Where were we?

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In this post, I present a constituency level map of the 2009 General Elections.

You can click on the map for an enlarged image.

final party map

The map presents an interesting, if fragmented, story. While the BJP’s electoral success is largely rooted in North Western and Central India, the Congress’s victory can be attributed to its geographical pervasiveness. The Congress’s geographical outreach far outstrips its main opponents’. This, combined with some timely alliances, has contributed to the 8 year reign of the Congress at the centre. While the BJP has expanded its voter base in the past decade, it is yet to connect with voters outside the Northern/Central belt. It is clear that the BJP’s national ambitions rest on its ability to go beyond the ‘Hindi, Hindu, Hindustan’ rhetoric.

The other story emerging from this map is the importance of regional satraps. The days of strong, single party governments are over and this could have interesting  consequences for political party organization in India. Increasingly, citizens are identifying with regional, rather than national, actors.  This should force national parties rethink their party cadres and organizational focus. It may serve national parties better if they were to strengthen their local leaders and decentralize their focus. The idea of a national leader, while still a powerful image, will probably have less sway in the polling stations.

I have my hands on some incredible data and am itching to present it in the coming weeks. Stay tuned!

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2 thoughts on “Where were we?

    A. Kumar said:
    November 4, 2013 at 6:18 am

    Hi Shruti. Thanks for this. I look forward to following your blog over the next few months. Do you have a map representing the NDA and the UPA (as of 2009 and 2004)? I think that the geographic reach of the Congress may not be a hugely significant factor due to the number of potential regional allies available to the BJP. If I recall correctly, then the AIADMK, the BJD, the TDP, the DMK and the TC have all been regional allies of the BJP at one time or another. If the BJP can rebuild its relationships with these regional allies by breaking up the relatively fragile Third Front, then the Congress may not enjoy any substantial advantage due to its geographic reach.

      Shruti responded:
      November 6, 2013 at 5:55 pm

      Hi. I agree it would be interesting to look at a map with alliances and I am working on that. I do have historical data (extending all the way back to the 1950’s) and think it would be great to map this. The constant shifting of election boundaries and sometimes unreadable format is holding me up.

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