Varanasi Lok Sabha Seat: Visible Chinks In Armour

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Varanasi Lok Sabha Seat: Visible Chinks In Armour

| Updated: June 7, 2024 10:07

Narendra Modi will take the oath as the prime minister of India for the third consecutive time in the coming days. In the Varanasi constituency of Uttar Pradesh, Modi won the election, securing 6,12,970 votes out of a total of 11,30,143. The turnout was 56.57%. The name Modi has inspired awe and fear in the Indian political arena for close to a quarter of a century. In this context, it is important to look at his win closely.

Surprisingly for everyone, Narendra Modi won with a lead of merely 1,52,513 votes, as compared to his 2019 win with a margin of 4,79,505 votes. It is indeed an unflattering statistic for a leader with the stature of Narendra Modi that the percentage of victory margin to total voter turnout in the constituency is nearly 13.49. It must be noted that in the 2019 general elections, the margin-to-turnout ratio was 45.20%.

The victory margin to voter turnout percentage (13.49) secured by Modi as sitting Prime Minister in 2024 is the third lowest. He fared just a tad better than Indira Gandhi in 1977 and Chandra Shekhar in 1991. Indira Gandhi, facing elections after emergency, fared -34.09 %, and Chandra Shekhar as Caretaker Prime Minister secured 12.78 %.

When Narendra Modi replaced a reluctant Murli Manohar Joshi from the Varanasi constituency in the run-up to his elevation as the guy to hoist the tricolour on August 15, 2014, he improved the vote share by 25.85 points. The vote share of Narendra Modi was 56.37% in 2014, against MM Joshi’s 30.32% in 2009. In 2019, at the pinnacle of his popularity, Modi got an even more impressive vote share of 63.62%, up 7.25 points from 2014. In 2024, though, the picture is not as rosy. Narendra Modi could manage only 54.24% of the vote share, down by 9.38 points.

In view of the significant decrease of 3,26,992, in the winning lead of the Prime Minister between 2019 and 2024, the analysts are also checking the numbers coming from various assembly segments of the Varanasi Lok Sabha constituency. It is baffling to note that in each of the five assembly segments of the Prime Minister’s constituency, the absolute number of votes polled in his favour has actually decreased.

A closer look at the various assembly segments in Varanasi also provides important clues. There are five assembly segments in the Varanasi Lok Sabha constituency. Varanasi North, Varanasi South, Varanasi Cannt, Sevapuri, and Rohaniya. The first four have elected a candidate of the BJP as their representative in the 2022 assembly elections. The fifth is held by Apna Dal, an NDA ally. Varanasi Lok Sabha has remained with the BJP since 1991, continuously except in 2004, when INC bagged it. It is baffling to note that in each of the five assembly segments of the Prime Minister’s constituency, the absolute number of votes polled in his favour has actually decreased. This explains the significant decrease of 3,26,992, in the winning lead of the Prime Minister between 2019 and 2024.

The decrease in the PM’s winning lead is being attributed to the inefficiency of his poll managers, brought in from Gujarat. Gujarat BJP Chief C. R. Paatil, and Ministers Harsh Sanghvi, Rushikesh Patel, and Jagdish Vishvakarma were entrusted with the job of managing the prestigious Varanasi seat on behalf of the PM. C.R. Paatil, himself a candidate from the Navsari constituency in Gujarat, has won by one of the biggest margins in India, securing 77% of the votes polled.

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