In my earlier article just around the time polling for 2014 Lok Sabha elections went underway, I had highlighted the power of 51% men’s vote, and rebutted the points raised by the Power of 49 women’s vote campaign. I had suggested that most of the points raised are either to do with feminist inspired rhetoric about violence against women etc; or to do with improving infrastructure and such issues, which benefit whole of society and have nothing to do with women as a separate group. If a corporate house wants to sell more tea in name of empowering women, they have all the rights to do so but creating false issues is not the way to do it.
Now that the elections are done, I was intrigued by catching some glimpses on TV and newspaper about large percentage difference in support for Modi as PM, and BJP as a party; between men and women. So I decided to dig deep and do my own analysis.
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BJP/NDA vs. Congress/UPA: Male vs. Female voters divide
According to NDTV’s opinion poll dated Mar 28, 2014, men prefer the BJP to the Congress. Among women voters, the Congress is the preferred choice.
I will do some simple calculations to get more insights into these simple but powerful numbers.
I make an assumption for sake of simplicity that women and men both constituted 50’% of the total voters, which is not unreasonable given 51% and 49 % men and women voters respectively.
So BJP/NDA vote share predicted by this poll: 34% of 50% men + 26% of 50% women = 17 + 13 = 30%
And Congress/UPA vote share predicted by this poll: 28% of 50% men + 25% of 50% women = 14 + 12.5 = 26.5%
Actual polled percentages (source): NDA: 38.5%, UPA: 23%
So the actually polled results are even more in favour of NDA than predicted by the NDTV’s sponsored opinion poll, but it is a matter of speculation whether the higher percentage of actual votes for NDA were because of EVEN MORE of men’s vote shifting to NDA, OR because of some women’s vote switching to NDA after this opinion poll was conducted.
According to above poll, the difference between men and women percentage support for BJP/NDA is 8% (34 – 26) while for Congress/UPA is negative -3% (25 – 28). So there is mild preference among women for Congress/UPA but there is much lesser support (relatively) by women for BJP/NDA.
Post poll survey of men’s vs. women’s vote for Narendra Modi vs. Rahul Gandhi
When it comes to gender, Modi is liked more by the men than the women voters. There is a huge 10 percentage gap between the two. 41 per cent men and 31 per cent women respondents like him and 17 per cent men and 14 per cent women respondents like Rahul Gandhi.
There is again a relatively large difference of 10% in support for Narendra Modi between Indian men and women.
Much has been said and written about vote share based on caste, region, religion, and so on but I haven’t seen any analysis of vote share based on gender. I am more interested in gender based vote because of the disaster that has happened in western countries where welfare driven governments voted by women have showered freebies on women from taxes paid by men (around 70% of taxes).
Do women always prefer Congress/UPA over BJP/NDA
I could find some historical analysis of election data which suggests that BJP was never a preferred political party for Indian women.
As Rajeshwari Deshpande of the University of Pune, after analysing the National Election Studies (NES) data from 1996 to 2009, has pointed out, women are less likely to vote for the BJP. In this respect, the BJP appears to be like conservative parties in other parts of the world. In the US, women are less likely to prefer the Republican party. In the 2012 presidential elections, more women voted for the Democrats whereas more men voted Republican. A similar pattern seems to be taking shape in India.
Men prefer Modi as the prime ministerial candidate even more disproportionately than their preference for the BJP. Among those who favoured Modi as prime minister, 62 per cent were men and 38 per cent were women.
Though from above polls it is clear that in absolute numbers more women have voted for BJP/NDA than Congress/UPA. It is also suggested that women tend to vote for liberal than social conservatives, and I will add: more welfare/freebie-giving parties.
Modi era and women empowerment: Freebies vs. self-reliance model
What is the point of all this analysis for men and protecting men’s rights? The latest news is that Mr Narendra Modi and BJP have given the go ahead to pass the pending 33% women’s reservation bill in Lok Sabha (it is already passed in Rajya Sabha). Any objections from parties like SP, BSP etc about women’s quota among SC/ST etc will probably be accommodated in an amended bill since the momentum and desire to pass the bill is very strong now.
1. What will Modi led government do for Indian men, who pay 82% of the taxes and yet commit suicides at double the rate that of women?
2. What does it mean for the IrBM (Irretrievable Breakdown of Marriage) in Marriage Laws (Amendment) bill, 2013 where Hindu men will have to be ready to give away 50% share of property and alimony too, simply because the wife wants to?
If Modi led BJP passes 33% women’s reservation in parliament, is passing of IrBM into law far behind?
Men who voted for BJP/NDA did not vote for freebies, or free laptops, or free electricity etc but for Narendra Modi because they saw in him someone who can create an environment of self-reliance where someone can work hard will get the opportunities to better his life. They voted for him as BJP/NDA leader with the promise that more jobs and more prosperity will be created, not that you can file divorce on your spouse and lay a claim to 50% of property and alimony too!
That freebie driven model of women empowerment is already working in much of the Western world, with the result that an Obama can get major electoral votes from women, and even among women from single women and single mothers. That maybe the mandate of Obama which he may like to do justice to, but that is not the mandate given by Indian men to Mr Modi and BJP.
It is said by some analysts that Mr Modi has plans to retain power in the next general elections too, thereby making a 10 year rule by BJP/NDA possible.
Will that become possible if NDA government continues to pass anti-men laws which will take away their hard earned property and give it away to unscrupulous wives, in the name of women empowerment?
Should men continue to work hard and contribute 82% of the taxes when they know that the Indian legal system may degenerate into the Western freebies-for-women-and-single-mothers model where there will be no incentive for men anymore to marry and raise a family?
Men (and maybe many women too) voted for Modi even though questions were raised about his own personal life and commitment to his own wife and marriage! This even though Congress spokespersons were seen on national TV (CNN IBN I think) speculating on the possibility of domestic violence in this whole saga. We don’t expect much else from Congress, they are the ones who have been masterminds and force behind bringing laws like PWDVA (DV Act) and later IrBM etc. It is very good for welfare of Indian men that Congress party lost and lost so bad that they may not be able to find a footing for next many years. But the 10 crore Rupee question is: will BJP will do any better than Congress or merely do a lip service to men’s rights?
Men’s conditions to all political parties for future electoral support
1. Don’t pass IrBM in Lok Sabha, and don’t introduce any new laws which reduce men to second class status in families and society.
2. It seems the momentum for 33% women’s reservation bill is strong enough that it’s becoming into a law is a foregone conclusion. All political parties should take responsibility if even after passing such a law, there is no great reduction in poverty, inflation, unemployment etc in next 10 years. Because unless there is distinct possibility of huge improvement, there is no need to pass such earth shaking laws.
3. Make all laws like Hindu Marriage Act, DV Act, Sexual Harassment laws gender neutral and replace the word husband/wife with the word spouse.
4. Abolish laws like IPC 498a which achieve nothing except increasing married men’s suicides, which is not an objective of the law.
If all of above is not done and still 33% women’s reservation bill is passed into law, then we can be sure that India is moving towards a confirmed gynocentric model in politics and government, supported by matriarchal model in families where men are reduced to sperm donors and ATM machines who can be switched for a better ‘model’ when the wives feel like so. Whether all this will happen under rule of a supposedly traditional and family-friendly party remains to be seen.