Lok Sabha

Social Media and Elections 2014

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A lot was made about the impact of social media in the last elections. The Modi campaign was credited with creating a convincing media blizzard which other parties failed to emulate. But did this really translate into actual seats? To answer that question, I look at party victories in Lok Sabha constituencies with high, medium and low impact of social media.

Thankfully, the good people at IRIS Knowledge Foundation had already classified the constituencies in these categories. The methodology is detailed in their report, it isn’t perfect but it will do for this post. 16o Constituencies are labelled as High Impact, 67 are labelled Medium Impact and 60 are termed Low Impact. The remaining 256 are termed No Impact and not considered for the purposes of this study.

High Impact

Medium ImpactLow Impact

 

It seems clear that the BJP took a much larger share of the pie in LS seats with a high social media impact. A direct co-relation to social media cannot be made. The BJP has traditionally done better in urban seats which have a high social media impact. However, part of the credit for its unprecedented performance in high impact seats must definitely lie with it’s extensive social media campaigning.

Yes, social media may seem constrained to certain populations right now. After all, 256 of the seats qualified as no-impact. However, there is strong evidence to suggest that a lot of power lies in good social media management. The methods of political campaigning are slowly shifting in India. The BJP definitely seems to have benefited from it. Other parties would do well to take note of this trend.

Budget 2014: A look at Public Health

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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.

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The Changing Nature of Indian Democracy

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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 »

The 16th Lok Sabha

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Members of Parliament took oath last week and this seemed like a nice time to get acquainted with our elected representatives. Today’s post takes a closer look at the 16th Lok Sabha. Is it truly representative of the Indian population?

The chart looks at gender breakdown, asset information, criminal information and incumbency. These statistics have important stories to tell on political privilege and the quality of India’s democracy. Read the rest of this entry »

Why so criminal?

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Parliament - CriminalDespite all the fanfare about clean politics and anti-corruption, the 16th Lok Sabha looks like one of the most criminal that this country has elected. Every third MP in the current Parliament has a criminal case registered against them and 112 MPs have serious criminal cases registered against them. This raises problematic questions for the Indian democratic process. Should individuals accused of bribery and fraud be in charge of passing anti-corruption laws? Should individuals accused of rape be in charge of gender security bills?

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The Verdict

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VoteShareThe votes are in and we have a newly elected Parliament. The Modi-led BJP has swept into an unprecedented majority, leaving the INC and regional parties with paltry seats. No matter what end of the BJP love-hate spectrum you fall on, interesting times are ahead. Over the next couple of months, this blog will take a closer look at the members of the 16th Lok Sabha. Who did we elect into power?

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It’s all in the Family

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family1In a recent panel on the Indian elections, dynastic politics was brought up as a consistent theme.  I decided to dig a little deeper and see how pervasive this phenomenon is. I looked at state, party and age segregated data on hereditary MPs. I then discuss why the trends aren’t that surprising and what they tell us about social mobility in India. As always, click on the graphs to get an enlarged view.

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