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

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India's 2014 Lok Sabha Elections

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.

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.

A Decentralisation Success Story?

Success Story? Decentralisd Administration and Participatory Planning in Kerala by Jose George; Himalaya Publishing House, Mumbai, K C SURI In recent years, there has been a tremendous revival of interest in decentralised government in developing countries. This was partly motivated by the new paradigms of governance, democracy and development that came to dominate much social science research in the wake of the collapse of the socialist and welfare states in Europe. The supporters of globalisation and liberalisation laid greater stress on the twin tasks of downsizing the centralised states in developing countries such as India, which had hitherto largely followed the path of development through centralised planning, state capitalism and administering welfare, and promoting participatory planning and empowerment of people at the local level. Decentralised government was considered a necessary means to promote democracy and development in these countries. This new thinking motivated new drives in decentralisation, as was evident in the passage in India of the 73rd and 74th constitutional amendments and their energetic implementation in several states, as well as a plethora of research reports

Andhra Pradesh : Fall of the CEO in Arena of Democracy

Chandrababu Naidu, the man considered to be the darling of the media, corporate world and global funding agencies was, however, regarded by many in his state as following economic policies dictated by international financial organisations, which benefited the neo-rich while failing to improve the lot of the poor. Besides, the formidable alliance lined up by the Congress and its ability to exploit the dissatisfaction with the government also helped it to win by huge margins. Now that the TDP is gone, the question in the minds of many is whether the policies pursued by the government would undergo any substantial change under the Congress, which has declared that it is committed to economic reforms.

Democracy, Economic Reforms and Election Results in India

The NES data does not enable us to establish causal relations between the impact of reforms and voting behaviour, or arrive at conclusions on what people feel about economic reforms. But the survey provides us with some insights into Indian political economy and focuses our attention on some of the basic issues, tensions and dilemmas in Indian democracy. The aggregate data of the NES on economy-related matters give us a feeling that India is a nation divided and ambivalent as to the path it should take for its development. It shows that there is no consensus on economic reforms, even among middle and upper classes. Opinions are divided across classes, castes, occupations, and locations.

Telugu Desam Party

The Telugu Desam Party's continued success lies in its ability to manage its relations with the centre, its image as an upholder of Telugu pride and its commitment to development. But in 2004, with an election scenario characterised by the absence of any definitive issue, the outcome would depend on how the TDP conducts its campaign and its ability to mobilise voters among its traditional support base. It would also depend largely on how the neutral and floating voters decide to vote as electoral campaigning ends because vote shares between the Congress and the TDP have always been very narrow.

Andhra Pradesh : Setback for TDP in Panchayat Elections

The results of the panchayat elections in Andhra Pradesh reflect the highly polarised political situation in the state. No immediate shift in voting patterns has been observed, and though the TDP lost a number of seats, it did not see a major decline in its vote share. The elections however, mark a rejuvenation of Congress' fortunes, which the TDP will find hard to confront given its several internal dilemmas and contradictions.
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