Times of India, March 6, 2007
One hates to be a spoilsport. But the interpretations being made about the election verdict in three states involve three common but erroneous assumptions.
Assumption one is that whoever has won the election has secured a popular mandate. Assumption two is that the popular mandate for the three states in the three corners of the country can be added up.
Assumption three is that the sum total of the mandates reveals a national mood.
The results of this election are a good example of verdicts that may not involve a popular mandate. Just look at the margin of victory in these states.
The rough vote share figures available at this stage suggest that the gap between Congress and BJP was less than three percentage points in Uttarakhand.
Both the parties got less than one-third of the popular votes. The gap was a little higher in Punjab, about five percentage points, but was very unevenly spread in different regions. [more]