India’s Fifteenth General Election: Realities, Implications, Prospects
India’s fifteenth general election took place in five phases during April 16, 2009 and May 13, 2009, which witnessed 59.7 percent of the 714 million electorate voting. Coming 57 years after independent India voted to constitute its legislatures at both the levels, it indicated a number changes that voting behaviour has undergone in these years. The decline of the one-party dominant system brought about an era of coalition politics in national politics. State/Regional parties gained in prominence. This essay goes beyond looking at shifts and swings in voting behaviour in this election, contextualizing them in larger context of national politics as well as in the context of changes in the party system since independence. This seventh general election of a new era of Indian politics that has shaped in the past two decades, has witnessed a reassertion and strengthening of the Indian National Congress in particular and national parties in general, a plateauing of the state/regional parties, rise and stabilising of electoral volatility and strengthening of the larger national party in coalition politics despite cohabitation problems. The essay also contextualizes the elections and its results in the context of weakening of institutions in the country.
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