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

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Evidence on Declining Participation and a Hypothesis

Indian Assembly Elections, 1977-2002

A sharp trend-break in participation (as measured by turnout rates as well as number of candidates contesting) in state assembly elections in India, starting in the mid-1990s is noticed as one studies electoral constituency level data spanning the period 1977-2002. Specifi cally, it is found that turnout rates as well as the number of contesting candidates declined sharply starting in 1993 and this trend continued till 2002 (the end point of the data studied). There is suggestive evidence that this trend-break coincided with a sharp uptick in the correlation between male and female rates of electoral participation. The formal devolution of powers to panchayati raj institutions starting in 1993 may explain these fi ndings in the data.

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