In the previous instalment of Election Metrics, we looked at bellwether constituencies, whose representatives were part of the last four governments. In this instalment, we will look at the states. How have different states performed in terms of influencing Parliament? In other words, what proportion of representatives from different states has been part of the ruling coalition in the last four terms of Parliament?
Again, as in the earlier piece, we will only look at each Lok Sabha as it was constituted and ignore bye-elections. Also, we will look at the government as it stood at the constitution of the Lok Sabha and ignore any further changes in coalition partners.
For the purpose of this analysis, we will consider parties that lent outside support to the government as being part of the government.
The first table shows the influence of each state in each of the last four Lok Sabhas. The data indicate that while the difference in policies of different governments can be seen as a difference in policies across political parties, it can also be seen as a difference in policies across regions.
For example, in the 1998-99 government, 55 parliamentarians from Uttar Pradesh were part of the ruling coalition, while the number dropped to nine by the 2004 elections. Thus, it would be useful to analyse the policies of the 1998-99 government and that of the 2004-09 government in terms of their impact on Uttar Pradesh, since the state played such varying roles in these two governments.
Similarly, notice that the impact of West Bengal and Kerala shot up in 2004 (with the Left and the Congress, traditional rivals in these states, coming together at the centre) and has remained high. Could the leftward movement in government policies since then be in response to this? This is not a conclusive finding, but is definitely worth investigating.
Next, we will look at the percentage of parliamentarians from each state that have been part of the ruling coalition. The second table lists this for the major states (10 or more seats in Parliament) along with the maximum and minimum of this value over the last four elections.
It is pertinent to notice that in each of the past four elections, at least 60% of all MPs from Tamil Nadu have been part of the government. In fact, in 2004, all 39 of them belonged to the ruling coalition. Similarly, leaving aside the short-lived coalition of 1998, at least 80% of the parliamentarians from Andhra Pradesh have been part of the ruling coalition. Any disproportionate benefits to either of these two states from the policies of the last three governments should be seen through this lens.
On the other hand, Karnataka has not seen more than 36% of its MPs being part of the ruling coalition, leaving aside the short-lived 1998 government. To its benefit, though, the proportion of MPs from Karnataka being part of the Union government has never fallen below 20%.
Also interesting is the case of Chhattisgarh, which was created in 2000. In the two general elections that took place since its creation, the state has seen only one out of its 11 MPs being part of the ruling coalition.