ElectionsinIndia.com – India’s premier portal disseminating election-related insights and analysis – on Tuesday released its book titled, India Elects – 2014 – A Comparative Analysis of General Elections Results of India: 2009-2014, at the Constitution Club, New Delhi.
The book was unveiled by Dr. S. Y. Quraishi, former Chief Election Commissioner of India. The book carries a Foreword by renowned psephologist Dr Prannoy Roy, Executive Chairperson, NDTV Ltd and a Preface by Dr R K Thukral, Director, Datanet India Pvt Ltd.
While the Foreword mentions India has the world’s most advanced electronic voting system, it laments that there has been little fundamental research on its elections – until now, which is why India Elects – 2014 is so important. Replete with in-depth data, the book analyses the results of the General Elections held across India between 7 April and 12 May 2014 – the longest elections in India’s history and the world’s biggest voting event with more than 814 million voters compared to 193.6 million in the US and 45.5 million in the UK. For the first time in India, a party other than the Congress won a simple majority. The Preface mentions that more than 140 visitors from 30-plus countries had first-hand exposure to an excellent electoral system that could serve as a model for many countries to follow.
Revealing some highlights, Datanet India Director Dr R K Thukral said, “The book makes a comparative analysis of India’s General Elections of 2009 and 2014 with the help of 205 maps, more than 235 graphs and numerous statistics to reveal interesting highlights and insights. Significantly, India’s electorate is larger than the combined populations of the US and Western Europe. The largest constituency by geographical area, Ladakh has more landmass (172,374 sq. km.) than many sovereign nations such as Bangladesh, Nepal and North Korea. For the first time, Indian voters had the option to reject all candidates using the NOTA (None of the Above) button.”
At the book launch, Datanet India Director Madan Bahal said, “ElectionsinIndia.com offers summary results of all Parliamentary and Assembly constituencies in India since Independence. This is conducted through geospatial analysis of election results at the town, village and booth level with the help of GIS maps. ElectionsinIndia.com and 720 other websites disseminating data about India, its sectors, regions, states and districts are owned by Datanet India. This vast ownership facilitates faster data collation, giving Datanet India an unprecedented edge in electoral insights and analysis, which the present results clearly indicate.”
India turned into an e-democracy in the 2004 General Elections when 10.75 lakh EVMs were used across the country. In 2014, 17,20,080 Control Units were used. The total electors were 834,101,479; male electors: 437,051,538 (52.39%); female: 397,049,941 (47.60%) in 2014, while the same were 716,985,101; 374,758,801 (52.26%) and 342,226,300 (47.73%), respectively, in 2009. This indicates an increase of more than 117 million electors (16.33% growth). The newly-introduced gender category of “Others” constitute 28,314 (0.0035%) of total electors.
The 2014 General Elections witnessed the highest-ever voters’ turnout with 66.4% voting. The previous highest was 64.01% (1984).
In 2014, 8,251 candidates contested, compared to 8,070 in 2009. In 2014, 7,578 (91.8%) male candidates contested compared to 7,514 (93.1%) in 2009. In 2014, 668 (8.10%) female candidates contested compared to 556 (6.9%) in 2009. In 2014, the oldest candidate was 93 years (Ram Sundar Das from Hajipur, Bihar) compared to 99 years (Arif Ahmed Shaikh Jafhar from Dhule, Maharashtra) in 2009. The oldest winning candidate was 86 (Lal Krishna Advani in Gandhinagar, Gujarat) in 2014, while it was 88 years (Ram Sundar Das in Hajipur, Bihar) in 2009.
Ramcharan Bohara in Jaipur, Rajasthan won maximum 863,358 votes in 2014, compared to 832,224 by CM Chang in Nagaland in 2009. In 2014, minimum votes, 105, were secured by S Veeramani in Chennai South, Tamil Nadu compared to 118 by Raja LD in Chennai South, Tamil Nadu in 2009. Six million voters (1.1%) chose NOTA, a higher vote share than parties such as CPI and JD(U). In 44 constituencies, NOTA was the third choice of voters. The total registered parties were 1,687 in 2014; this comprised six national parties, 47 state parties and 1,634 unrecognized parties. The total registered parties were 1,060 in 2009. In 2014, 8,251 candidates contested, with 668 being women and 7,578 men, while there were five transgender ones. The winning percentage of women was 9.13%, while that of men was 6.36%. The 16th Lok Sabha has the highest number of women at 61, compared to 59 in 2009. There were 315 (58%) first-time MPs elected to the 2014 Lok Sabha, the highest in the last three decades.
The NDA secured 38.59% votes in 2014, compared to 24.62% in 2009. In 2014, UPA secured 23% votes compared to 36.70% in 2009. In 2014, BJP secured 31% votes as compared to 18.80% in 2009. In 2014, INC secured 19.11% votes as compared to 28.55% in 2009. Out of 164 minority-dominated constituencies, seats won by INC fell from 68 in 2009 to 25 in 2014, while those won by BJP increased from 32 in 2009 to 72 in 2014, clearly indicating the rising appeal of the BJP even among minorities. Out of 420 Rural plus Urban constituencies, seats won by INC fell from 158 in 2009 to 37 in 2014, while those won by BJP increased from 99 in 2009 to 213 in 2014.
The vote difference and swing impact between the main national parties is also enlightening. UPA 2014 gained 246,77,446 votes at the cost of NDA in 2009, while impact of swing 1.62% was negative for UPA in 2014 compared to NDA in 2009. NDA 2014 gained 606,01,307 votes at the cost of UPA 2009, while impact of swing 1.89% was in favour of NDA 2014, compared to UPA 2009. INC in 2014 gained 285,02,861 votes at the cost of BJP in 2009, while impact of swing 0.51% was in favour for INC in 2014, compared to BJP in 2009. BJP in 2014 gained 525,46,530 votes at the cost of INC in 2009, while impact of swing 2.44% was in favour of BJP in 2014 compared to INC in 2009.
Dr Thukral added, “The above results indicate a clear swing and increase in vote share of the BJP-NDA, including among the minority communities, compared to the INC-UPA, which may have implications in the forthcoming elections across India.”
Backed by thematic maps, these electoral facts and figures have not been available before in such a comprehensive manner. India Elects – 2014 can serve as a reference guide for politicians, policymakers, scholars, psephologists, media professionals and academia interested in India’s election politics.