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Lecture 6

POL328Y1 Lecture 6: Political Change in India

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University of Toronto St. George
Political Science
Kanta Murali

POL328 Lecture 6: Political Change in Contemporary India Key themes: • Decline of congress and increasing party fragmentation o Era of coalition governments from 1996-2014 o Links to political space • Mandal commission report and the transformation of lower caste politics • Rise of Hindu-Nationalism and the BJP • Economic reforms and consequences • Economic change is important because it’s the period when high growth rate occurred in India Discussion: dynastic politics and democracy • Political families formed a central aspect and variety of other family members come to prominence because of their family members • There is a dynamic element in Indian politics • What does dynastic politics reflect in democracy of these countries? o Should we think of symbolic attachment as something that undermines of the performance of democracy o Culture is a changeable concept but to an extent, it tends to be weak • We tend to find that voters tend to react to symbolic because of nature of patronage, it’s not a cultural value to vote on symbolic attachment • At the micro level, we need to think about whether other types of institutions and safe guards exists • Need to think about it in micro and macro level when we look at India democracies and other South Asian countries • Series of monumental transition economically and politically in India • When Rajiv Ghandi died in 1984, won a mandate because of developing in relation to her assassination • This was a period when congress domination begins to decline • In 1989, Rajiv Ghandi loses power to a coalition of Congress parties • Between 91, and 2014, minority of coalition governments between 1916-2014 • Made up of more than 20 parties or so • This period heighten political fragmentation and considerable instability • Three significant Events of the 1990s o Mandal Commission Report (1990) ▪ Changed the nature of affirmative action in India, expanded it ▪ We see an increasing participating in marginalized groups in India democracy, you’re more likely to vote today if you’re poor o Market Reforms (1991) ▪ Happened on the back of balance of payment crisis India had ▪ it changed the relationship between business and politics in India o Babri Masjid Demolition (1992)—Mosque ▪ Rise of Hindu nationalism India under Rajiv Ghandi (1984-1989) • Entry into politics after his mother’s assassination • Attempts to change o Attempts to change Congress ▪ Trying to reform the Congress, suggesting that there needs to be greater internal party of democracy ▪ Begins by signing a negotiating with other moderate leaders, but fails in many ways ▪ System in trench prevents him from any concession of violence and failures of many ways undermined any substantial ▪ He talks about scientific progress, closer links to the private sector [different from his mom] ▪ Very different from mother in terms of economic ideology ▪ His mother used very leftish policies but he attempts to have much closer relationships with the private sector and put them centre o Punjab o Technocratic approach o Economic changes o IPKF in Sri Lanka ▪ Send peace keeping force to Tamil Tiger to Sri Lanka in this period o Policy failures ▪ Declining popularity • Corruption scandal over purchase of army set from Swedish government ▪ National front victory (1989) o Assassination in 1991 ▪ Mixed of left and right parties, cannot get along with each other ▪ And 1991, India goes back into elections ▪ While campaigning elections, he was assassinated by Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka for sending IPKF • National Front (1989-1991) and Congress (1991-1996) o National front (1991-1996) ▪ Coalition of anti-Congress opposition parties ▪ Mandal Commission recommendations o Congress (1991-1996) ▪ Minority government ▪ Economic reforms Political Fragmentation: Era of coalition governments (1996-2014) • Political fragmentation and coalition governments o United front (1996-1998) o BJP-led coalitions (1998, 1999) o BJP-led NDA (
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