India's 2014 Lok Sabha Elections

Critical Shifts in the Long Term, Caution in the Short Term

A clear majority for the Bharatiya Janata Party in the Lok Sabha and its spread across most states in the 2014 general elections marks a departure from the electoral outcomes of almost a quarter century. The BJP's success was made possible, among other factors, due to its electoral strategy of reinventing social engineering in what may be termed as its second transformation. As a result, it secured significant support among the Other Backward Classes as well as scheduled caste and scheduled tribe voters to gain a winning edge. Besides this, its promise of development and the projection of Modi as a strong and decisive leader attracted support among the lower and middle classes. This will have far-reaching implications to the structure of party competition in the coming years and shape the post-Congress polity. However, enthusiastic over-readings of the mandate would pose a challenge to the BJP even as it searches for ways to entrench itself as a dominant national party in India.

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

In this paper, we propose to reconcile the controversial debate on Muslim "vote banks" in India by shifting the spatial focus from statewide assessments to the level of constituencies. With 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 Bharatiya Janata Party 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 pattern by looking at the moderating impact of minority concentration, violent communal history, and ethnic coordination and conclude with a call for more disaggregated research.

Insight

Global warming and changing rainfall patterns have resulted in shifts or extensions in species' range in every terrain, region and ecosystem in India. If it is indicative of a wider unfolding process related to climate change, it would...

Commentary

The first 100 days of the Narendra Modi government which have been celebrated by the mainstream media saw what can only be called a widespread and large-scale assault on rules, laws and institutions meant to protect the environment, and more is...

Editorials

Neorealists on both sides have yet again constrained India-China relations within the old rules of the game.

Commentary

The political agitations led by Imran Khan and Tahir-ul-Qadri in Pakistan for the past few weeks had been billed as inquilab for a "Naya Pakistan". Even though they did not, and could not have lived up to their promise of revolutionary...

Commentary

Most countries have demonstrated some success in responding to disasters. Does it imply that as a species we have learnt how to handle disasters, and that disaster risk management has finally come of age? As discussions on the formulation of the...

Commentary

Does popular understanding of disaster lead the idea of disaster management prevention and mitigation in the field? How does it differ in cases of flash and recurrent disaster? Is there any need to change either plan or strategy to mitigate the...

National Election Study 2014 / Special Issues

In the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, the Bharatiya Janata Party put together an unprecedented social coalition: in addition to the upper castes and Other Backward Classes, it received support from the scheduled tribes and scheduled castes. We argue...

National Election Study 2014 / Special Issues

The Congress Party's defeat in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections reflected not just its failure to retain its vote shares of the previous polls in 2004 and 2009, but also the lack of a clear social profile of its voters. Most social sections had...

National Election Study 2014 / Special Issues

This paper attempts to explain why some regional parties flourished and others fizzled out in the 16th general elections to the Lok Sabha. To explain this variation, it makes a distinction between regionally-located parties and regionalist...

National Election Study 2014 / Special Issues

How did the middle- and upp er-middle-class voters vote in the 2014 elections? Apart from purely numerical effects, the middle class is electorally more impactful relative to its size because of its human capital and opinion-shaping character....

National Election Study 2014 / Special Issues

The 2014 Lok Sabha elections saw an effort by the Bharatiya Janata Party to project leadership as a key strategy in its campaign. The response of the electorate provided important indications of the effect of leadership on the outcome of...

National Election Study 2014 / Special Issues

Analysing the National Election Study data from 1996 to 2014, this paper examines the effect of media exposure on Indian elections to reach four main conclusions. First, in the last two decades, Indian electorates have been more exposed to the...

Editorials

Where is the current foreign portfolio investment rush leading the Indian economy to?

Editorials

Will Scotland's failed push for independence lead to fundamental change in the UK?

Book Reviews

Growth or Development; Which Way Is Gujarat Going? edited by Indira Hirway, Amita Shah and Ghanshyam Shah (New Delhi: Oxford University Press), 2014; pp 608, Rs 1,395.

Book Reviews

Poverty amidst Prosperity: Essays on the Trajectory of Development in Gujarat edited by Atul Sood (New Delhi: Aakar Books), 2012; pp 283, Rs 595.

Special Articles

In the clash between austerity and Keynesian stimulus paradigms in the advanced capitalist economies in general and the United Kingdom in particular, this paper argues that in the era of global climate change and global warming, merely proposing...

Special Articles

With the machine tool industry as the reference point, this paper builds a vintage model to demonstrate that the economic lifespan of machines is inversely related to the rate of technological progress. Further, the rate of technical progress in...

Notes

The proposed Rangarajan method on measurement of poverty in India borrows elements from three earlier methods - those of Alagh, Lakdawala and Tendulkar. An important departure in the Rangarajan method is to compute the poverty line commodity...

Commentary

U R Ananthamurthy was a writer, public intellectual, a philosopher, a keeper of public conscience and much more. The complexity of Ananthamurthy was that he belonged to multiple worlds and was a critical insider in all of them.

Discussion

S S Sangwan's (EPW, 26 July 2014) refutation of the Nachiket Mor Committee report, based on a survey in rural Punjab which fi nds that rural residents prefer commercial banks to regional banks, is contested here. It is argued here that...