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

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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.

Kerala: A Negative Verdict on LDF Government

The voters in Kerala privileged the performance of the state government while voting in the 15th Lok Sabha elections. The internal squabbles within the dominant party and within the Left Democratic Front alliance and an overall expression of disapproval of the state government's record helped the Congress-led United Democratic Front reap a large share of the seats.

Issues in General Election 2009

The issues raised in the 2009 Lok Sabha election campaign by the major alliances and the response of voters to them present a mixed picture. The National Election Study 2009 survey indicates that voters did not consider some of the issues highlighted by political parties to have much relevance to them and these had almost no impact on voting decisions. They included, for instance, the Bharatiya Janata Party's campaign issues such as the Indo-United States nuclear deal and the Ram Sethu controversy. However, economic concerns, basic services, welfare policies and citizens' security were significant in influencing voting decisions. Surprisingly, the United Progressive Alliance's vote did not suffer much even though the price rise and terrorist attacks during the government's term in office were matters of concern to a majority of the voters.

Punjab: Resurgence of the Congress

The Congress improved significantly on its electoral performance in Punjab as compared to the previous Lok Sabha elections. The slender lead in terms of votes polled enabled the Congress to march ahead of the Shiromani Akali Dal-Bharatiya Janata Party combine in terms of the number of seats won. The inability of the Bahujan Samaj Party to mobilise the dalit vote also helped the Congress which has had a relatively good support base amongst the dalits in different religions. The Congress also benefited from the gradual slide of the left parties, its erstwhile electoral allies.

Tamil Nadu: Against Expectations

The logic of stitching a large coalition of political parties, each with its social base, to ensure an electoral victory in Tamil Nadu seems to be a thing of the past in the state. The results of the 15th Lok Sabha elections went in favour of the ruling alliance suggesting that issue-based support may now be the deciding factor in the state.

Sikkim: Politics of Inclusiveness and One-Party Dominance

The peculiar history and social composition of Sikkim have compelled its government, dominated by the Sikkim Democratic Front, to pursue a prudent, all-inclusive policy. This has yielded rich dividends in all elections since 1994, putting to rest the many theories associated with the anti-incumbency factor. The state's politics, thus, remain an anomaly when compared to other Indian states.

Rajasthan: Performance and Campaigning Pay Dividends

The Congress Party's victory in Rajasthan can be attributed to its motivated organisation and electoral canvassing under the leadership of Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, a positive evaluation of the central government's performance and factionalism within the Bharatiya Janata Party. The stability of the bipolar electoral system in Rajasthan was reinforced in the 15th Lok Sabha elections.

Chhattisgarh: An Emphatic Win for the BJP

The Bharatiya Janata Party's win in Chhattisgarh can be attributed to a positive appraisal by the voting populace of the state government's performance in the state.

How Did Women Vote in Lok Sabha Elections 2009?

This analysis, based on the National Election Study 2009 data, supports the contention that Indian women do not always vote as women - as gendered beings independent of social and regional-level political dynamics. It also suggests that the gender advantage the Congress enjoys at the all-India level does not indicate a consistent and decisive support by women for the party or its policies. All this is not very surprising given that the poll campaign ran with no focus on women's issues and little effort was made by anyone to politically mobilise women voters.

Uttar Pradesh: Signs of a Congress Revival?

The story of the Lok Sabha election in Uttar Pradesh was the comeback of the Congress, which won 21 seats and substantially increased its vote share. The Bahujan Samaj Party did not rise up to the expectations its triumph in the 2007 assembly election had aroused. The Samajwadi Party won the highest number of seats but lost the backing of the Muslims, who had consistently supported it in earlier elections. Though the BSP led in terms of vote share and public opinion, the Congress was aided by the popularity of the central government.

Madhya Pradesh: Congress Makes Unexpected Gains

Belying expectations of a repeated outcome mirroring the December 2008 assembly verdict, the Congress made major gains in the 2009 Lok Sabha elections in Madhya Pradesh. The stabilisation of a bipolar party system of the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Congress in the state, and the relative irrelevance of other political forces contributed to this outcome.

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