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

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Changing Social Equations

Maharashtra Legislative Assembly Elections 2019

Despite the Bharatiya Janata Party’s conscious efforts to colour the state election campaign with national-level issues such as Article 370, or invoke the popular welfare schemes throughout the campaign in order to turn the beneficiaries into its loyal vote bank, it did not gain as much traction this time as it did in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. The election results have shown that caste still continues to remain one of the significant factors at the level of local politics. The role of caste and shifting social bases of the political parties in this election can be analysed with specific focus on the consolidation of Maratha votes and shifts in the voting patterns of the Other Backward Classes.

The recent dramatic developments in Maharashtra, leading to the rather disgraceful exit of Devendra Fadnavis in his very brief tenure as the second time chief minister and the establishment of a government by the seemingly unlikely alliance of the Shiv Sena, Congress and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) in the form of Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) provide a gripping background to the present analysis of the reasons behind the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) failure to achieve the expected success in the 2019 assembly elections.

The 2019 assembly elections in Maharashtra are very significant, not only because of a somewhat unexpected mandate that it threw and the resultant political drama in its aftermath, but also because of the intriguing shifts in social bases of the political parties that can be observed through the results. Barring a few exceptions, the analysis of these underlying shifts has largely remained absent from the scholarly discussions of the elections results. The scholarly discussions have, by and large, revolved around factors such as low turnout of the voters, vote share of parties, role of smaller parties such as Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi (VBA) and All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen, the role of turncoats and rebels, the role of the none of the above option, and importance of local players/local issues such as farm distress rather than national issues, etc (Verniers 2019; Dhaval 2019; Akshay 2019).

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Updated On : 30th Dec, 2019

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