[personal profile] coolworld
This letter was sent in response to some incorrect political analogies in the following New York Times article, Voting Complete, India Awaits Deal-Making

Hello Somini Sengupta,
I had a couple of comments on choice of terminology in your recent article, "Voting Complete, India Awaits Deal-Making".

First, you said, "voters went to the polls for the fifth time in as many weeks to choose their next national government."

To the voter unfamiliar with Indian elections, this could confusingly imply that every constituency went to the polls five times, instead of what actually happened -- where different constituencies were polled at different times during this period for reasons of logistics and ensuring security.

Secondly, you refer to the southern state of Tamil Nadu as a "swing state". During American presidential elections, this is meaningful as 48 of 50 states give all of their electoral votes to the winner. However most Indian states and territories have multiple seats in the lower house of India's Parliament, the Lok Sabha. Tamil Nadu, which has 39 seats has 39 separate contests, not just one. J. Jayalalithaa, leader of the AIADMK party of Tamil Nadu, would not be able to deliver all of Tamil Nadu's parliamentary seats -- just those controlled by her party.

In a true parliamentary system, like India, it would be more
appropriate to speak of swing parties.

*insert my real name here*



October 2010

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