ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

Articles By Dwaipayan Bhattacharyya

Of Conflict and Collaboration

The transformation of party society in West Bengal under the Trinamool Congress in which only Mamata Banerjee commands universal loyalty is traced. She has built an architecture of power that makes extensive political use of governmental resources, allows local party bosses to run their own fiefdom in exchange of total allegiance, and plays dangerously with religious, ethnic, and caste identities. On their part, the enterprising party leaders as “franchisees” use “Brand Mamata” in their bid to capture and retain territorial power. While such “franchisee politics” of “non-corporate crony capitalism” triggers unprecedented corruption and unlimited electoral violence, it also produces an economy requiring cooperation across religious and ethnic lines as a precondition for meeting people’s livelihood. By combining partisan conflict with social collaboration on the foundations of party society, West Bengal’s franchisee politics places a structural deterrence for the rapidly emergent Bharatiya Janata Party and its politics of religious polarisation.

Left in the Lurch: The Demise of the World's Longest Elected Regime?

Losses by the long ruling Left Front in a series of local and national elections since 2008 cannot be explained without an understanding of the nature of "party-society" in rural West Bengal. The preponderance of the party over the social space, the transformation of the party from a hegemonic force into a violative one and ultimately the ruptures in the "party-society" have all gone on to loosen the dominance of the Left Front in West Bengal. As marginalised civil society reasserts itself and as the opposition coalesces around the resentment engendered against the ruling coalition, a new kind of oppositional politics is emerging in West Bengal, possibly on identitarian lines.

Of Control and Factions: The Changing 'Party-Society' in Rural West Bengal

The changing conditions in two villages of West Bengal - Galsi and Adhata - give a picture of the emerging issues and dynamics of the state's rural political economy. This paper attempts to explain these complexities in the light of the idea of a "party-society". It also shows that the initial impetus of land reforms failed to result in productive investments in agriculture and the marginalised sections feel increasingly alienated from the institutional politics of the party-society

Politics of PDS Anger in West Bengal

A combination of factors have been responsible for the incidents in late 2007 involving the public distribution system in West Bengal. While the central policy of Targeted Public Distribution System and decreased allocations to the state have been primary contributory factors, local level dynamics that have affected the panchayati raj system are also of significance. This article tries to combine a field study in rural West Bengal with macro-level analysis to analyse the problem.