Pol parties in India.doc

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Political Science
Professor Kanta Murali

Week 13 – Political Parties in India January 7, 2013 Agenda -key concepts and theories -evolution of the party system in India -key national and regional parties in India -disjuncture between national and regional levels -election campaigns -campaign finance -implications Why do parties matter? -linkages between the state and the polity -highlight key policy issues -role in organizing contestation and mobilization -affect outcomes such as economic growth, public goods provision and poverty alleviation General Concepts -party system -above the level of an individual party -the system of competition that comprises a group of parties within the particular political system of a country -characteristics of party system 1) fragmentation – measured by the effective number of parties -how many competitive parties there are in a system? -greater fragmentation doesn’t necessarily mean greater competition 2) ideological distribution of parties -how polarized is a system? -types of party systems -dominant party system Week 13 – Political Parties in India January 7, 2013 -not a one-party system – just that one-party is more likely to win but other parties exist -two-party system -multiparty system Theories on the origins of party systems -social cleavages -cleavages in society are reflected in the party system -eg. class cleavage (of capital and labour) reflected as a “left”/”right” divide within the party system -electoral rules -certain types of rules (proportional representation or first past the post - fptp) affect the party system -all of India follows a simple plurality system -states don’t have different electoral rules -however India still has v. different party systems at the state levels -Duverger’s law -when you have a fptp system - the nature of the party system will tend towards a two-party system -h.e this is violated at the Indian state level Voter Attachments -Why types of factors affect vote behaviour? -policy platforms -party identification – a psychological attachment to a particular party -this is seen in the U.S but not so much in India -economic voting -clientelism -a situation in which public goods are exchanged for political support (vote-buying is an extreme form of this) Week 13 – Political Parties in India January 7, 2013 -social attachments -caste a very key determinant of voting behaviour in India -Voter attachments in India not that based on policy platforms but moreso based on social identity India and the general explanations -party system -has moved from a dominant to a very fragmented multi-party system -no party has achieved a parliamentary majority in the last seven general elections -indian parties very fluid in terms of ideology (Hassan reading) -origins of party -many parties had a history of starting off as a social movement -nature of voter attachments -role of social identity -caste matters a lot in India -role of personality -also v. important for India – a very individual-centered system, and the reason why we see dynastic politics continuing over time, and the success of Indian film stars in politics -clientelism -lack of programmatic competition -policies do matter but not the most important factor in voter behaviour Evolution of the party system in India -dominant party system to a multi-party system -key phases in the evolution of India’s party system -1952-1967 Week 13 – Political Parties in India January 7, 2013 -Congress almost completely hegemonic -however, even at the height of dominance, its highest vote share was about 47% of vote share -very rarely does one party get more than 50% of the votes -in 1967 – Congress still the dominant party, but there was competition within the system -1967-1989 -Congress vote share drops dramatically -Indian party system in a flux – Congress on the decline (but not totally a multi-party system) -more bipolar competition -1989-present -no single party at the national level has won a majority of seats -party fragmentation increasing -note – in the post 1989 context you can actually become the head of a coalition gov’t with only a small proportion of the vote share -consequence of FPTP Key national parties Congress -one of the two main parties at the national level -Congress – left of centre -BJP – right-wring Hindu nationalist party -nationalist movement to party -seamless transition to a party after independence the result of its organizational structure -organization -1950s and 1960s – elaborate structure (patronage politics – chains linking the villagers to the national level) -decline in organizational capacity after split in 1969 Week 13 – Political Parties in India January 7, 2013 -Indira Gandhi’s policies – active deinstitutionalization -gave way to politics of personality - congress was the face of the state at the local level at the 1960s -big change in the present-era – congress party functionaries rarely present at local level -who votes for the congress? -catch-all character at the national level but regional differences -various caste and class groups (national level) -major disjuncture between the catch-all nature at the national level and then at the state level BJP -ideology -right-wing Hindu nationalist party -history has fluctuated between being a more militant social movement and a more moderate political party -background -formed in 1980 – but out of pre-existing hindu nationalist elements -history of hindu nationalism -hindu nationalist movement marginalized as long as Nehru’s secular ideals reigned supreme (until the 1970s) -RSS – banned by Ne
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