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

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Uttar Pradesh: Competitive Communalism Once Again

Uttar Pradesh, a key state in the race for power in New Delhi, is witnessing a resurgence of communal politics after a brief lull in the early 2000s. While the Samajwadi Party’s attempts to win back Muslim support seem to have hit a roadblock after the Muzaffarnagar riots, the Bharatiya Janata Party hopes to revive its earlier appeal by promoting Narendra Modi and the Hindutva agenda. Though the earlier weakening of identity politics was expected to bring in a development-oriented politics, the state remains underdeveloped and caught between political parties that still play the same old electoral cards of division and promotion of strife.

Uttar Pradesh: Competitive Communalism Once Again

Uttar Pradesh, a key state in the race for power in New Delhi, is witnessing a resurgence of communal politics after a brief lull in the early 2000s. While the Samajwadi Party's attempts to win back Muslim support seem to have hit a roadblock after the Muzaffarnagar riots, the Bharatiya Janata Party hopes to revive its earlier appeal by promoting Narendra Modi and the Hindutva agenda. Though the earlier weakening of identity politics was expected to bring in a development-oriented politics, the state remains underdeveloped and caught between political parties that still play the same old electoral cards of division and promotion of strife.

Janadesh 2007: The Land Question

The long march in October of more than 25,000 displaced, landless dalits and tribals from Gwalior to New Delhi to pressurise the central government to form a national land commission and formulate a national land reforms policy was the culmination of many years of struggle, despair and hope of thousands of landless people.

Politics of Preferential Treatment

the existing literature while celebrating assertion by disadvantaged groups and Politics of recognising their need for special representation points to the difficult problems involved in actually implementing them.

Uttar Pradesh in the 1990s

Not only because of its size but also for historical reasons, Uttar Pradesh has always been a key state in the Indian union. Major political movements in independent India, including backward caste and dalit politics and the rise of Hindutva have largely developed here or have significantly impinged on it. Economic backwardness and political populism are among the factors intertwined with the recent history of Uttar Pradesh. Perspectives on many of these issues were explored in a recent seminar in Jawaharlal Nehru University.

Dalit Question and Political Response

In the existing literature the concept of mobilisation is used to analyse electoral strategies employed by political parties to obtain votes from a section of the population - in this case dalits. This aspect has been extensively covered for both Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh during the 1990s. The attempt here is to understand the response of political parties to fundamental shifts in the democratic arena in the 1990s in these two states: the decline of the single-dominant party system and the emergence of narrower political formations based on identity which has created a more competitive environment. The differential patterns of mobilisation employed by the BSP and the Congress in the two states using state power from above to put into effect programmes for dalits in order to enlarge their support base among them are examined.

BSP's Prospects in the Assembly Elections

This article examines the prospects of the BSP in three of the states going to the polls at the end of this year, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and the National Capital Region of Delhi, and concludes that despite the pivotal position that the dalit identity has come to occupy in national politics, there are limits to the growth of the BSP's influence in these states in the forthcoming assembly elections.

Social Capital and Collective Action

With the retreat of the interventionist state, development is often perceived as a product of partnership between the state and civil society with increasing emphasis on people's participation at the grass roots. Using a framework of collective action based upon social capital, this paper examines whether social capital is important for successful development outcomes at the grass roots in forest protection and watershed development. Three villages of Adilabad district in Andhra Pradesh are the focus of the study.

Politics of Language

Once a language patronised by the nawabs, Urdu saw a consistent decline in patronage and support. This paper traces its decline, from the era of divisive colonial politics to the decades after independence, when the language became a victim of an increasingly communalised political arena in UP. It also attempts to unravel the paradox that is Urdu today - a language spoken mainly 'at home' in UP; in western India and in West Bengal, instruction in Urdu has in recent years seen a growing popularity.

Electoral Identity Politics in Uttar Pradesh

Three developments, namely, the decline of parties, poor governance and a growing financial crisis with negative economic growth are collectively responsible for the political instability Uttar Pradesh has experienced. Due to ethnic mobilisation, parties confined to their narrow sectarian bases have been unable to aggregate public opinion, obtain majority support and form stable governments. This has led to short-lived coalitions, which have not been able to formulate long-term policies that can address the felt needs of the people contributing in turn to the breakdown of governance and instability. Fiscal indiscipline by governments has also pushed the state into a debt trap and serious economic decline, which is responsible for the disillusionment among the electorate witnessed in the recent elections. These negative features have developed since the late 1980s. The paper concludes that reform of parties is an urgent necessity without which the prospects of a functioning party system, effective governance and political stability remain dim.

A City and Its People

Fractured Modernity Making of a Middle Class in Colonial North India by Sanjay Joshi; Sage Publications, New Delhi, 2001; pp 209, Rs 493.

Phoolan Devi and Social Churning in UP

Phoolan Devi belonged to the mallah sub-caste within the most backward castes, whose political importance is on the rise in UP now. And her constituency Mirzapur which had sent her to parliament twice has a large BC population including mallahs. This is why Phoolan Devi who by all reports was not taken seriously in parliament by her colleagues, is being so sought after now, in death.

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