ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846
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Theory and Evidence from West Bengal

How Hegemonic Parties Decline

This article examines the electoral disintegration of the Left Front, which governed West Bengal for a record three and a half decades. Contrary to previous research on the fate of erstwhile hegemonic parties, which has emphasised the importance of pragmatism in reviving defeated hegemonic parties, it is argued that the case of West Bengal illustrates a different dynamic. Specifically, it was too much pragmatism, not less, that led to the LF’s rapid demise. The coalition’s inability to pursue a programmatic strategy of industrialisation to tackle West Bengal’s agrarian crisis resulted in massive preference falsification among voters, and subsequently, a swift electoral decline.



 

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