Spatial Variation in the "Muslim Vote" in Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh, 2014

  • Raphael Susewind (Autor/in)
  • Raheel Dhattiwala (Autor/in)

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In this paper, we propose to reconcile the controversial debate on Muslim “vote banks” in India by shifting the spatial focus from state-wide assessments to the level of constituencies. Taking the example of Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh in the 2014 general elections, and using an innovative booth-level ecological inference model, we show that Muslims might indeed vote en bloc for or against certain parties, but they tend to do so in a much more localised way than previously assumed. While public Muslim support for the BJP did not translate into electoral support in most places, there are important exceptions to this trend – and at least in the case of Uttar Pradesh, their support for competing parties followed a fairly complex spatial pattern. We further explore this spatial variation in Muslim vote patterns by looking at the moderating impact of minority concentration, violent communal history, and ethnic co-ordination and conclude with a call for more disaggregated research.