Explained: What Post-Poll Survey By Lokniti-CSDS Tells Us About Recent Assembly Elections In Assam, Kerala

Explained: What Post-Poll Survey By Lokniti-CSDS Tells Us About Recent Assembly Elections In Assam, Kerala

by Swarajya Staff - May 12, 2021 06:00 AM +05:30 IST
Explained: What Post-Poll Survey By Lokniti-CSDS Tells Us About Recent Assembly Elections In Assam, KeralaHimanta Biswa Sarma and Pinarayi Vijayan
  • The survey concluded that the local issues were of paramount importance for the voters in the Assembly elections.

A special post-poll survey conducted by the Lokniti-CSDS for The Hindu shines light on the electoral trends in the states of Assam, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal.

The survey concluded that the local issues were of paramount importance for the voters in the Assembly elections.

“Each of the surveyed States had specific local variables that swayed and determined the choices of the respondents. Clearly, the voters were determining their electoral choice for State and national elections distinctly,” The Hindu report said.

In a two part series, we will summarise the findings of this survey for the four major states.


The Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) was able to keep Assam that it wrested from Congress in 2016 elections. The Lokniti-CSDS survey showed high religious polarisation in the state.

Around 67 per cent Hindus voted for National Democratic Alliance (NDA) while 81 per cent Muslims voted for the Mahajot - a grand pre-election alliance that Congress forged with the All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF), the Bodoland People’s Front (BPF) and Left parties.

The authors stated that Congress’s alliance with the ‘Muslim party’ AIUDF not only helped NDA keep Hindu voters firmly on its side but also wean away a small but sizeable chunk of Assamese Muslim voters. While only 8 per cent Bengali Muslims voted for BJP, around 24 per cent Assamese Muslims voted for BJP.

The survey also showed that the persons who looked at Sonowal-led state government's work or Modi-led union government’s work were more likely to vote for NDA (54 per cent and 70 per cent respectively).

On the other hand, those who looked at local MLAs work or something else were more likely to vote for Mahajot (79 and 68 per cent respectively).

The survey also indicated that welfare schemes didn’t have much impact on the election outcome. Close to 48 per cent of the households said they had not benefited from any of them and about 42 per cent said they benefited from a scheme or two.

Among beneficiaries, the NDA enjoyed a comfortable edge but among those left out, it wasn’t left much far behind. Among those not benefitting from any schemes in the last five years, 49 per cent voted for Mahajot and 39 per cent voted for BJP.

Over CAA-NRC issue, the authors also noted that just 3 per cent of respondents mentioned it as the most important issue in the election. Around 30 per cent of respondents mentioned ‘development’ as the key issue.

However, around 63 per cent considered foreigners’ issue important. Even among the opponents of CAA (53 per cent opposed the CAA), NDA grabbed 38 per cent votes. The majority of all communities - Assamese Hindus (75 per cent); Assamese Muslims (72 per cent); Bengali Hindus (52 per cent) and Bengali Muslims (50 per cent) give importance to the foreigners’ issue.

While only 20 per cent respondents supported CAA, the NRC, both in concept and process, was supported significantly by all communities, including Muslims (74 per cent said they agreed with the concept, 56 per cent agreed with the process).


The state that was used to alternating between the Left and the Congress for more than four decades gave the incumbent LDF two-third majority in the recently concluded Assembly elections. The LDF won 99 seats with around 45 per cent vote share (an increase from the last time).

LDF bucking the past trend to emerge victorious gives hope to the Left parties which have been seeing defeat and a declining vote share for quite a while.

Kerala failed to provide Congress what it was desperately hoping for - a pathway for resurgence on national stage; while NDA failed to even open its account. While the BJP’s vote share rose marginally, the vote share of its alliance partner, the Bharath Dharma Jana Sena, fell by 2.8 per cent.

The Lokniti-CSDS post-poll survey found that 51 per cent of the respondents categorically stated that LDF should get a second term, while 27 per cent were of the opposite view.

Over 70 per cent of the respondents expressed satisfaction with the work done by the Pinarayi Vijayan government. The government’s welfare measures also seemed to have increased its popularity.

Around 94 per cent of the respondents reported benefitting from the free food kits distributed by the government and 90 per cent reported being satisfied with the food kits.

The survey also showed that government’s performance in tackling the COVID-19 pandemic was rewarded by the public. More than 70 per cent respondents rated the steps taken by the LDF government as good or very good.

Vijayan remained the preferred chief ministerial choice for 36 per cent of the respondents, and health minister K K Shailaja was placed third in popularity as the CM candidate.

The Opposition had mounted an attack on the CPM-led government over various scams. However, the survey indicated poor awareness about them (despite high literacy levels in the state). The Sabarimala issue was also not given importance by the voters.

More than 50 per cent of the respondents said that there was no need of an alternative to LDF and UDF in the state. Even among those who agreed with the need of an alternative, the vote was almost split equally among the three alliances.

The data shows that 60 per cent respondents were approached by all the three - LDF, UDF and NDA; but LDF had a clear advantage. Among these voters, 44 per cent voted for LDF, 37 per cent voted for the UDF and 16 per cent for the NDA.

The failure of Congress party in projecting strong leadership, a chief-ministerial face, seems to have cost it dearly.

Some scholars see a fundamental change in the nature of the Left party behind the success.

According to Burton Cleetus, Assistant Professor, Centre for Historical Studies, JNU, CPM was able to encroach into the space traditionally considered that of Congress’s by cutting loose its ideological goals.

Generally, the communist parties condemn the traditional democratic party politics as bourgeoisie-supporting and try to follow the Leninist model, wherein, the party and ideological goals are given priority over the government and governance.

Cleetus writes, “The end of the Left Front government in West Bengal and the Left’s subsequent loss of power in Tripura reduced the Polit Bureau, the highest decision-making body of the CPI(M), to a mere shadow of its former self, thereby weakening the hold of the party over the government in Kerala.”

This enabled CPM to become a more traditional welfarist party rather than a communist one working for the revolution.

According to Cleetus, with rising wealth and influx of migrant workers and labourers from other states, the LDF changed its stance in the favour of the aspirational middle class; and “made peace with the Christian church and other powerful social, religious and economic sections of the state, with which it had been in confrontation for more than half a century.”

The party used the two devastating floods and the COVID-19 pandemic to showcase itself as a maai-baap government that was too focussed on providing free feeding centres, ration kits, pensions for the old, etc. to be indulging in class wars.

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