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

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Warning Bells

The recent elections indicate a deep-seated disaffection towards the Congress Party.

Over the past few years, results to state assembly elections in India have typically reflected local and regional factors rather than the national. However, in the recent assembly elections, the Congress Party’s extremely poor performance (barring the victory in Mizoram), irrespective of whether it was in power (Rajasthan and Delhi) or in the opposition (Madhya Pradesh (MP) and Chhattisgarh), suggests that national factors dominated voter choice. It has been clear for a while that the United Progressive Alliance government in the centre has become very unpopular.

A close look indicates that factors specific to each state also had a significant bearing on the result. In Delhi the fledgling Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) emerged as a new alternative to the established parties. The Congress (eight seats and a 24% vote share, 10 percentage points less than in 2008) was thoroughly defeated, but the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) too suffered an erosion in vote share, even as it emerged as the single largest party with 31 seats and 32% of the votes. With no party crossing the halfway mark of 35, Delhi ended up with a hung assembly.

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