Electoral Justice and participation of Unrepresented groups.

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Written By :- Fiza Firdaus Ansari

India is the world’s largest democrats with over 90 crore electors. Through its voter education program (SVEEP). Election commission has been reaching out to citizens since 2010. “ Get yourself registered in the voter list when you turn 18 and get ready to cast your vote, this is the real power”.

Voting Behavior

Study of factor which affect voters decision to vote for a particular party or candidate in democratic elections.

According to Gordon Marshall:  Study of the dominance of why do the people would as the door and how they arrive at the decisions as they make.

Voter’s Behavior v/s Consumer Behavior

  • The consumer decides to buy a product that provides maximum satisfaction to him given his income and price of the product.
  • Similarly in the electoral marketplace, the voter decides to vote for the party or candidate which provides him maximum political satisfaction in terms of office policy/ ideological preferences.
  • The difference is that in economic marketplaces consumers’ income and prices vary whereas in the electoral market place each voter, has only one vote (income) and each party is having seen price (equal choice).

Factors influencing voting Behavior

  • Party loyalty
    • Ideological alignment, traditional support, charismatic leadership
    • Strong in 1950 and 60s, declined since 1970s
  • The Candidate
    • Reputation and charisma
    • Social Background, track records,  people connect.
  • Policy Issues
    • Favourable policies in past: Retrospective Approach
    • Expected favourable policies in a future perspective approach
  • Others
    • Identity politics, money and muscle power, the role of media, economics issue, significant event, demography, wave election, anti-incumbency, populist welfare measures, etc.

How Caste Affect Voting Behavior

  • Politicians of caste and casteism in politics
  • Caste and voting patterns
    1. Lower and middle caste more likely to vote than upper caste
    2. Now, chances say off the Dalits (SC) and tribal (ST) vote is nearly the same as those of upper caste and OBC.
    3. OBC voting present age remain almost seem after 1971 but they are more if you do better aggregation in social-political terms.
  • Cast and voting behaviour
    1. Parties based on the political mobilization of the cast.
    2. Caste calculations at the constituency level integral to electoral politics.
    3.  voting for a candidate from the same cast or party with whom a particular caste identify itself.
    4. Cross Caste conditions: anti-hegemonic and sandwich alliances.
    5. OBC and middle Caste peasants deserted Congress and backed regional caste-based parties.
    6. Upper caste also changed its loyalty from Congress to BJP lower
    7. OBC an extremely backward caste swings its loyalty.
  • Factors of electoral mobilization om Caste lines
    1. Reservation politics
    2. The feeling of empowerment and tangible benefits
    3. Class identity is subordinate to identity-based on caste, religion, ethnicity.
    4. Rich vs Poor; tenant vs landlord; worker vs owners, Middle class
  • Class and voting pattern
    1. Poor and illiterate vote more than the rich and literate do.
    2. Apparent withdrawal of affluent and middle class from electoral politics.
  • Agrarian Classes- farmer’s may vote agrarian policy issues as class
  • Labour class:
    • Formal vs Informal
    • Party based trade union’s
  • Class dominate electoral politics and Kerala and West Bengal.

Religion as a factor for voting behavior

  • Voters mobilization along religious cleavages on the rise since the 1990s.
  • The linkage between Mandal and Mandir Movements
    •  The alliance between pro-Mandir and anti-Mandal movements
    •  OBC backed regional parties got the support of minorities
    •  Sandwich alliance of Brahman and a Muslim built by Congress broke.
  • At the Constituency level, Muslims and other religious minorities vote strategically
  • BJP attempts to consolidate the Hindu vote cutting caste cleavages.
  • Opposition parties try to build an anti-hegemonic alliance consolidating Muslim votes

Gender as Factor for Voting behavior

  • Electoral mobilization on gender is restricted by multiple identities of the woman
  • Class and community override gender in woman’s voting behaviour
    • Gender not an independent variable in voting behaviour
  • The class also criss-cross gender identity in voting patterns and behaviour.
    • Dalit, poor, non-literate, and Muslim women are more likely to vote on religious and community issues.
  • Voting pattern
  • The gender gap in electoral participation. The significant gap of around 8% between men and women voting percentage.
    • the gender gap is narrowing was leased in the 1998 election.
    • Very narrow or positive gaps in NE and small States.
  • Womanless form in their political opinions and policy differences
  • More likely to be guided by their spouse and family members.
  • Party loyalty
  • traditionally has supported Congress of late party loyalty.
The Law Communicants

About the Author

Fiza Firdaus Ansari

2nd year

B.B.A.LLB (Hons.)

Banasthali Vidyapith


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