ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

Articles By K C Suri

Emergence of BJP’s Dominance and Its Durability

The rise of the BJP to political dominance is the result of multiple factors that are external and internal to the party. The decay and decline of the once-dominant Congress and regional parties and the failure of the non-Congress non-BJP parties to forge stable governments are the external ones. BJP’s innovative political strategy to adapt itself to the changing times and the popularity of Narendra Modi are the internal ones. Therefore, the durability of the BJP’s dominance depends on how these factors take further shape. Will the BJP accommodate the rising aspirations of backward social groups for social justice and to have their due place in the leadership echelons of the party and also not upset the delicate balance between the imperatives of social welfare and economic growth? Will the non-BJP parties cease to be family fiefdoms of autocratic leaders and a network of power-hungry and greedy political entrepreneurs and emerge as a credible alternative to the BJP?

 

Uncertain Verdict: The 2010 Federal Elections in Australia

The Australian federal elections held in August 2010 delivered a hung parliament, with the incumbent Australian Labor Party having to depend on independents and the Green Party to stay in power. A close reading of the election results reveals the lack of substantive, issue-based differences between the Labor and Liberal parties. A trend towards a transition to a multiparty system is also noticed.

Andhra Pradesh: A Vote for Status Quo?

The second consecutive victory of the Congress Party in the 2009 parliamentary and assembly elections in Andhra Pradesh does not mean that the political situation in the state is stable or that the status quo will continue undisturbed. Voters did not hand out a big victory to the Congress government, but gave it a second term with a reduced vote and slender majority in the assembly. The fragmentation of the two-party system into a truer multiparty system and the entry of new players were the primary reasons for the outcome. The victory for the Congress can even be interpreted as an opportunity for introspection by the defeated parties with the election results turning out to be an occasion not for dejection, but one of hope.

The Economy and Voting in the 15th Lok Sabha Elections

This examination of the effect of both "national" and "personal" conditions in the economy on voting decisions in the 2009 Lok Sabha elections demonstrates that the perceptions of people on economic issues do matter in deciding whom they vote for. A vote for the incumbent party depends on the well-being of the national economy as well as the individual household. Voting decisions are based on retrospective evaluations of the economic condition. Expectations of the economy in the future did not show a significant effect on voting decisions. While both national and personal considerations have an effect on voting, the latter seem to matter more to Indian voters than the former. An implication of these findings is that political parties cannot afford to be indifferent to the economic perceptions of voters.

Political Economy of Agrarian Distress

The reasons for agrarian distress in India lie in the conjunction of the changing nature of agriculture and democratic politics. With cultivation becoming an unrewarding occupation, the growing disparities of wealth between the rural and urban areas, the inability of farmers to unite and bring pressure on the governments and a disjuncture between the interests of the farmers and those of the political representatives, have all led to the neglect of agriculture and deterioration in the condition of farmers.

Dimensions of Agrarian Distress in Andhra Pradesh

Indebtedness is not new to rural Andhra Pradesh, while suicides due to indebtedness are. What forces farmers to take their lives is not the amount of debt per se, but the changed nature of agriculture involving high costs and low or negative returns. The changed nature of politics has largely removed the farmers from the policy arena and led to their increasing immiserisation.