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

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Leadership in Context

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 elections in India. The effect of the leadership issue needs to be viewed in the context of a United Progressive Alliance government that was on the defensive and a Congress leadership that looked ineffective and directionless. These added weight to the BJP's projection of Narendra Modi as a decisive, effective and experienced leader.

Karnataka: A Default Win for the BJP

The Bharatiya Janata Party's rise in Karnataka politics is a clear reflection of the inability of the Congress to present a credible alternative and the incapacity of the Janata Dal (Secular) to garner state-wide support. The BJP's win, despite bucking a national trend, masks the relative disapproval of its governance in the state.

Leadership at the State Level Mattered

A post-poll survey of the National Election Study 2009 reveals that no single national leader managed to either catch the imagination of more than 20% of the respondents or drive voting preferences in the Lok Sabha election of 2009. The limited impact of the leadership factor in this election was not only seen in the lower intensity with which party supporters backed their projected leaders, but also in the perception of those who supported the Congress and Bharatiya Janata Party alliances. This points to the states and the leadership therein as crucial factors that determined the poll outcome. Data shows the issues that define and determine voter choice even in a parliamentary election are those relevant and specific to a particular state.

Karnataka: The Lotus Blooms...Nearly

The Bharatiya Janata Party pulled off an impressive win in Karnataka in the May 2008 election though in the initial outcome it was two short of a majority in the assembly. The party was helped to its first triumph in south India by nonstop squabbling in the Congress among its many leaders and an erosion in the support base of the Janata Dal (Secular).

Karnataka : Simultaneous Polls, Different Results

The simultaneous Lok Sabha and assembly elections in Karnataka reveal an interesting duality of trends. While there was a clear vote in favour of the ruling NDA alliance in the centre, the anti-Congress vote in the state was split between the BJP and the Janata Dal (S). With the strong showing of the Janata Dal (S) in the state polls, it is clear that the earlier dominance of the two-party system in the state is moving towards a competitive multipolarity. In turn, this current phase may well form only a transitory phase as the state moves towards a new bipolarity.

Lok Shakti in Karnataka

This paper attempts to locate the two-year old party, the Lok Shakti within the broader framework of Karnataka's electoral politics. The state electorate has largely not favoured regional parties, either in the Lok Sabha or in the assembly elections. Karnataka's electoral politics has mostly witnessed a bipolar competition between two major national parties/alliances, thus squeezing the third force out of the competition. The limited success of Ramakrishna Hegde's Lok Shakti can therefore be linked to its being part of an alliance that was seen as a major player in the bipolar competition.

KARNATAKA-Emergence of Third Force

Emergence of 'Third Force' Sandeep Shastri A significant aspect of the 1994 assembly elections in Karnataka was that they revealed the emergence, for the first time, of a competitive party system in the state. Ever since 1972, assembly elections had witnessed a contest involving two major political parties. The third force which was represented by a different formation in each election had failed to register its presence save marginally in 1983. Nevertheless, even though the BJP emerged as the principal opposition party in the assembly in 1994 the overall performance of the Congress was, relatively, much better. The surprise of the elections, however, was the victory of the Janata Dal.
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