Research paper at Ashoka University that delves into BJP poll sparks political controversytext_fields
Mumbai: A research paper titled 'Democratic Backsliding in the World's Largest Democracy,' by a faculty member at Ashoka University, has created turbulence in the political realm as the paper suggests that the higher rate of BJP's election successes is in constituencies where the competition between political parties is tight, and the margin of victory is relatively narrow.
The faculty member Sabyasachi Das, an assistant professor of economics at the university, delves into the BJP's electoral performance in closely contested constituencies. The research highlights a disproportionate win by the BJP in states where it was the ruling party at the time of the election. The paper suggests that the density of the incumbent party's win margin experienced a discontinuous jump at the threshold value of zero, indicating a greater BJP advantage in closely contested constituencies where they held power.
Das claimed that the BJP won a disproportionate number of closely contested seats in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, particularly in states where it was in power. He suggested possible electoral discrimination against Muslims, partly due to weak monitoring by election observers.
Das asserted that the BJP's alleged electoral manipulation seemed to include targeted discrimination against Muslims, possibly facilitated by inadequate monitoring by election observers.
The study explores the election manipulation hypothesis, suggesting that such manipulation occurs at the booth level and could be more prevalent in constituencies with a high number of state civil service officers from BJP-ruled states.
However, Das clarified that the research doesn't provide proof of fraud and does not imply widespread manipulation. The paper examines irregular patterns in the 2019 general elections, exploring whether they result from manipulation or precise control by the incumbent party.
While the Congress MP from Kerala, Shashi Tharoor, defended the academic freedom of the researcher and urged the Election Commission and the Central government to address the evidence presented in the paper, BJP MPs, including Nishikant Dubey and Pravesh Singh Verma, questioned the validity of the research. They accused the paper of discrediting India's democratic framework without substantial evidence.
In response to the growing controversy, Ashoka University issued an official statement clarifying that the paper had not undergone critical peer review and had not been published in an academic journal. The university emphasized its commitment to promoting excellence in research and teaching but stated that it does not direct or approve specific research projects undertaken by individual faculty members.