Is There A Link Between Spiking Onion Prices And Elections?

Difficult to conclude, one way or the other. We took data on monthly retail prices for Delhi for the period between 2008 and 2017, and charted it. On this, we overlaid dates of state elections. In the visualisation below, the orange bars represent months when state elections were held, while the blue bars represent months that did not see elections.

Of the 17 election blocks here, there are two blocks where onion prices do surge unusually in the lead up—in November 2013 and November 2015. But otherwise, they don’t. They move in a narrower band most of the time, rising occasionally in months that are draw away election ones.

What do you think? Is there any other factor at play here?

Data sources: National Horticulture Board (onion prices), Election Commission of India (election dates)


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A Two-Horse Race In Himachal


It’s a two horse race in the Himachal Pradesh assembly elections. Delhi government is considering re-instating the odd-even scheme. Mary Kom clinched her fifth gold in the recently concluded Asian Women’s Boxing Championship. India is likely on track to achieve its targets for green house gas emissions.



What is it? The number of candidates in the fray in the 68-seat Himachal Pradesh assembly, the elections for which are being held today. Both the BJP and Congress are contesting from every constituency.

Why is it important? Himachal has been a two-horse race, with the BJP and the Congress taking turns to lead it. For the BJP, Himachal matters as another addition to its state count, an objective it has pursued with intent since returning to power at the Centre in 2014. For the ruling Congress, it needs to stop BJP’s expanding footprint.

Tell me more: Of the 68 candidates each fielded by the two national parties, 59 Congress candidates and 47 BJP candidates have declared assets above Rs 1 crore. The results will be declared on December 18.



What is it? If the Delhi government today decides to enforce the odd-even scheme for vehicular movement in the capital—number plates ending with odd and even digits on alternate days—this will be the third time in two years.

Why is it important? Air pollution levels in the National Capital Region continued to remain in the “severe plus” category, with readings yesterday even rising to 10 times that of Beijing, another city infamous for bad air.

Tell me more: As of March 31, 2016, there were 9.7 million vehicles registered in Delhi. Of this, 6.1 million were motorcycles and scooters, and 3 million were cars and jeeps.



What is it? The number of gold medals Indian boxer Mary Kom has won at the Asian Women’s Boxing Championship, the latest being on Wednesday.

Why is it important? This is her maiden gold in the 48 kg category of the tournament. Also, this is Kom’s first international gold medal in the last three years (since the 2014 Asian Games) and her first medal in over a year. In all, she has clinched five golds and a silver in all editions of the championship.

Tell me more: The 35-year-old pugilist shifted to the 48 kg category, which she says suits her better than the 51 kg from which she made a switch last year after five years of competing in that category.



What is it? The amount the United States government has announced it will grant to organisations for ideas and projects to promote religious freedom in India and Sri Lanka.

Why is it important? The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) has changed its stance on religious freedom in India: from ‘no large-scale incidents’ in 2008 to it being on ‘a negative trajectory’ in 2015. In 2009, the USCIRF had put India on its ‘watch list’ with respect to this issue. India, which believes that no foreign entity has the locus standi to pass comments and judgment on the constitutionally protected rights of Indians, has denied visas to USCIRF’s members for seven straight years, as reported last year.

Tell me more: Indian applicants to this US grant are expected to submit proposals that develop and implement early-warning systems to quell large-scale violence, implement conflict-management systems between majority and minority groups, and counter hateful messages with positive ones using all forms of media.



What is it? The number of countries (of 25 emitting countries/regions), including India, that are likely or roughly on track to achieve their self-determined unconditional 2025/2030 targets for greenhouse gas emissions with currently implemented policies, according to a new report.

Why is it important? The report projects that India is likely to overachieve its 2020 pledge of reducing emissions per unit of GDP (gross domestic product) by 20-25% over 2005 levels. However, it adds, no definitive conclusions can be made as this is dependent on future economic growth. The projections made by India in its Draft Electricity Plan of 2016 for stabilisation of coal capacity at 250 GW in the next decade and the expansion of renewable energy to 275 GW by 2026/27, if implemented, would “have a substantial impact on emissions”.

Tell me more: The other nations/regions that are expected to achieve their targets in the next three years are Brazil, China, Colombia, Japan, Mexico, the Russian Federation, Turkey and Ukraine.


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Elections 2017 | Do they really care about women in politics?

So much for their talk of smashing gender barriers and supporting a law to reserve one-third of legislative seats for women: all frontline political parties have given even fewer tickets to women candidates in the ongoing assembly elections as compared to 2012.


