The first round of the 2012 elections has taken place in India. Of the seven legislative assemblies whose tenures expire in 2012, five states (Goa, Manipur, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, and Uttarakhand) held elections from late January to early March. The results of these elections are important for several reasons: they are indicators of the general election results due in 2014. Moreover, the results provide a snapshot of the changing trends among voters in the world’s largest democracy.
The results have been disappointing for India’s two major parties. The Indian National Congress (the ruling party at the centre) fared rather poorly in this cycle. Among the five state contests the Congress has only won a single state outright: Manipur, a state in the nation’s poor northeast region. While it managed to remain ahead of its national rival, the Bharatiya Janata Party (B.J.P.) in Uttarakhand, it did so with only a one seat lead in the assembly. A loss for its incumbent government in Goa and a poor performance in Punjab has placed the Congress in a tough race in the 2014 elections. Continue reading Elections and Empowerment: India’s Legislative Assembly Elections and What We Can Learn From Them