Donna and Joe have finished their assignment in India. Occasionally they still travel somewhere.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Green States and Orange States

Not a great photo which I snapped with my phone. The sign in the Food Bazaar store on the top floor of Bangalore Central mall says
Wine Palace
Counter Closed
16-5-09 To 17-5-09, 6pm
Due to Election Counting

Actually the counting was over and the event of 16 May was the announcement of the results. All wine and liquor stores were also closed from 3 days before the elections through the voting day. Eliminating liquor sales at the time of voting is primarily to reduce the number of votes that are "purchased" with liquor. On the day the results are announced, I presume it is to reduce wild celebrations by the winners and rioting by the losers. The national elections here are held on staggered dates across the country to make security and logistics more manageable. Because the government did not believe they could provide security for both, the Indian Cricket League is holding it's tournament in South Africa. Voting in Karnataka was over a month ago. But by law no results and no exit polls are released until yesterday, when the election commission official announced results at noon.

This year at a national level the winners were green, but here in Karnataka it was a good year for orange. Just as in the U.S., red has become the color for the Republican party and blue the color of the Democratic party, here in India green is the color for the India National Congress party (Cong) and orange the color for Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). BJP translates to Indian Peoples party and is viewed as a Hindu party. India has a multiparty parliamentary system in which people across the country elect representatives to the Lok Sabha, the lower house of parliament. The party with the most members will now try to find enough partners in that house to form a government.

This morning's Times of India lists 29 parties that have at least one of the 545 seats in the Lok Sabha after this election, plus 8 independents. Effectively the race was between two alliances of parties: the UPA (United Progressive Alliance) lead by Cong, and NDA (National Democratic Alliance) lead by the PJP. Another alliance, the Third Front, was hoping to be in a position to play king maker. Since the UPA, which is currently in power, won with nearly enough seats for a majority, they expect little trouble picking up enough partners to stay in power.

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