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Book Review: Haryana Assembly General Elections 1967-2014: Case for Electoral Reforms and Good Governance (2019) by Professor SB Dahiya and Dr Suprabha Dahiya
To face the challenges of all kinds in Haryana where Hari came Himself as Lord Krishan, we need good governance which means SMART (Simple, Moral, Action Oriented, Responsive and Transparent) administration.
To do so, the book provides a set of data which records the details of the election results for all the winning and the runner-up candidates, in every Assembly General Elections from 1967 to 2014 in Haryana. This data for each constituency include total electors, total votes polled, polling percentage, the winning and the runner-up candidates, along with their respective parties, percentage of votes of winner to total electors, percentage of polled votes of winner, and the percentage of winning margin to votes polled. This comprehensive set of data provides the foundations of this book. The writers acknowledge the cooperation and support from one and all including Sh. Ashok Lavasa, Election Commissioner of India for writing the foreword. 
As claimed by the learned writers that the central purpose of interrogating these data is to build a case for good governance and electoral reforms, the concept of good governance & its indicators as well as the concept of corruption and its various forms are also introduced for easy comprehension.


To draw policy implications for 2019 elections in Haryana, it is relevant to understand, analyze and interpret the major observations on 2014 General Elections of Haryana which reveals that the electors were highly unevenly distributed between all the 90 constituencies of the state. On an average there were 1,81,153 electors in a constituency. But, on the one hand, Badshahpur constituency had the highest number of 3,17,474 electors. On the other hand, there were only 1,27,967 electors in Narnaul constituency. There were 17 constituencies which had more than 2,00,000 electors in each of these. In another 27 constituencies, the number of electors was between 1,80,000 to 2,00,000. The remaining 46 constituencies had less than 1,80,000 electors. But interestingly all the elected representatives of these constituencies carried equal weightage in the state Legislative Assembly.


It is to be noted with care that the number of total votes polled in all the constituencies were also highly unevenly distributed. On an average 1,37,913 votes were polled in a constituency. But while in Badshahpur constituency 2,17,676 votes were polled, in Narnaul constituency only 96,554 votes were polled. In 25 constituencies, more than 1,50,000 votes were polled. In another 13 constituencies, the total votes polled were between 1,40,000 to 1,50,000. But interestingly all the elected representatives of these constituencies carried equal value of their votes in the Assembly.


It is relevant to note that the polling percentage in the state was 76.13 which must improve in 2019 elections with motivation of the youth. The highest poling percentage was 89.30 in Ellenabad constituency; the lowest polling percentage of 59.93 was in Faridabad constituency. There were wide variations in polling percentage in various constituencies. In 31 constituencies the polling percentage was more than 80; in 33 constituencies the polling percentage was between 75 and 80; in 12 constituencies it was between 70 and 75; in ten constituencies it was between 65 and 70; and in the remaining four constituencies the polling percentage was between 59 and 65. But, interestingly, all the elected representatives of these constituencies carried equal value of their votes in the state Assembly.


It is interesting to note that on an average 55,012 votes were polled to a winning candidate. But wide disparities also existed in the winner candidates? votes. While the highest number of 1,06,106 votes were polled to the winning candidate of Gurgaon constituency, the lowest 29,369 votes were polled to the winning candidate of Safidon constituency. Only seven winning candidates polled more than 80,000 votes. Another 23 were polled between 60,000 to 80,000 votes. There were 15 winners who could get less than 40,000 votes. But, interestingly, all the winners carried equal value of their votes in the state Assembly.


As regards the extent of a winning candidate?s representation of the electors, none could get even 50 per cent of the votes of total electors in the constituency. Only 27 winning candidates could get more than one-third votes of the total electors. In the remaining 63 constituencies, the candidates could get less than one-third votes of the total electors. Interestingly, 20 candidates were voted less than 25 per cent votes of the total electors in their respective constituencies. And three candidates could get even less than 20 per cent votes of total electors. In totality, the state Legislature Assembly could get votes of only 30.37 per cent of total electors in the state, that is, less than one-third of the electors in the state.


The extent of a winning candidate?s representation of the voters, only 17 candidates could get more than 50 per cent of the total votes polled. Another 45 candidates could only get 33.34 per cent to 50 per cent of the total votes polled in their respective constituencies. And the remaining 28 candidates could get less than one-thirds of the total votes polled. In totality, the state assembly which represents the entire population of the state was elected by just 39.89 per cent of the total votes polled in the state.


The average winning margin of the winning candidates was 17,201 votes. But there were wide disparities in the winning margins of the candidates. While the highest winning margin was 84,095 votes; the lowest was just three votes. In four constituencies, the winning margin was less than one thousand only. In 21 constituencies the winning margin was less than 4000 votes. This shows that even a marginal swing in the votes could have changed the composition of the state assembly. The choice of candidates might have had an impact in the voting pattern.


Regarding the percentage of winning margin to total votes polled, five constituencies had less than one percent winning margin. In case of 35 constituencies the winning margin was less than five per cent of the total votes polled. This again points out that even a marginal swing in the votes could have changed the composition of the state assembly. Choice of a candidate might have had a significant impact in voting pattern. 


Let the wise words of wisdom (www) by the learned writers in the timely publication (elections are due in 2019) be kept in mind for working without worries (www- more than the www of the information revolution) for the betterment of the state with electoral reforms to follow administrative reforms to bring Haryana second to none among 29 States and 7 UTs of India by ensuring good governance needed in the State. The political parties in fray for 2019 elections should prove mature in choosing the candidates without criminal records. Professionals and youth deserve better deal by them to participate in politics as a career needed in the healthy democracy.
The book is a useful possession for all the stakeholders of Haryana assembly including politicians from all shades and creed. It deserves to be in the book shelf of institutional libraries and the libraries of the MLAs of Haryana.


*The reviewer is presently Vice Chancellor, Jagan Nath University, Jaipur (Rajasthan) but originally belongs from Kurukshetra in Haryana, where he studied and taught at Kurukshetra University.
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