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Anatomy of India's Early 2017 State Assembly Elections
Image Credit: Flickr/ Narendra Modi

Anatomy of India's Early 2017 State Assembly Elections

 
 

India’s latest state assembly elections, saw more drama, excitement, and sweeping wins than those in 2016. With potential hung assembles, re-polling, and upsets, the contentious week that was will culminate with five states swearing in their next term of chief ministers. Below is an overview of how the situation unfolded on the ground:

Uttar Pradesh

Number of Seats 403
Voter Turnout 60.03 percent
Key Parties/Alliances Samajwadi Party (SP), Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), Indian National Congress (Congress), Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)
Key Results BJP (312), SP (47), BSP (19), Congress (7),
Winning Party/Alliance Bharatiya Janata Party
Leader/Chief Ministerial Candidate (Undecided)

 

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With its landslide victory, the BJP decimated all of its opposition in the biggest Indian state assembly and unseated parties more traditionally based in Uttar Pradesh. Amidst the celebrations, no chief ministerial candidate has been announced yet, but the list of candidates under deliberation is both long and important as the BJP will attempt to retain a stronghold that it has not been able to establish in over a decade. This result places Mayawati and the BSP in an even more precarious situation in the state and is a significant strategic loss for the Congress.

Uttarakhand

Number of Seats 70
Voter Turnout 68 percent
Key Parties/Alliances Indian National Congress (Congress), Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)
Key Results BJP (57), Congress (11)
Winning Party/Alliance Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)
Leader/Chief Ministerial Candidate (Undecided)

 

While two seats went to independents, the rest of the state’s mandate was split between the largest national parties, the BJP and the Congress. The second of the BJP’s biggest wins, Uttarakhand does not have a clear chief ministerial candidate yet either. While the win was clear and sweeping, re-polling was ordered where the machines malfunctioned and the result of one seat was declared late.

Punjab

Number of Seats 117
Voter Turnout 77 percent
Key Parties/Alliances Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), Indian National Congress (INC), Aam Aadmi Party (AAP)
Key Results Congress (77), AAP (20), BJP-SAD (18)
Winning Party/Alliance Indian National Congress
Leader/Chief Ministerial Candidate Captain Amarinder Singh

 

With its sweeping win, the Congress party rode the anti-incumbency wave in Punjab. The AAP, which had hoped to make its presence shown significantly in the polls suffered a shattering defeat, and has subsequently faced bad press for statements indicating that their loss could be attributed to tampering of the voting machines. Congress representative Captain Amarinder Singh will be sworn in on March 16 as chief minister with possibly no deputy.

Manipur

Number of Seats 60
Voter Turnout 86 percent
Key Parties/Alliances Indian National Congress (Congress), Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)
Key Results BJP (21), Congress (28)
Winning Party/Alliance BJP led
Leader/Chief Ministerial Candidate N Biren Singh

 

Another state which saw a strong call for re-polling, Manipur produced a ground breaking result on two counts: not only did it break away from the Congress’ fairly seeped in rule, it also paved way for its first-ever BJP led government. While the Congress won more seats than the BJP did, neither could establish a majority. The BJP’s swift alliance formation allowed chief ministerial candidate N. Biren Singh to take over. The Manipur election was also the site of prominent activist Irom Sharmila’s loss in her first foray into politics. Although she ended her 16 year long hunger strike to contest the polls, she could not win a seat.

Goa

Number of Seats 40
Voter Turnout 83 percent
Key Parties/Alliances Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Indian National Congress (Congress)
Key Results BJP (13), Congress (17)
Winning Party/Alliance BJP-led
Leader/Chief Ministerial Candidate Manohar Parrikar

 

Neither of the national parties managed to secure an adequate lead in Goa, though the Congress had a minor edge in a near-hung assembly. However, once again the BJP quickly managed to line up its alliances and Defense Minister Manohar Parrikar is poised to take over as chief minister for a third time. He will be subject to a floor test with the elected assembly – one that he will likely win. Meanwhile, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has been given additional charge of the Defense Ministry.

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