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Madhya Pradesh poll closest so far in the country

The closest elections before this were in Chhattisgarh, where the difference in vote share in 2013 was 0.7%, and in Karnataka in 2008, when the gap between the Congress and the BJP was 0.8% (Congress had a vote share of 34.76% and BJP 33.86%).

, ET Bureau|
Dec 13, 2018, 08.38 AM IST
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BCCL
Madhya-Pradesh-BCCL
While the Congress got 40.9% of the votes polled, the BJP secured 41% votes even as it won five fewer seats, according to the final statistics of the Election Commission.
NEW DELHI: The cliffhanger in Madhya Pradesh ended with the closest election in India so far and a rare instance of a party with 0.1% lower vote share getting to form the government.

While the Congress got 40.9% of the votes polled, the BJP secured 41% votes even as it won five fewer seats, according to the final statistics of the Election Commission.

“We can safely call it the tightest of tight elections,” said Sanjay Kumar, director, Centre for the Study of Developing Societies. “The vote share difference is just 0.1%. In a large state like MP, which has 230 Assembly constituencies, such a tight fight has not happened.”

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The closest elections before this were in Chhattisgarh, where the difference in vote share in 2013 was 0.7%, and in Karnataka in 2008, when the gap between the Congress and the BJP was 0.8% (Congress had a vote share of 34.76% and BJP 33.86%). Chhattisgarh also saw a close election in 2008, when the difference in vote share was just 1.2%.

Analysts said the Congress getting to form the government with a lower vote share is a rare occurrence. “It is not unprecedented but it clearly reflects that any party which has more evenly distributed vote share across seats wins more number of seats,” said analyst and politician Yogendra Yadav. “Lately, we have seen that BJP wins urban seats with a huge margin, making its vote share higher. But that does not necessarily translate into a higher number of total seats.”

Karnataka’s 2008 election is a case in point. The BJP had then won more seats than the Congress despite getting fewer votes and formed the government. “In Karnataka, the votes polled for BJP were almost similar in most seats, so it won in moderation across the state. This time in Madhya Pradesh, the margins across seats are similar – they are tight, so the vote shares and seat tallies are almost similar.”

In 2011 election in Kerala, a similar scenario had emerged when the CPI (M) had a bigger vote share of 28.18% than the Congress’ 26.4%, but it was the Congress-led United Democratic Front that formed the government. This case was different though, according to pollsters, as the CPI (M) had a larger vote share and higher number of seats than the Congress. In MP, the Congress has a lower vote share but higher number of seats.

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