"Of the 12 largest states that account for 440 of the 543 Lok Sabha seats, the Congress and BJP together contested in 82 per cent of the seats in this election, the highest since 1996. This can be viewed as an indicator of the national parties’ confidence in contesting elections across the country on their own vis-à-vis a pre-poll alliance with a regional party. Historically, there has been a negative correlation between the number of seats contested by the national parties and their winning percentages, that is, the more seats they contest, the lower their overall vote share, thus emphasising the significant influence of regional parties and the need for alliances.
In a piece titled ‘Why waves don’t matter’ (IE, April 2), I argued, using electoral data, how India’s national elections in the past have really been a series of state elections held simultaneously where voters voted on more local, state-specific issues or trends and not as per any national narrative. Even during the supposedly national anger-wave sweeping the country against Indira Gandhi’s Emergency in the 1977 election, the southern states of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Kerala accounted for nearly 25 per cent of all Lok Sabha seats that voted for the Congress."
Read the full article here.