Even as the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) has formed the government for the third consecutive term, data on vote shares from the 2024 Lok Sabha (LS) elections signalled a declining popularity for most political parties compared to the 2019 LS elections. 

As per analysis of ECI data, across 304 constituencies that saw parties getting re-elected to power, 68 per cent have registered a lower vote share for themselves compared to the 2019 LS election.

The BJP was re-elected in 201 constituencies, and in 139 of these (69 per cent), the party experienced a decrease in vote share. Similarly, the Congress, which was re-elected to power in 32 constituencies, saw its vote share decrease in 17 of these constituencies (53 per cent). The Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) in Tamil Nadu faced an even more pronounced decline. Out of the 18 constituencies where it was re-elected, its vote share was reduced in 17 constituencies (94 per cent) compared to 2019. 

In terms of specific constituencies that registered lower vote shares for the respective winning parties, the Congress’s vote share plummeted 23 per cent in Amritsar. Similarly, the All Jharkhand Students Union Party’s vote share in Giridih dropped 22 per cent. The BJP’s vote share saw a notable decline, falling 21 per cent in Fatehpur Sikri.

Uttar Pradesh (UP), Tamil Nadu, and Bihar emerge as the top three states where the major political parties have experienced a notable decrease in vote share. In Uttar Pradesh, the BJP has seen a decrease in vote share across 30 out of its 34 re-elected constituencies.

“The support for anti-incumbency and discontent against the BJP led to a reduced winning margin for the party in most of the states where they had retained power. The opposition’s candidate selection was also favourable, particularly in areas like Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, and Haryana,” Afroz Alam, head of the Department of Political Science at the Maulana Azad National Urdu University, explained. 

He said, “Additionally, the BJP relied heavily on Modi as the main face to attract voters, whereas the opposition parties used their local candidates to appeal to the electorate.” 

“Many recent studies suggest that most people prioritise the political party over the individual candidate when voting. The lower vote share indicates that the party’s popularity has been declining in the constituencies,” Hilal Ahmed, Associate Professor at the Centre for the Studies of Developing Societies-Lokniti, said.

“When it comes to regional parties, their vote share may have declined because of the relative apathy of the voters in the constituency. Additionally, their performance depended on the coalitions they were attempting to form,” he added. 

In terms of all-India vote share, the BJP saw a marginal decline, dropping to 36.5 per cent in the 2024 LS election from 37.3 per cent in the 2019 LS election. This causes a slight erosion of its voter base. On the other hand, the Congress experienced an increase in its vote share, rising from 19.4 per cent in the 2019 LS election to 21.2 per cent in the 2024 polls.