TCPD Columns

What does the recent increase in participation of women voters mean for BJP?

With the 2022 Assembly Elections showing a shift in votes received by different parties, an insight into the demographic of these voters is pivotal. The states of Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh and Goa had witnessed a historic turnout of women voters in their respective 2017 assembly elections, where the BJP formed the government in all three states. Recent political commentary and qualitative findings have underscored the importance of attracting the women demographic, in turn reflecting in the campaigning strategies of most parties in the 2022 Assembly elections. These events necessitate citizens to ask an integral question: Did the high turnout of women voters have an impact on the votes obtained by BJP?

BJP’s attempts to target the demographic of women voters

There has been a disadvantage for BJP among women voters for decades. Rahul Verma and Pradeep Chibber, in their piece for Indian Express in 2014, have shown that BJP’s voter base has largely been male dominated, with the party drawing support from 58% men. With the elections witnessing greater participation by women, in some cases voter turnout being more than men, BJP has now strategized to appeal to women voters. After a sweeping victory in the 2014 general elections, BJP has launched a myriad of socio-economic schemes for women like Ujjawala Yojana, Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, Beti Bachao Beti Padhao, Matri Vandana programmes etc. However, these endeavors have still largely been unsuccessful in helping BJP consolidate the votes of women.

Women Voter Turnout in Goa, Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh 


With 40 seats to contest for in the Vidhan Sabha, the percentage of women who voted in the 2012 election were 70.3% while the turnout of male voters in that same year was 69.7% (Fig.1). While the gap between male and female voters was not significant it was the first time, in 2012, that Goa witnessed a higher turnout in women voters. In 2017 the gap between male and female voters increased by 5.71 (Fig.1) percentage points. However, the vote share of BJP in the same year saw a decline of 2.2 percentage points compared to 2012 (Fig.2).  


Source: TCPD Lok Dhaba

Fig.2 Vote share of BJP for all seats was recorded at 32.48% (2.2 percentage points lower than vote share percentage recorded in 2012)

Source: TCPD Lok Dhaba


There has been a consistent trend of rise in female voter turnout in Uttarakhand, with the last three elections witnessing women outvoting men. In the previous assembly elections of 2017, female voter turnout stood at 69.34%.  Similarly the BJP vote share witnessed an increase of 13.38 percentage points in Uttarakhand (Fig.2).


Source: TCPD Lok Dhaba

Fig.4 Vote share of BJP for all seats was recorded at 46.51% (13.38 percentage points higher than vote share percentage recorded in 2012)

Source: TCPD Lok Dhaba

Uttar Pradesh

In most of the elections here, women turnout stagnated at the 40-45% mark, but in the last two elections of 2012 and 2017, women voters came out in large numbers, breaching the 60% mark and outvoting men. BJP witnessed a drastic increase of 24.67 percentage points in its vote share percentage between 2012 and 2017. 


Source: TCPD Lok Dhaba

Fig.6 Vote share of BJP for all seats was recorded at 39.67% ( 24.67 percentage points higher than vote share percentage recorded in 2012)

Source: TCPD Lok Dhaba

From the varying results inferred above can we deduce if there is a correlation between high women voter turnout and the performance of BJP?

In order to attempt answering this question, we first proceeded to determine whether there is any historically statistically significant relationship between female voter turnout and BJP’s performance in the Assembly elections, in terms of vote share. We conducted a Pearson’s correlation test in order to test this relationship. For a statistically significant relationship to exist between the variables, the p-value has to be 0.05 or less, but in the three cases of Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Goa, however, we find that the p-value exceeds 0.05 on all three occasions.

Fig. 7. Correlation data for Uttar Pradesh

Fig.8. Correlation data for Uttarakhand

Fig. 9. Correlation data for Goa

What do we understand? 

We have shown that there has been no correlation between high women turnout and BJP’s performance in recent years. In addition, an analysis of the data for 389 out of 403 seats by the Election Commission for the 2017 UP assembly elections, by the TNN showcases that in 87 seats, where the number of women voters were between 90% to 100% of men voters, the vote share of the NDA had taken a dip. Rajeshwari Deshpande, whilst analyzing the NES data of Lokniti-CSDS group till the 2019 General Elections, showcases that the gender gap persists despite BJP being able to successfully neutralize and converge across the class, caste and educational divide. This considerably implies that BJP still has a long way to go when it comes to appealing to women voters.


Deshpande, Rajeshwari. “Gender Wise Politics: To What Extent Did Women’s Vote Contribute to the BJP’s Spectacular Victory?” Times of India Blog, 17 July 2019, 

Lok Dhaba, 

TNN. “BSP a Bit More Popular than BJP among Women Voters: Uttar-Pradesh Election News-Times of India.” The Times of India, TOI, 15 Mar. 2017, 

Verma, Rahul, and Pradeep Chhibber. “BJP Has a Gender Problem.” The Indian Express, 15 May 2014, 


Neha Sheik is a second year undergraduate student at Ashoka University. She is pursuing a major in Political Science and a minor in Environmental Studies. 

Debendra Sanyal is a third-year undergraduate student at Ashoka University. He is pursuing a major in Political Science and a minor in International Relations.

Pratul Chaturvedi is a third year UG student at Ashoka University. He is pursuing an interdisciplinary major in History and International Relations along with a minor in Political Science.


We would like to thank Professor Rahul Verma for his feedback on our work and his constant support and encouragement. We would also like to thank Vaibhav Parik for his continued help.