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

National Election Study 2009Subscribe to National Election Study 2009

Electoral Participation among the Adivasi Community

Discussing the variations in electoral participation and party preferences of adivasis, a subject that has received scant attention so far, this article points out that it is erroneous to treat the adivasi vote as a homogeneous block. As with other communities, adivasis also display a remarkable heterogeneity in their voter turnout and party preferences. Focusing on adivasis in the north-east and central India, it examines regional differences in the adivasi voter turnout and their changing party preferences since the 2004 election.

The Economy and Voting in the 15th Lok Sabha Elections

This examination of the effect of both "national" and "personal" conditions in the economy on voting decisions in the 2009 Lok Sabha elections demonstrates that the perceptions of people on economic issues do matter in deciding whom they vote for. A vote for the incumbent party depends on the well-being of the national economy as well as the individual household. Voting decisions are based on retrospective evaluations of the economic condition. Expectations of the economy in the future did not show a significant effect on voting decisions. While both national and personal considerations have an effect on voting, the latter seem to matter more to Indian voters than the former. An implication of these findings is that political parties cannot afford to be indifferent to the economic perceptions of voters.

Fifth Victory in a Row for CPI(M) in Tripura

The Communist Party of India (Marxist) won both the Lok Sabha seats in Tripura by handsome margins for the fifth consecutive time. The party has a distinct social character and support among all sections of the state's population unlike its nearest rival, the Congress, which has not been able to project itself as a viable alternative. Yet, there are clouds on the CPI(M)'s horizon with the issues of Bengali migration and alienation of tribal lands becoming important, and the emergence of insurgent groups highlighting the welfare of the indigenous people.

On the Electoral Process

Two highlights of the 2009 Lok Sabha election were that it was held following a fresh delimitation of constituencies and that it involved the use of photo electoral rolls. A great many professed faith in the necessity of elections and the value of their vote, but many also expressed distrust of their elected representatives and supported the idea of being governed by experts not answerable to elected representatives. This dichotomy could be an expression of voters' frustration but nevertheless is a cause for concern.

Jharkhand: Politics of Performance

While the BJP was victorious in terms of the seats won in the 2009 Lok Sabha elections in Jharkhand, its vote share was less than in 2004. The Congress and the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha, separately or together, however, seem incapable of winning the state and the entry of Babulal Marandi's Jan Vikash Morcha has further fragmented the political scene. With a Lokniti-Centre for the Study of Developing Societies survey revealing that respondents find the BJP best placed to handle the state's issues but rate Marandi, who has split from the BJP, as the best choice for the chief minister, the forthcoming assembly elections promise to be interesting.

Delhi Elections - The 'Local' Matters

The Congress decisively won all seven seats in Delhi in the May 2009 Lok Sabha poll with almost all sections of the population supporting it. Its clean leadership, and its strategy of bringing competing local identities into its fold contributed to its popularity. The Bharatiya Janata Party, paid the price for not having a coherent or effective strategy to match that of the Congress, while the Bahujan Samaj Party came nowhere near staging an upset.

Andhra Pradesh: A Vote for Status Quo?

The second consecutive victory of the Congress Party in the 2009 parliamentary and assembly elections in Andhra Pradesh does not mean that the political situation in the state is stable or that the status quo will continue undisturbed. Voters did not hand out a big victory to the Congress government, but gave it a second term with a reduced vote and slender majority in the assembly. The fragmentation of the two-party system into a truer multiparty system and the entry of new players were the primary reasons for the outcome. The victory for the Congress can even be interpreted as an opportunity for introspection by the defeated parties with the election results turning out to be an occasion not for dejection, but one of hope.

Political Communalisation of Religions and the Crisis of Secularism

The Indian state has managed the asymmetrical relationships in a hierarchical, multi-ethnic and multi-religious society by redefining, institutionally and legally, the relationship among communities, and between them and the state in the terms of secularism. This recognised the basic rights of individuals as citizens and their collectively held cultural rights as members of communities. However, this framework has now been replaced by a new form of pluralist discourse that totalises interests and community identities, and this has resulted in a battle between majoritarian and minoritarian communalism. The Congress-led coalition's victory in the 2009 Lok Sabha poll has given it a second chance after 2004 to restore the secularisation process by shifting the focus of the development discourse from communality to the backwardness of groups, which has remained submerged within every community of faith.

Haryana: Congress Retains Its Electoral Supremacy

In every election since the creation of Haryana, the ruling party has been defeated, but this time around there has been a reversal of this anti-incumbency trend. State-level factors played a far more important role than national-level issues in deciding the outcome in the 2009 Lok Sabha election. The Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda factor was in large measure responsible for this tilt as the people had not forgotten the ills of the previous O P Chautala government.

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.

Naveen Patnaik Authors a New Chapter for Orissa

Breaking off its long partnership with the Bharatiya Janata Party, the Biju Janata Dal and its new allies won both the Lok Sabha and assembly elections held in Orissa in April 2009. The Congress proved too inept to take advantage of the changed political scenario, while the BJP found itself pushed out of the picture. A major factor that contributed to the BJD victory was Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik's personal popularity. Added to the party's reasonable performance in power, this prompted the state's electorate to once again buck the anti-incumbency trend and re-elect the ruling party with an expanded majority.

Himachal Pradesh: Pro-Incumbency Helps the BJP

Factionalism in the state Congress and a positive appraisal of the two-year old Prem Kumar Dhumal-led government in Himachal Pradesh helped the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party garner three out of the four Lok Sabha seats in the state. The privileging of local/state level issues over the national also helped ensure the BJP buck its national trend.

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