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

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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.

West Bengal: Mandate for Change

The same issues - security in land rights and livelihood concerns - that have driven voter preferences in rural West Bengal since 1977 were present in 2009 as well. The difference this time was that the rural electorate, historically the base of the Left Front in the state, shifted its support from the LF to the All India Trinamool Congress. This explains the devastating defeat of the LF in the Lok Sabha elections.

Uttarakhand: Congress Outperforms Its Opponents

The easy win for the Congress in the 15th Lok Sabha elections in Uttarakhand was made possible by the voters' positive opinion of the Congress-led coalition in the centre. This, combined with the fact that voters rated the previous Congress government in the state better than the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party regime, helped the former achieve a clean sweep at the polls.

Between Fortuna and Virtu: Explaining the Congress' Ambiguous Victory in 2009

Election 2009 saw a comprehensive triumph for the United Progressive Alliance. But the initial impression of an overwhelming mandate for the Congress needs to be corrected. A close scrutiny of the outcome shows that the Congress "victory" was ambiguous and owed a lot to movements that were not of its making. Shifts in the "third electoral system" worked against the politics of identity and made the quality of government an issue. The Bharatiya Janata Party's inability to hold on to its new social bloc resulted in a depolarisation that benefited the Congress. The victory of the Congress also came about because the voters had a mildly positive image of its governance record and welfare measures. Yet in the end this verdict was more about politics than chance. A shrinking of the National Democratic Alliance, a positive image of the upa government and its leadership gave the ruling coalition a decisive lead before the campaign formally began.

Leadership at the State Level Mattered

A post-poll survey of the National Election Study 2009 reveals that no single national leader managed to either catch the imagination of more than 20% of the respondents or drive voting preferences in the Lok Sabha election of 2009. The limited impact of the leadership factor in this election was not only seen in the lower intensity with which party supporters backed their projected leaders, but also in the perception of those who supported the Congress and Bharatiya Janata Party alliances. This points to the states and the leadership therein as crucial factors that determined the poll outcome. Data shows the issues that define and determine voter choice even in a parliamentary election are those relevant and specific to a particular state.

National Election Study 2009: A Methodological Note

National election Study 2009: A methodological Note Lokniti Team We give our special thanks to the over 1,800 investigators whose commitment and skills made such a study possible and the thousands of respondents who spared their valuable time for the interview. Most of the scholars involved in this work are affiliated with colleges, universities and research institutes in different parts of the country. These institutions not only allowed the scholars to work on this project but in many cases, also allowed access to infrastructures of the respective institutions. We gratefully acknowledge the financial support received from UGC, ICSSR, The Hindu and CNN-IBN. The authors of these papers deserve thanks for their cooperation and patience with the publication delays. the last decade, provided a forum for the Lokniti network to take its findings to a wider audience. The persistence, patience and the work put in by the editorial team at the EPW is sincerely acknowledged. The Data Unit at CSDS has been very efficient and cooperative during all these weeks of the survey work and data analysis. Finally, Vanita Leah Falcao and Rahul Verma at the Lokniti office in Delhi were of great help in the coordination of this special issue. Special thanks to them.

Goa: Return of the North-South Divide

An apparent lack of enthusiasm for either of the two main political parties in Goa was evident in the Lok Sabha elections. This negative opinion of the nature of governance in the state, combined with the lack of a clear-cut differentiation between the parties on issues that dominated in the run-up to the elections ensured that the traditional north-south divide determined the outcome in the two parliamentary constituencies in Goa.


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