Indian election, 2014

As I type this, we are about an hour away from the release of the results of the 2014 Indian general election.

The election, in which different parts of the country vote on different dates, has been ongoing since 7 April and concluded on 12 May.

Election Commision of India, map of phases

11 thoughts on “Indian election, 2014

  1. It’s funny that some have been calling India’s 9 day staggered elections, rounds. The accurate term should be rolling elections. Isn’t the U.S Senate and Presidential Primary have staggered elections? It will be interesting to see the result and what to make of it.

  2. It is being reported that the BJP is headed for nothing less than landslide victory – they are currently leading in 278 seats, enough to form government on their own, an unprecedented achievement for the party. Meanwhile, the Congress is leading in a mere 42 (!) seats.

  3. Rob, I would say that both “rounds” and “staggered elections” are incorrect. A round is when the same electorate is voting again because, under the rules, there was no decisive outcome the first time. I have written on this matter before. Staggering means different seats in a legislative body being elected on different cycles–partial renewal, like the US Senate. In India we have different parts of the country voting on different dates for a set of officeholders who all are elected in one round and to serve a common term.

    US presidential primaries are conducted state-by-state, for the purpose of selecting a given state’s entire vote-based delegation, so each state primary is a single stage and a single round, no staggering. But this is closer to a staged or phased process than anything I can think of other than India and Egypt. I just think it would be a bit misleading to lump all these examples together.

    • Should we not make a distinction between two types of ‘staged’ elections: one where it’s done solely for practical purposes (India, Egypt, Lebanon) and another where the voters in the later stages know the result of the previous stages, so that a consensus can grow around a winner through the stages (US presidential pimaries, Roman assemblies).

      The EP election is also ‘stages’ because every country votes on their usual day of the week (thursday, friday, saturday or sunday), but the results of the early voters will be announced only after voting has closed throughout the EU.

      • Bancki, a very sensible distinction. And I had forgotten that the European Parliament elections took place on different days. That is, as you note, because each member state uses whatever day of the week is its norm.

    • Some quick observations:

      1) BJP’s upcoming government will be the first to have an absolute Lok Sabha majority in a quarter-century; since Congress scored a record landslide victory in 1984 (following Indira Gandhi’s assassination), no single party had secured a lower house overall majority until now.

      2) The popular vote is not nearly as lopsided – 31.1% for BJP to 19.3% for Congress at the time of writing, but even that comes across as nothing short of a disaster for Congress.

      3) In Uttar Pradesh – India’s most populous state – BJP won 71 of 80 seats (88.75%) with 42.3% of the popular vote, while Congress was literally crushed there: it finished fourth with only 7.5% of the vote and lost all but two of the 21 seats it won five years ago.

      If I recall correctly, India’s general elections are held in stages due to the huge logistics issues involved in getting to the polls an electorate numbering several hundred million voters, many of them still desperately poor. In fact, BJP’s current nationwide popular vote total alone exceeds the total number of votes cast in the US 2012 presidential election by well over forty million.

      As for the election being a realignment (or not), I’d say it’s really to early to tell, but that’s just my opinion.

  4. The use of stages is largely to allow security forces to be concentrated where the polling is happening, because India has a long record of election-related violence. I do not recall when they first starting doing the staged process, but it was a while ago. I saw some Indian media reports during this election that the violence was lower than in recent elections.

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