ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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India's 2014 Lok Sabha Elections

Critical Shifts in the Long Term, Caution in the Short Term

A clear majority for the Bharatiya Janata Party in the Lok Sabha and its spread across most states in the 2014 general elections marks a departure from the electoral outcomes of almost a quarter century. The BJP's success was made possible, among other factors, due to its electoral strategy of reinventing social engineering in what may be termed as its second transformation. As a result, it secured significant support among the Other Backward Classes as well as scheduled caste and scheduled tribe voters to gain a winning edge. Besides this, its promise of development and the projection of Modi as a strong and decisive leader attracted support among the lower and middle classes. This will have far-reaching implications to the structure of party competition in the coming years and shape the post-Congress polity. However, enthusiastic over-readings of the mandate would pose a challenge to the BJP even as it searches for ways to entrench itself as a dominant national party in India.

The authors wish to thank CSDS Data Unit, especially Himanshu Bhattacharya, Shreyas Sardesai, Jyoti Mishra and Avijit Bhargarh for their help. All tables and graphs are based on data provided by the CSDS Data Unit. Parts of the arguments here were presented by Suhas Palshikar at a workshop held at King’s India Institute, King’s College, London, and also at the Public Panel Presentation at the same institute on 11 June 2014.

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