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

National Election Study 2009Subscribe to National Election Study 2009

Gujarat: BJP Scrapes Through

The repeated re-election of the Bharatiya Janata Party in the state assembly election and the repeated refusal of the voters to reject the Congress in the Lok Sabha election indicate the split voting pattern in Gujarat and the regional character of BJP. However, during the Lok Sabha elections 2009, in the absence of any strong wave or emotional mobilisation, "normal politics" came into play. Caste equations and their support to political parties became the key factors deciding the fate of parties.

Assam: A Fractured Verdict

This article attempts to look at the social pattern of voting in Assam by analysing the verdict of the 2009 Lok Sabha elections in the state. The social pattern reflects a significant transformation in the alignment of social groups displaying a deep-rooted fractured politics with almost every community asserting its identity. Ideology seemed to have taken a back seat as political parties opted for statelevel alliances with the intent of bolstering individual seat tallies.

Alliances and Lessons of Election 2009

Analysing the peculiar nature of alliances in the April-May 2009 Lok Sabha elections, this study points out that a major change was wrought by the Congress opting to abandon its national alliance in favour of state-level agreements. The new delimitation gave the Congress an opportunity to redraw the lines and break out of the corner that it had been boxed into by its coalition partners. Further, unlike 2004, all parties hedged their bets, waiting for post-election negotiations, and both the major groupings announced no common programme. Another notable feature was the high proportion of seats in which a split in votes by a third candidate decided the winner. Added to the prominent role played by many state and regional parties, all this seems to indicate that coalition politics is here to stay.

Dalits Voting Patterns

Data from the National Election Study 2009 for voting patterns among the dalit community across the country indicate that the dalit vote is not homogeneously favourable to any one particular political outfit. Instead the dalit vote is determined by the nature and dynamics of the political party system in constituencies of most states.

Maharashtra: Congress-NCP Manages Victory

A changing party system, fragmentation of social blocs, arrival of caste-based identity politics and material frustrations leading to the formation of several rebel groups within the various political parties - all these helped the Congress-Nationalist Congress Party combine record a default win in the Lok Sabha elections in Maharashtra. This was achieved despite a mixed opinion on the state government's track record. The alliance has its task cut out for the upcoming assembly elections in the state and no longer can traditional bases of support be counted upon, especially by the Congress Party.

Manipur: Congress Triumphant

The Congress pulled off victories in both the Lok Sabha seats in Manipur, a feat it had last accomplished in 1996. Territorial integrity of the state, insurgency, human rights and repeal of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958 were the major campaign issues. A pro-Congress sentiment is widespread in the state as is the opinion that the Naga-dominated areas should not be separated from it. The election was also notable for a higher turnout because of non-interference by insurgency groups.

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.


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