The factors which influence the voting behavior are not the same for each individual and state, and the determinants of voting behaviour change according to time and situation and different factors are significant at different times. Generally, it is observed that 45% to 65% of voters exercise the right to vote in India and the following are the factors that influence voting behavior:
15 Common Factors that Influence Voter Participation in Elections
It is generally seen that as compared to illiterate educated persons in wins more interest in exercising the right to vote because they understand the importance of exercise in their franchise and consider it their National duty to do so. they know that battery sizing the right to vote just and a good chance of electing the government of the choice.
2. Political Consciousness
It is observed that political consciousness generated from the time to time has also affected the voting behavior of Indians. due to the lack of political consciousness at the time of the first general election in 1952, only 44.87 % voters exercise their right to vote.
With the passage of time as the political consciousness develop the proportion of voting also increased and in general elections held in 2014 66.4 % voters exercise their franchise.
The Indian society is caste reading and castism affects the voting behavior of voters in India on a vast scale.
It is often seen that political parties while nominating candidates and voters while exercising their right to vote attached special significance to the cast of the candidate. caste factor is dominant in states like Haryana Bihar Uttar Pradesh Maharashtra Andhra Pradesh Kerala Karnataka Rajasthan etc.
It is generally seen that voters cast their votes favoring candidates from their own caste. seeing the impact of casteism in Indian politics Jayaprakash Narayan had said: “caste is the most important political.”
4. Economic Condition
The economic condition of the people also affects their voting behavior. it is generally seen that the rich people take more interest in the election than the poor because they have enough time and resources, they want to protect their interest and they are able to analyze political problems. The miserable economic condition of the people is also responsible for low voting percentage in India.
Religion also plays an important role in Indian politics. Many political parties have been formed on the basis of religion in India. At the time of the election, many political parties bag votes in the name of religion.
There raise the slogan, ‘religion is in danger’. While distributing party tickets, they give due consideration to the religion of the voters and the candidates. It is often seen that while casting his vote, the voter is also swayed by the religious sentiments and generally votes in favor of a candidate of his own religion.
6. Language Controversies
India is a multilingual state where riots have broken out over language disputes. These language controversies and dispute also affect the voting behavior of the voters. for example in the 1967 and 1971 elections, the DMK security votes of the people by making anti-Hindi propaganda. In Fazilka and Abohar regions of Punjab people exercise their right to vote on the basis of religion.
The feeling of regionalism has been gaining strength on the vast scale in India for the last few years and this feeling has greatly affected the voting behavior of the voters. Regional parties instill a regional feeling in people and encourage narrow feelings of the regionalism.
8. Ideological Commitment
Ideological commitment of the people also affects their voting behavior. Most of the voters are committed to a particular ideology and while casting their vote, they give special consideration to the ideology of the candidate and of the political party. This applies particularly to the supporters of a leftist ideology.
9. Election Manifesto of Political Parties
Election manifestos of the political parties also affect the voting behavior of the voters to a considerable extent. At the time of election different political parties published their election manifestos and distribute them among the voter and Canvass votes from the people on the basis of this manifestoes. Most of the voters, except the over-committed once, cast their votes on being influenced by the programmes and policies of the parties.
10. Charismatic Qualities
The charismatic personality of the leaders also influences the voting behavior of the voters in India. Most of the political parties canvass votes in the name of their prominent and popular leaders, publish their photographs and distribute them among the people and make arrangement for holding in speeches at various places.
For example, members of the Congress canvassed votes in the name of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru up to 1964, in the name of Mrs. Indira Gandhi from 1966 to 1984 and then in the name of Sh. Rajiv Gandhi from 1984 to 1991.
They raised the slogan like ‘Indira Ji Ki Baat par, Mohar Lagegi Haath par’. The main reason for the success of the Janata Party in 1977 was the influential personality of Sh. Jai Prakash Narayan. Telugu Desam Party in Andhra Pradesh, left front in West Bengal, National Conference in Jammu and Kashmir and Lok Dal in Haryana owed their success to the Charismatic personality of Sh NT Rama Rao, Sh. Jyoti Basu, Sh. Sheikh Abdullah and Sh.Devi Lal respectively.
Politicians such as VP Singh in 1989 and Atal Bihari Vajpayee in 1999 had used fan following. It is evident that Indians tend to hero worship prominent politicians, e.g, AIADMK supremo, the former film stars Jayalalitha. Quite naturally this also affects their voting behavior.
11. Populist Slogans
Sometimes, different political parties raise populist slogan according to the need of time and affect the voting behavior of the people.
For example in 1971 election, the Congress slogan of ‘Garibi hatao’, in 1977 election, Janata party’s slogan ‘democracy vs dictatorship’, in 1980 election, Congress (1) slogans of ‘stability versus Anarchy’ and ‘Indira Indira Gandhi Lao Desh Bachao’ and in 1984 elections, Congress one slogan ‘unity and integrity of the country is in danger’ vastly affected the voters.
In 1989 elections, Congress one slogan ‘power to the people and Janata Dal slogan ‘End of corruption and clean administration’ influenced people to the considerable extent. in 1991 elections, Bhartiya Janta Party’s slogan ‘Ram, Roti, insaaf our Ram Rajya and in the election of 1999 the slogan on videshi and Swadeshi greatly affected the people.
In the election of 2014 Bharatiya Janata party’s slogan of ‘Nayi Soch, Nayi Umeed’ (new thinking new hope). Congress (1) slogan ‘Har Haath Shakti, Har Haath Tarakki’ were other such examples.
12. Class Consciousness
The Indian society is divided into various classes and people of different classes are attached to different political parties and always vote in favor of their respective parties. For example, the capitalist and big Zamindar cast their vote in favor of Rightist parties, where is poor farmers and labors vote in favor of the leftist parties.
13. Performance of the Government
It is found that in India wise voters are influenced by the performance of the Government and the government which proves true to their expectations is voted back to power again. for examples in the 1977 elections people voted against the Congress party because of the exercise committed by the Congress government during the period of internal emergency and in 1980 elections people voted against the Janata party due to mutual in fighting in the Janata Party.
14. Personal Contact
Personal contacts of the candidate and the voters also influence the voting behavior of the voters in India. At the time of Election, the candidate visits the homes of voters and requested them with folded and to cash to their vote in the favor. Most of the voters get influenced by this personal visit and cast there votes in there favor. Generally, 5 years past before they again meet that candidate— and then on and identical occasion!
15. Immediate issues
The history of several past elections in India shows that issues arising a little before or during the election also affect voting behavior of the individual. for example, the slogan of ‘Garibi hatao’ raised by Mrs Indira Gandhi at the time of election of 1971 had a magical effect on the poor. In the 1977 election, the issue of ‘democracy vs dictatorship’ was put before the people they gave their verdict in favour of democracy.
In the 1984 election, the assassination of Mrs. Indira Gandhi vastly influenced the voting behavior of the people the Congress secured more than two-thirds majority.
In the 1989 Lok Sabha election opposition parties greatly highlighted the controversial Bofors gun deal. In 1991, assassination of Rajiv Gandhi generated a huge sympathy wave that swept the Congress into power in no certain terms.
Conclusion: From the above account, we can conclude that the voting behavior of the voters in India is not influenced by one particular factor but by many factors. Different factors are Predominant in different regions at different times. In India, the need is not influenced by negative factors but by positive factors like immediate issues, programmes, and policies of political parties, the performance of the Government, etc.