As the voting process for the 2024 Lok Sabha (LS) election commences, the question arises: which sections will support the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in this election? In the 2014 LS election, the BJP won 282 seats, and in the 2019 LS election, the party’s seat count increased to 303. Meanwhile, Congress secured 44 seats in 2014 and 52 seats in 2019.

Data from the Election Commission of India (ECI) revealed that in the 2019 LS election, the BJP secured almost all the seats in Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, and Rajasthan, with 26, 28, and 24 seats respectively. Uttar Pradesh (UP) topped the list, with BJP winning 62 out of 80 seats in the election.

The Pro Vice Chancellor of Jain University, Sandeep Shastri, who is also the National Coordinator of the Centre for the Studies of Developing Societies (CSDS) Lokniti, explained, “In the 2019 LS election, the BJP was in direct competition with the Congress in several states where they tended to perform well. The nationalism and rhetoric surrounding events like Pulwama helped the BJP garner voter attention.”

Shastri added, “In UP, the BJP managed to secure the most seats in the Lok Sabha, but the number of seats fell in the 2019 election compared to the 2014 election. This decline was primarily due to the alliance of the SP-BSP duo.”

The National Election Studies (NES) data revealed that among people from different occupations, agriculturalists were the prime voters for the BJP. In the 2014 LS election, approximately 38 per cent of agriculturalists voted for the BJP, and this figure increased to 42 per cent in the 2019 LS election. Additionally, people from the business sector and professionals also supported the BJP, with 40 per cent and 38 per cent voting for the party in the 2019 LS election, respectively.

Head of the Department of Political Science from the Maulana Azad National Urdu University, Afroz Alam, explained, “The topic of nationalism played a crucial role in helping the BJP secure votes from the rural sector, particularly farmers, in the 2019 LS election. Similarly, the party’s neo-liberal policies also appealed to voters from the business sector. However, the recent farmers protests are likely to affect the BJP’s support among farmers.”

In the past two LS elections, the BJP received overwhelming support in both rural and urban areas, with 38 per cent and 37 per cent, respectively, in the 2019 LS election.

In the education category, in the 2019 LS election, around 42 per cent of college-educated and above individuals supported the BJP.

According to the CSDS 2024 pre-poll survey, out of the around 10,000 people surveyed in different states, 44 per cent support the BJP forming the government again in 2024, while 39 per cent disapprove of the BJP coming to power. These figures mark a decrease from the 2019 survey results, where support for the BJP was at 47 per cent and disapproval was at 35 per cent.

Hilal Ahmed, Associate Professor at CSDS-Lokniti, said, “Our survey indicates a growing level of dissatisfaction and discontent among the people, highlighting the need for a new language of politics to better connect with voters. The number of ‘floating voters’, who are typically undecided, has also increased in India. The lower turnout in the first phase of the 2024 LS election suggests a certain level of dissatisfaction among the masses.”

Among the people surveyed, the BJP’s rule receives the highest level of satisfaction from Upper Castes (34 per cent) and Other Backward Class (25 per cent). Conversely, Muslims (36 per cent) and individuals from Scheduled Castes (22 per cent) express the highest level of dissatisfaction with the BJP’s rule.

“Historically, the success of the BJP has been closely tied to the support of the upper castes in India. However, the party has also managed to expand its voter base among the OBCs and SCs. Nonetheless, due to the small dataset for the survey, it is complicated to draw a concrete conclusion,” added Ahmed.