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Assembly Elections and Government Formation

Posted by Admin on December 5, 2014 | Comment

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It’s not just the rise of regional parties that has accentuated the importance of Assembly elections. The rise of regional aspirations and a divide between national and regional goals have long started to decide the fate of a political entity. While Lok Sabha elections give us the macro-level view of where each party stands, the Assembly elections provide us a micro-level understanding of which political parties are garnering maximum support.

Assembly Elections and Government Formation

Assembly Elections: A decisive factor for Lok Sabha Elections

From national parties such as Congress and BJP to single-state and multi-state parties, Assembly elections keep every political entity on tenterhooks. Every five year, the people of states and union territories get a chance to exercise their franchise and vote for party representatives whom they want to see as MLAs.

Before and after the Assembly elections, the alliances between parties see a dramatic change. Like Parliamentary elections, political parties enter into alliance with a hope of presenting a strong alternative before the electorates. Depending on the outcome of the elections, the alliance may survive or split into individual entities. This again, is an outcome of fractured mandate, which indicates the competitive landscape that Assembly election creates for political parties.

Difference between Assembly and Parliamentary Elections

There is a growing tendency among the politically literate population to link Assembly elections with Parliamentary elections.  The former is often looked upon as a ‘barometer’ for predicting how a party would fare during the Lok Sabha polls. For political parties, elections to legislative Assembly matter a lot as they get to benchmark themselves against other political rivals.  

For a political party, any disconnect with the voters’ concerns and aspirations can mean a significant loss in the Assembly elections. One can’t deny the fact that a victory at the state level lays the foundation for a bigger mandate and vice versa. There had been plenty of instances in the past to substantiate this claim.

Consider a series of defeats that BJP faced between 2002 and 2003 in Assembly elections in Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Nagaland and Tripura. That perhaps gave an indication about the anti-NDA sentiment prior to the 2004 Lok Sabha elections. Similarly, Congress’ defeat in Goa, Punjab and Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections in 2012 somewhat hinted at the party’s slim chance of winning 2014 Lok Sabha elections.

Change in Approach towards Legislative Assembly Elections

Since the 1990s, the Assembly elections started to include national issues too. Indian Congress is given the credit for giving “a national orientation to the state elections.” The trend continues even today as most of the political parties have started to include national issues in their election manifestos for the Assembly elections. Apart from making region-specific promises, parties try to accommodate issues of national interest and widen their scope to win confidence of the constituencies.

WBSG05.12.2014

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