Election 2014: Five things India is counting on

Published: Friday 16 May 2014

Models of development


Much before the elections were held, there was a national consensus that the elections would be fought on the “Gujarat model”. To counter this, a series of “alternative” models emerged: Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and the ruling UPA's late articulation of its rights-based model. One could not suppress the excitement for one simple fact—that a national election was possibly going to be fought on development planks. But halfway through the campaign, the articulation of the various models assumed a different shape. The persona of leaders replaced their respective models and the nuances of development just faded into oblivion. 

Must read for a head start:

Gujarat v UPA: models of non-governance? 

Feeble rights 

Do welfare schemes catch votes? 



Electoral power of women

imageIn the current elections, in 16 out of total 35 states and Union territories women outnumbered men voters. Women are increasingly voting in more numbers, particularly in rural areas. During campaigns, all political parties directed their campaigns towards this constituency. What women voters bring to focus is the outcome of a sustained self-help groups (SHG) movement in villages that have been empowering them politically. Also, the reservation for women in panchayat elections has helped enhance women's electoral consciousness.

Must read for a head start:

Why politicians cannot afford to ignore women


Environmental activists as politicians

dayamaniArguably, this election has the maximum number of environmental activists as candidates. Courtesy, the Aam Admi Party that has fielded more than 400 candidates. Out of this close to 110 are activists working on environmental issues. Are they going to win? Track the counting but these candidates mostly talked about local environmental issues, thus, deflecting the focus from a near presidential-type of elections.

Must read for a head start:

The promise of Dayamani  

Village protesting Kundankulam bans poll campaigning by any party

Modi’s Ganga sutra and the politics of Varanasi

Latest AAP members: people displaced by Narmada dams

AAP gives a new turn to civil society movement 


Tribal voters & yield of Forest Rights Act



The Forest Rights Act, though a significant legislation for tribal and forest dwellers, was not used as an election tool. Will the political parties benefit from electoral dividends of this law in tribal areas? The Congress and regional parties like the BJD and the JMM have indeed focused their campaign on this law that for first time recognised tribals' settlement rights and gave these people power over minor forest products. The election results in tribal constituencies will show whether it will help Congress the way rural employment programme did in 2009 elections.

Must read for a head start:

Rights without benefits

Fifty villages in Gadchiroli boycott polls, demanding forest rights 


First time voters scripting a new electoral demography



There are close to 22 million voters in this election in the age group of 18-19. This is India's first generation that has grown up with the market economy model. In an interesting coincidence, India is witnessing an economic slowdown. Will it have an impact on the elections? There much talks about this generation, perceived to be proactive and restless in its political outlook, this election may witness their power of influence.

Must read for a head start:

End of dividend

First time voters 

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