Maharashtra: What has changed since 2009?

Posted on Updated on

Change in Number of Seats-page-001The Maharashtra state elections are fast approaching. Riding high on its Lok Sabha victory, the BJP-SHS combine is expected to unseat the 15 year old INC-NCP government. Today’s post looks at vote share data from the recent Lok Sabha and previous state elections. What does this data indicated for the upcoming ballot race?

Graph 1 looks at the change in number of Lok Sabha seats from 2009 to 2014 general elections. Graph 2 looks at the change in vote share between 2009 and 2014 elections. Graph 3 looks at the number of close contests won by each party in the 2009 state elections. A close contest is defined as a victory margin of less than 10%. A huge thanks to the Election Commission for all its wonderful data.

The INC-NCP combine won 75 of these close contests in the 2009 state elections. 85 seats had a victory margin of less than 5%. It is clear that even in 2009, the INC-NCP had a tough time retaining its power. The battle seems even more uphill now.

Change in Number of Seats-page-001 Vote Share -page-001Close Contests-page-001

The Price of Unity

Posted on Updated on

UnityThe recent Union Budget allotted 200 crore Rupees ($33 million dollars) to the dubiously named and environmentally problematic Unity Statue. This allocation is in addition to the amount allotted by the Gujarat state government. This is a huge turn back for a party which heavily criticized Mayawati for building statues in Uttar Pradesh.

Today’s post looks at 10 things that cost less than this statue. Women’s safety, climate adaptation and welfare of tribals all rank lower in budget priority. Click here for the full text of the Budget Speech.

Read the rest of this entry »

Budget 2014: A look at Public Health

Posted on Updated on

HealthGDPThe new budget is set to be unveiled next week and there is a lot of speculation on the direction it will take. The blog will do a series on the budget and it’s implications for the nation.

Today’s post takes a look at an oft overlooked aspect of the budget: public health expenditure. I take a look at statistics on the nature of the public health system in India. It is clear that the health care system in the country is ill equipped to care of the population. The state’s unwillingness to invest in health infrastructure is difficult to understand, given India’s consistently poor showing in health outcomes. It is clear that the government needs to allocate more resources towards creating an affordable health care system, especially for the poor.

Read the rest of this entry »

The First 30 Days: A Twitter Flashback

Posted on Updated on

The first 30 daysRecently, Narendra Modi’s twitter account reached 5 million followers and he became the fourth-most followed political leader in the world. The PM has expressed his penchant for communication over Twitter and the party has encouraged BJP MPs to have a visible presence in social media.

It seemed only appropriate (and fun!) to take a look back at the first thirty days of the PM through Twitter. What does the PM talk to his Twitter followers about? I look at number of tweets by the PMO and an issue wise breakdown of the Tweets. Read the rest of this entry »

Whose Development?

Posted on Updated on

Type2 By now most people have read the leaked IB report indicting various NGOs in India for being ‘people- centric’ and for ‘questioning the Gujarat model of development’. This report and the consequent fall out got me thinking. Why is it that everyone from Modi to Sharad Pawar is beseeching us to not question the development mantra? And if development projects are all that they are made out to be why do people  regularly protest them? Is it all a big conspiracy?

Read the rest of this entry »

The Changing Nature of Indian Democracy

Posted on Updated on

Time-page-001A Parliamentary democracy envisages a Parliament as the primary legislative body and as a major check on executive power. How true is this in the Indian context? In today’s post, I look at data on previous Lok Sabhas to test the quality of Parliamentary democracy in India. Read the rest of this entry »

How Free is ‘Free’ Speech?

Posted on Updated on

Parliament - CriminalIndia’s already low tolerance for free speech and expression seems to be hitting new lows. Artists are being threatened for not blindly supporting the BJP, citizens are being murdered for posting cartoonswriters are being thrown into jail for publishing negative views on our current Prime Minister and books are being withdrawn for not ascribing to a right wing interpretation of Hinduism. Let’s be clear, India has never been a bastion for free speech. We have exiled artists and authors and thrown people in jail for criticism. Courts have proven fickle defenders of this freedom, particularly unhappy with criticism of themselves. However, this new brand of vigilantism is more violent and more brazen, with little in terms of government action to keep them in check. Read the rest of this entry »