Thursday, June 04, 2009

Election Outcome, 2009

Today's editorial, along the lines of previous write-ups in The Hindu repeats the argument that the Manmohan Singh government has been 'richly rewarded for eschewing the “India Shining” model and adopting the “aam admi” model — a shift facilitated in no small measure by the support it received from the Left parties'. This has been a recurring theme in Leftist circles for the last several years - that only some government policies are 'pro-people' which by implication means that others are 'anti-people'. The distinction, of course, has no factual or principled basis but be that as it may.

We are now told repeatedly that schemes such as the NREGA and others gave the Congress the edge in these elections. No study has been done so far to examine any correlation between the districts where NREGA was effectively implemented and the success of the Congress in those parts. Secondly, the NREGA was implemented through state governments; thus its success or failure could, in equal part, be attributable to the latter which were not run by the Congress in many of the states where the party has won. In Karnataka, the BJP won both the recently held state elections and the national election whereas in Madhya Pradesh, the BJP won the state election but did not perform as well in the national election. In Orissa, where NREGA corruption was reported, the Biju Patnaik led dispensation won comfortably. Lastly, if the NREGA has been as successful as proclaimed, we would have expected a reasonable victory for the Congress in the UP state election as well since it was implemented much earlier; yet none was evident then as Mayawati coasted to victory which is not the case this time around. All these diverse outcomes cannot be accounted for based on the NREGA or other supposedly 'aam aadmi' policies sponsored by the Center. It is possible that it was one amongst several factors but its impact ought not to be overestimated. Another more suasive reason I came across in Tehelka is that the party, now in power, has been able to successfully restore its patronage networks through which it used to traditionally dispense favors and this fact brought it greater leverage and goodwill than anything government schemes have or have not accomplished.

This point needs to be borne in mind. As for the CPI(M), it has lost heavily in West Bengal but the overall national performance of the CPI(M) has only come down marginally in terms of the popular vote share. The CPI has actually managed to gain in terms of the popular vote share nationally. The BJP's nationwide loss has however been more acute though this might also be owing to the party's overall size which is much larger than that of any of the Left Front members.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

You are exactly right. All these pseudo analysts vomit anything that comes to their mind without any kind of data backing them up. It is a sad state of Inidan journalism. I for one think it is the same old patronage network that helped the CON party to come back in power. Once they are in power it CON party uses every trick to keep that.

Shankar said...

I was one of those who believed these experts and their analysis.. but now I am wiser after reading this post by Pilid.

Thyagarajan said...

Welcome BAck Plid. Long time