Publikation Soziale Bewegungen / Organisierung The Outcome of the Indian Elections 2004. Why the Congress Alliance and the Left has won or the BJHP-led NDA lost

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November 2004

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Of all the dramatic headings that greeted the astounding victory of the Congress, its allies and the Left, the most appropriate was coined by a weekly (Tehelka) whose journalists had been hounded by the previous regime. This heading congratulated the ‘foreign-born wife of the nation’ for performing The Art of the Impossible. That the BJP-led NDA was coming to power, albeit with a much-reduced majority, was predicted by all big newspapers, TV channels, well-paid psephologists and even exit polls which recorded the sample-verdict of the voters after they had cast their votes. But this drummed-up‘Hegemonic Prophecy’ projecting the wish fulfilment of the vocal and the powerful and the rich proved to be, fortunately, wrong. The maximum this hegemonic voice conceded was a Hung Parliament where the NDA, in a more advantageous position, would be able to win over a few other parties and form the government.

Not even a Hung Parliament was the outcome. With the Congress emerging as the single-largest party (145 seats, 7 more than the BJP), with the Congress + allies winning 220 seats and the Left 63, they form a thin though stable majority in the 543-seat Parliament. In fact, the results would have been even more favourable - at least 10 to 15 seats more – if there would not have been a division of the anti-BJP votes among ‘secular contenders’ in some regions of Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat and Bihar. Now, let us analyse the many causes which led to this result. ...

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