Three is a crowd, feel voters; firm alliances the way to go
With the fights turning increasingly bipolar, the 2014 summer elections may witness a common thread among states such as Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Tamil Nadu and Rajasthan — decisive mandate for a particular formation.india Updated: Mar 19, 2014 01:00 IST
With the fights turning increasingly bipolar, the 2014 summer elections may witness a common thread among states such as Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Tamil Nadu and Rajasthan — decisive mandate for a particular formation.
Assembly voting patterns in about 20 states since the 2009 general elections show that fragmented outcome, a hallmark of the 1990s and early 2000, has become a thing of the past and the 2014 polls would be a bipolar contest between the Congress-led UPA and the BJP-led NDA.
“Pre-poll alliances have turned the exercise into a bipolar affair. Having realised that vote division can harm them, parties are formalising alliances for decisive results,” says Sanjay Kumar of the Centre for Study of Developing Societies (CSDS). Cases in point: The winning parties in UP and Bihar, which together send 120 MPs to the Lok Sabha, got a thumping majority in the last assembly elections.
The clear preference in 2012 in UP was Mulayam Singh Yadav’s Samajwadi Party, which got 30% of the polled votes.
The SP got 224 seats, the highest for any party since 1989, as compared to arch-rival BSP’s 80.
Bihar was even more emphatic. The JD(U)-BJP alliance got more than 40% votes in the 2010 assembly elections and the rivals — the RJD and Congress — were decimated.
The JD(U)-BJP alliance won 206 seats in the 243-member House, with the RJD-Congress alliance managing only 26 seats.
Voters also busted the CPM’s West Bengal bastion in 2011 by voting in Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress.
The TMC bagged 184 seats — as compared to 32 in 2006 — and got 39% vote share. The CPM shrunk to 40 seats from the previous 173.
In the 2011 Tamil Nadu polls, the AIADMK bagged 150 seats and received 39% votes. Its arch-rival DMK fared poorly with 23 seats, its worst record since 1971.
The Congress won a record number of seats in the 2009 elections in Andhra Pradesh and Haryana.
Last year, the BJP retained Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh with a clear mandate and returned to power with two-thirds majority in Rajasthan.
A Liberty Institute study has found that voting percentages in most states have not changed dramatically, with an average of 4-5% floating vote which could impact the final outcome.
“If a party is able to get majority of this neutral vote bank, the chances of that party coming to power are higher,” the study said.
Another trend emerging from the comparison of assembly polls with the 2009 general elections is that voters focus on national agenda in the Lok Sabha polls and local issues in assembly elections.