- The BJP polled only 31% votes nationwide but won 52% seats in the parliament (282/543). Even more strikingly, the BJP polled only 42% votes in U.P. but won 89% seats (71/80).
- BSP polled 4.2% votes nationwide (3rd highest after BJP and Congress) but won 0 seats. In U.P., the BSP polled 20% votes but won 0 seats.
- Both AIADMK in Tamil Nadu and Trinamool Congress in W. Bengal polled fewer votes than BSP (and only a bit more than BSP in U.P.), but won 37 and 34 seats, respectively (vs. 0 for BSP).
- SP polled 18 M votes in U.P. but won only 5 seats, whereas the Shiv Sena polled only 10 M votes in Maharashtra and won 18 seats.
- About half of all Indians voted for regional parties, not national parties. 69% of the people voted for a party other than the BJP.
These examples show how India’s parliamentary democracy, owing to its first-past-the-post voting system, fails to represent the political preferences of its citizens. This is in addition to the fact that elected politicians in India also do not represent its citizens sociologically (they’re far more likely to be upper caste, wealthier, Hindu, male, urban, etc.). According to the economist Jeffrey Sachs, "The first-past-the-post election tends to produce a small number of major parties, perhaps just two, a principle known in political science as Duverger’s Law. Smaller parties are trampled in first-past-the-post elections." Alternatives that reduce the drawbacks of FPTP exist. Isn’t it time to rekindle the debate on making Indian democracy more representative, both at the political and sociological levels?