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

National Election Study 2009Subscribe to National Election Study 2009

Urban Patterns of Voting and Party Choices

A perusal of urban voting trends in the NES 2009 survey hints at the weakening of the urban voter base of the Bharatiya Janata Party. Many among the urban poor prefer the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance, while the BJP has lost support even among the urban middle classes.

Are National Elections Any More Than Aggregations of State-Level Verdicts?

Mining data from the National Election Study, this paper cites evidence to show that the perception of the central government mattered for those who voted for the United Progressive Alliance, but not for those who voted for the National Democratic Alliance or other parties. It says that the vote for the upa was mostly independent of a voter's perception of the performance of his or her state government. In addition, even after controlling for state-specific factors there were some political cleavages that influenced the vote for the upa and the nda. This suggests that national factors did have an influence on the vote for the 2009 Lok Sabha elections though state-level factors continued to be important.

Mizoram: The Congress Holds Its Ground

In the elections to the lone seat in the Lok Sabha from Mizoram, the Congress continued to enjoy the support that helped it win in the December 2008 assembly elections. Voters privileged the performance of the state government rather than that in the centre while choosing their representative from Mizoram.

Meghalaya: Verdict on Expected Lines

The results of the 15th Lok Sabha elections in the two parliamentary constituencies of Meghalaya were on expected lines - with the Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party retaining their zones of influence. The margins of victory however threw a few surprises - with the NCP candidate in Tura winning by a small margin, compared to the emphatic win scored by the Congress candidate in Shillong.

Bihar: Development Matters

The robust victory of the ruling Janata Dal (United)-Bharatiya Janata Party combine in Bihar owes much to the developmental policies adopted by the Nitish Kumar-led government. That said, the victory was also made possible because of the shrewd use of community and caste-based support by the alliance, which the divided opposition could not achieve.

Nagaland: Behind the Curtain

The Nagaland People's Front won the lone Lok Sabha seat in the state, defeating prominent Congress and Trinamool Congress rivals. It was, in a sense, an endorsement for Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio's Eastern Nagaland policy that the electorate gave weight to the performance of the regional party when voting for its representative from the state. However, all is not well with the democratic process in Nagaland, where village councils and other local bodies flex their muscles to ensure votes go to candidates of their choice.

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.

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