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Data-based Electoral Analysis: Search for Appropriate Methods

Bashiruddin Ahmed

By P.D. Reeves , B.D. Graham & J.M. Goodman
Manohar Book Service, 1975, pp. 504, Rs. 100.00

By Myron Weiner  & John Osgood Field
Manohar Book Service, 1977 & 1975, pp. 193 & 209, Rs. 60.00 & 70.00

VOLUME III NUMBER 3 November/December 1978

Till the late sixties students of Indian elections and party system used to complain of the dearth of relevant and reliable data needed for undertaking sys­tematic empirical studies in these two areas. The position has changed since then substantially, thanks largely to the efforts of some scholars to develop a data base with the help of officially published statistics, newspaper accounts and re­cords available with various archives and other governmental agencies. Elections in Uttar Pradesh by Reeves et. al. is the pro­duct of one such effort. The authors have put together in this volume a wide range of information about elections in UP to the upper and lower houses of the provincial and the central legislatures and the Constituent Assembly. The information provided includes detailed constituency returns with names and. party affiliations of the contestants. This is done for all general elections and bye-elections from 1920-1946, plus similar information on the triennial elections to the upper house of UP assembly and the 'Primary elections to scheduled caste seats, both of which were held after 1937. Also included is an annotated list of election petitions arising out of elections to the Central Assembly and to both houses of the UP legislature. Finally, there is a biblio­graphy covering electoral rules and regulations and sources of election results.             Notwithstanding the numerous prob­lems encountered in· compiling all this information, the authors have succeeded in putting together an invaluable source book for all those interested in mounting systematic studies of Indian politics in what was essentially the 'seed-time' of representative institutions in this country, viz. the period from 1920 to 1946. The two other books, product of an MIT project started in 1968 by Myron Weiner, also deals with elections. But they differ from the first in at least three ways: (a) they cover five elections since Independence (from the first general elec­tions of 1952 to mid-term election of 1968-69); (b) they offer analysis and inter­pretation of electoral data rather than mere information and (c) deal with aspects of party and electoral politics in more than one state of the Indian Union. These two books form part of a four volume work, Electoral Politics in the Indian States, brought out under the editorship of Myron Weiner and John Osgood Field. The themes around which the MIT volumes are organized are the relationship between voting and modernization and the party and electoral manifestations of ...

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