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

Political Preferences in Kerala by K G Krishnamurthi and G Laksh- mana Rao; Radhakrishna Prakashan, Delhi, 1968; pp 99, Rs 12. THAT the Communist party is suffering some erosion in its support structure in Kerala whereas the Congress has been making gains is not new information. Both scholarly and journalistic impressions have confirmed this trend. (See, for instance, "Communist and Congress Prospects in Kerala" by Bashiruddin Ahmed in "Party Systems and Election Studies", Centre for Developing Studies, Occasional Papers, No 1, pp 243-258.) But such quantitative questions as "how much?" "where?" "whose support?" are not often tackled by social scientists in India. While it is true that there are quite a number of studies at district levels, enough information is not available yet for making macro generalisations at State levels. Krishna- murthi and Rao's contribution in the work under review is significant in this context FORMIDABLE OBSTACLES The Indian "data bank" for electoral preferences does not lend itself to easy manipulation for arriving at quantitative answers. Changes in the delimitation of constituencies, both at the State and the national level, lack of published data on voter turn-out by polling booths, unstable political alliances, fissiparous tendencies within the dominant political parties resulting in the emergence of rebel parties, are some of the formidable obstacles which must be overcome for assessing changes in political preferences in quantitative terms. The sociologically trained authors tackled these obstacles typically in the manner of their profession: They searched for ways and means by which meaningful relationships could be posited between political preferences and sets of other social-demographic attributes of the Keralan polity. The attributes finally selected for study were the size of the community (rather than the degree of urbanisation), the labour-cultivator ratio (i e, the ratio between those who own their land and those who work as hired labourers), and the party/ candidate

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