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The changing face of Indian state assemblies

The last series of state elections before India goes to polls to elect the central government concluded this month. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) lost power to Congress in three key states — one of the biggest losses for the party in local elections since 2014. With the change, the BJP now rules 15 states, while Congress controls six.

Who runs which state in India

BJP

BJP and allies

Congress

Congress and allies

Communist

Other

CHINA

PAKISTAN

BHUTAN

New Delhi

NEPAL

BANGLADESH

MYANMAR

Puducherry

SRI LANKA

How power has shifted in different Indian state assemblies over time

2013PERCENTAGE OF SEATS →0255075100%RajasthanMadhya PradeshGujaratChhattisgarhGoaDelhiUttarakhandHimachal PradeshBiharJharkhandKarnatakaMaharashtraJammu & KashmirUttar PradeshPunjabArunachal PradeshHaryanaOdishaAssamNagalandAndhra PradeshTripuraMizoramManipurKeralaMeghalayaWest BengalPuducherryTamil NaduSikkim

A constant rise in saffron

Today, the BJP controls a third of the total seats in Indian state assemblies. Contrast that with two decades ago —— when the party had less than a fifth. Meanwhile, Congress has gradually faded away, from its peak in the 80s to half of that today. The dominance of regional and other national parties in the state assemblies remains significant, while communist parties have limited popularity in particular regions.

PERCENTAGE OF SEATS HELD IN STATE ASSEMBLIES

0

50%

75%

25%

100%

1980

BJP is formed soon after the era of Janata Dal. The party bags its first set of seats in state assemblies of Bihar, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat

RULING PARTY AT THE CENTRE

As Congress regains control of the central government, it also starts winning state elections

1985

1990

BJP forms its first state governments in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Himachal Pradesh

1995

BJP forms the state government in Gujarat

Under Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s leadership, the BJP forms the central government

2000

As the Manmohan Singh government stays in power in New Delhi, Congress maintains momentum in state assemblies as well

2005

2010

Parties other than the BJP and Congress start gaining relevance again

Narendra Modi’s government is formed in New Delhi

2015

BJP gains government control in Tripura, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand

Congress gains seats in Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan

2018

Varying trends

Regional politics vary from state to state. While some continue to remain strongholds of certain parties, others have seen a recent change in power despite historical dominance of another. In other states, power changes hands every election, making anti-incumbency a major factor.

Recent shift in power despite being strongholds historically

ARUNACHAL PRADESH50%’80’90’00’10’18

CHHATTISGARH’80’90’00’10’18

BJP lost to Congress in Chhattisgarh for the first time in the recent elections

DELHI’80’90’00’10’18

Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party comes to power in 2013

TRIPURA’80’90’00’10’18

BJP overtook CPM in Tripura for the first time in 2018

WEST BENGAL’80’90’00’10’18

Power changes hands every election

HARYANA50%’80’90’00’10’18

HIMACHAL PRADESH’80’90’00’10’18

KARNATAKA’80’90’00’10’18

KERALA’80’90’00’10’18

Kerala is the only state where a communist party is still in power

RAJASTHAN’80’90’00’10’18

UTTARAKHAND’80’90’00’10’18

Regional parties as the driving force

BIHAR50%’80’90’00’10’18

Janata Dal (United) and Rashtriya Janata Dal dominate

JAMMU & KASHMIR’80’90’00’10’18

ODISHA’80’90’00’10’18

SIKKIM’80’90’00’10’18

TAMIL NADU’80’90’00’10’18

Northeast India has been historically dominated by Congress and regional parties

ASSAM50%’80’90’00’10’18

MANIPUR’80’90’00’10’18

MEGHALAYA’80’90’00’10’18

MIZORAM’80’90’00’10’18

NAGALAND’80’90’00’10’18

For other states, a set pattern is harder to identify

ANDHRA PRADESH50%’80’90’00’10’18

GOA’80’90’00’10’18

GUJARAT’80’90’00’10’18

Gujarat remains a BJP stronghold since 1995

JHARKHAND’80’90’00’10’18

MADHYA PRADESH’80’90’00’10’18

After winning three consecutive elections, BJP lost by very few seats this year

MAHARASHTRA’80’90’00’10’18

PUDUCHERRY’80’90’00’10’18

PUNJAB’80’90’00’10’18

UTTAR PRADESH’80’90’00’10’18

Sources: Election Commission of India. The Indian State Assembly Election and Candidates Database 1961- today (Jensenius and Verniers 2017), Trivedi Center for Political Data.
REUTERS

18/12/2018

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