Share of women candidates: overall

If the overall share of women candidates has risen or is stagnant, it’s not because of the mainstream political parties. It’s because of a new party (Aam Aadmi Party) and independents.




Share of women candidates: by party

Be it Punjab, Goa or Uttar Pradesh. Be it the Congress, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Samajwadi Party (SP) or the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP). All of them have given a smaller percentage of tickets to women in Assembly Elections 2017 compared to 2012.




Difference between women and men in 2017

Compared to men, women candidates are more educated, have a cleaner criminal record and are less wealthy.




Difference between women candidates in 2012 and 2017

Compared to 2012, women candidates in Assembly Elections 2017 have become wealthier. There are more businesswomen in the fray and fewer homemakers.



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Data analysis of the Maharashtra MLA batch of 2014

This piece originally appeared on Livemint.com


The dominant personality in the Maharashtra assembly is male, poorly educated, rich and named in a criminal case. Here’s how the Maharashtra MLA batch of 2014 breaks down on five key indicators, across 288 constituencies and the four major parties.


The Maharashtra assembly elections were a poor example of gender representation. There are only 20 women among the 288 MLAs, or 6.9%.

Only 138 women, or 8% of all candidates, entered the fray in Maharashtra. Congress led with 27 women candidates, followed by the Bharatiya Janata Party with 23, the Nationalist Congress Party with 13 and the Shiv Sena with 9.

BJP women candidates delivered a 48% success rate, with 11 of the 23 getting elected. Congress had 5 winning women candidates, NCP 3 and the Shiv Sena none.

Only two women, both from the BJP, featured in the list of top 15 victory margins: Madhuri Satish Misal from Parvati constituency (winning margin of 36.4%) and Medha Vishram Kulkarni from Kothrud constituency (32.8%).

Seven of the 20 women MLAs have criminal cases against them. The maximum is against the MLA from Ulhasnagar, Jyoti Pappu Kalani of NCP (10 cases).


The good news: 54% of the elected MLAs are graduates and above. The bad news: 43% of the MLAs have studied only till school.

While 41% of the candidates were graduates or more, this set accounts for 54% of the elected MLAs.

Women MLAs are better educated than their male peers. Fourteen out of the 20 elected women MLAs, or 70%, are graduates or postgraduates.

Among major parties, the BJP and the Congress lead in terms of percentage of their MLAs being graduates and postgraduates, with 59.5% from each. This figure for the NCP is 51.2% and for the Shiv Sena 43.5%.

Criminal Cases

Criminal cases did not play a major role with the electorate: 58% of the winners have declared criminal cases against them (against 30% at the candidate level).

According to the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR), 39% of winners have declared serious criminal cases (against 21% at the candidate level).

At 64.3%, the Congress has the highest percentage of MLAs with no declared criminal case. At 24.6%, the Shiv Sena has the lowest percentage of MLAs with no declared criminal case.

60 MLAs—including 29 from the BJP and 17 the from Shiv Sena—have more than five criminal cases against them.

The MLAs with maximum number of criminal cases against them are Sadanand Shankar Sarvankar from Mahim and Suresh Urf Balubhau Narayan Dhanorkar from Warora. They are both from the Shiv Sena and have 27 cases each against them. Next is Devendra Fadnavis, BJP MLA from Nagpur South West, with 22 cases.

Net Worth

Money matters: 83.7% of the Maharashtra MLAs have a net worth of more than Rs1 crore.

Among major parties, the NCP leads the way in net worth: 37 of its 41 MLAs, or 95%, have a net worth of more than Rs1 crore, followed by the Congress (88%), Shiv Sena (82%) and BJP (79%).

23% of the MLAs have a net worth of above Rs10 crore. Once again, the NCP leads major parties, with 33% of its MLAs featuring in the above Rs10 crore net worth bracket.

Abu Asim Azmi, the Samajwadi Party MLA from Mankhurd Shivaji Nagar, is the richest, with a net worth of Rs149 crore.

In the top 10 list of MLAs with the highest net worth, five are from the BJP.

Margin of Victory

Because of the pre-poll splits between the two major alliances, Shiv Sena-BJP and Congress-NCP, the votes were fractured: 31% of seats were decided by a margin of below 5%.

The NCP won nearly half of its seats by less than 5%. Likewise, the Shiv Sena won about one-third of its seats by a slender margin of below 5%.

The Congress won 43% of its seats with a margin of 5-10%.

BJP received the most thumping mandates, winning 31% of its seats by a margin of above 20%.


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