Its a BJP sweep in newly urbanised districts

Written by Anil Sasi | Priyadarshi Siddhanta | priyadarshi siddhanta | New Delhi | Updated: May 17 2014, 14:49pm hrs
The overwhelming mandate of the electorate in favour of a BJP-led coalition in the 2014 Lok Sabha election may have a subtext a clear swing in favour of the BJP in Lok Sabha constituencies that are deemed as having newly urbanised, as per the latest census report.

The BJP-led NDAs performance in the 2014 Lok Sabha election has seen a near doubling of its tally among a sample of 50 of these newly urbanised districts (corresponding with their respective Lok Sabha constituencies), when compared to the tally in the 2009 general elections. The UPAs tally in this sample of 50 districts has correspondingly whittled down to nearly a third in the space of just five years.

India has a total of 680 districts. The categorisation of these 50 districts as urban, based on data culled from the NSSOs 2011 census, uses the assumption that a district is considered to have moved out of the notional poverty line threshold and can be bracketed as urban as and when the urbanisation levels breach the 30 per cent mark.

The broader trend of people voting out the UPA in these districts, according to experts, overwhelmingly buttresses the aspirations of the new Indian middle class and signifies a decisive swing in favour of the BJPs development-led election agenda.

The list of constituencies in the list of 50 districts that have moved up the poverty line, where there has been a swing in favour of the NDA in this election, include Sikar in Rajasthan, Rewari in Haryana, Rudraprayag in Uttarakhand, Sambalpur in Orissa, Sindhudurg and Wardha in Maharashtra, Saharanpur, Moradabad and Aligarh in UP and Gurdaspur and Nawanshehr in Punjab.

Of the total sample of 50 constituencies, the NDAs seat tally has gone up from 16 in the 2009 elections to 30 in the latest election, while the UPAs seats have sharply come down from 28 to 11.

An increasing trend in favour of urbanisation clearly signifies progress and helps people move out of extreme poverty, given that officially estimated poverty ratios for urban areas are considerably lower than the rural ratio.

On the whole, a sharp rise in the countrys urban population over the decade to 2011 points to the changes in the classification of many settlements from rural to urban in the 2011 Census, even as the backward districts across states, including prosperous ones such as Gujarat and Maharashtra, have seen either stagnant urbanisation levels or even a decline.

According to the Census of India 2011, the definition of urban area covers all places with a municipality, corporation, cantonment board or notified town area committee, etc and all other places that satisfied the criteria of having a minimum population of 5,000; at least 75 per cent of the male main working population engaged in non-agricultural pursuits; and a density of population of at least 400 persons per sq km.

The BJPs entire campaign during the 2014 general election hinged on the promise of growth and development, something that is seen to have found a strong resonance among the semi-urban and rural constituencies that have fallen back on the broader development indicators despite the UPAs povertarian agenda.