnout in this constituency was over 14 percentage points up compared to the 2014 elections.

This time, key candidates from this constituency include BJP’s Himadri Singh and Congress’ Pramila Singh. In 2014, BJP’s Dalpat Singh had defeated Congress candidate Rajesh Nandini Singh by a margin of 24% or 2.4 lakh votes.

Beed

Maharashtra’s Beed constituency has a strike rate of 90% with the constituency voting for the political party at the Centre 10 out of the 11 Lok Sabha polls between 1977 and 2014.

Beed, which polled in the phase II of the general elections 2019 on April 18, witnessed a voter turnout of 66.06%, which was two percentage points lower compared to the 2014 turnout. Key candidates in this constituency include BJP’s Pritam Gopinath Munde, who will look to edge past NCP’s Bajrang Sonawane in this battle.

In the 2014 Lok Sabha election, her father Gopinath Munde had defeated NCP’s Dhan Suresh Ramachandra by over 11 percent votes.

Palamu

Jharkhand’s Palamu constituency has a strike rate of 90% as the constituency has voted for the winning political party in 10 out of the 11 Lok Sabha polls. Palamu, which went for polling in the phase IV of the general elections 2019, saw a voter turnout 64.63%, up 5.2 percentage points from the 2014 elections.

BJP’s Vishnu Dayal Ram and RJD’s Jhuran Ram are among the key candidates fighting to secure this crucial seat. In the scheduled caste constituency, the RJD has traditionally been strong. In 2014, however, Ram had defeated RJD’s Manoj Kumar by a margin of 27%.

Banaskantha

Gujarat’s Banaskantha constituency, which had polling in the phase II of the Lok Sabha polls 2019, has a strike rate of 70%. This means that the constituency has voted for the winning political party in 8 out of the 11 Lok Sabha polls between 1977 and 2014.

This year, Banaskantha saw a voter turnout of 64.69%, which was 6.1 percentage points higher than the 2014 turnout.

Key candidates contesting from here includes BJP’s Parbatbhai Savabhai Patel, Congress’ Parthibhai Galbabhai Bhatol and BSP’s Tejabhai Nethibhai Rabari. In 2014, BJP’s Parthibhai Haribhai Chaudhary won from Banaskantha after defeating Congress’ Joitabhai Kasnabhai by over 2 lakh votes.

Porbandar

Gujarat’s Porbandar is also one of the constituencies which has correctly predicted the winning political party in the Lok Sabha polls 8 out of the 11 times. The constituency, that went for polling on the third phase of Lok Sabha polls 2019, witnessed a voter turnout of 56.8%.

Key candidates from this constituency includes BJP’s Rameshbhai Lavjibhai Dhaduk. Dhaduk will be up against Congress’ Lalit Vasoya and BSP’ Samatbhai Govabhai Kadavala. In 2014, BJP’s Radadiya Vithalbhia Hansrajbhai won this constituency seat after beating NCP’s Jadeja Kandhalbhai Sarmanbhai by a 33% margin.

Jamnagar

Gujarat’s Jamnagar has voted for the winning political party in 8 of the 11 Lok Sabha polls held between 1977 and 2014. The constituency, which went for polling on April 23, saw a voter turnout of 60.05% compared to 58% in the 2014 elections.

Key candidates from Jamnagar includes NCP’s Jeshangbhai Kirtibhai Chaudhari, Congress’ Jagdish Thakor and BJP’s Shankarji Bharatsinhji Dabhi. In 2014, BJP’s Poonamben Hematbhai Maadam defeated Congress’ Ahir Vikrambhai Madam by over 1.7 lakh votes.

Junagadh

Junagadh is another bellwether seat from Gujarat that has a strike rate of 70%. The constituency, that went for polling in phase III of the Lok Sabha polls, witnessed a voter turnout of 60.73%. In 2014, the voter turnout in Junagadh was 63.4%.

Key candidates from this constituency includes BJP’s Naranbhai Rajeshbhai Chudasama, Congress’ Vansh Bhimabhai Punjabhai and BSP’s Deven Govindbhai Vanvi. In the previous Lok Sabha polls, BJP’s Chudasama defeated Congress’ Bhimabhai by a 20% margin.

Mandla

Madhya Pradesh’s Mandla constituency has a strike rate of 70%. This means that Mandla has voted for the winning political party in 8 of the 11 Lok Sabha polls. Mandla, which witnessed polling on April 29, saw a 10 percentage point increase in voter turnout (77.4%) compared to the 2014 elections (66.8%).

Key candidates from Mandla includes BJP’s Faggan Singh Kulaste and Congress’ Kamal Maravi. In 2014, Kulaste won from this constituency after beating Congress’ Omkar Singh Markam by a margin of over 1 lakh votes.

Nashik

Maharashtra’s Nashik also falls in the list of constituencies that have voted for the winning political parties 8 out of the 11 times. Nashik, which witnessed polling on April 29, saw a voter turnout of 57.77%, which was lower than the 2014 turnout at 58.8%.

Key candidates in this constituency includes BSP’s Vaibhav Shantaram Ahire, Shiv Sena’s Hemant Tukaram Godse and NCP’s Sameer Magan Bhujbal. In 2014, Godse won from this constituency after defeating NCP’s Chhagan Bhujbal by a 19% margin.

Bhilwara

Rajasthan’s Bhilwara has a 70% strike rate as the constituency has voted for the winning political party 8 out for 11 times. Polling in Bhilwara, which was on April 29, saw a voter turnout of 65.51%. The voter turnout was higher than the 2014 voter turnout at 62.9%.

Key candidates in this constituency includes BJP’s Subhash Chandra Baheria, Congress’ Rampal Sharma and BSP’s Shivlal Gurjar. In 2014, Baheria defeated Congress candidate Ashok Chandna and won by a margin of over 2.4 lakh votes.

Sundargarh

Odisha’s Sundargarh has voted for the winning political party in 8 out of the 11 Lok Sabha polls. In the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, Sundargarh saw a voter turnout of 71.53%, similar to what it saw in the 2014 elections (71.7%).

Key candidates from this constituency includes BJP’s Jual Oram, who won this seat in 2014, Congress’ George Tirkey and BJD’s Sunita Biswal. In the previous general elections, Oram had defeated BJD’s Dilip Kumar Tirkey by a thin margin of 1.8% or over 18,000 votes.