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

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Social Capital, Panchayats and Grass Roots Democracy

A study of the new panchayats of UP provides an opportunity for understanding the role played by social capital in the functioning of democratic institutions in segmented societies. A key finding of the study in two districts of UP, Meerut and Azamgarh, is that segmentation arising out of caste/class divisions is a significant contextual variable in determining the development of trust, social capital between groups and democratic functioning.

Elections 1999 - Uttar Pradesh :BSP's New Electoral Strategy Pays Off

The issues over which political parties fought elections in this state throughout the politically volatile decade of the 1990s - mandir and and Mandal - are increasingly becoming irrelevant. In this fluid situation the BSP has emerged a winner in the present elections, retaining and consolidating its dalit vote base even as it evolved a carefully planned electoral strategy which effectively expanded its caste base.

New Political Trends in Uttar Pradesh-The BJP and the Lok Sabha Elections, 1998

The BJP and the Lok Sabha Elections, 1998 Sudha Pai In order to understand the emerging trends in Uttar Pradesh politics, this paper traces the shifts in the party system in the state since the late 1980s, The paper argues that despite the BJP's attempts to moderate its hindutva ideology and style of campaigning, leading to some broadening of its social base, it has not emerged as a broad- based aggregative and dominant party in UP on the lines of the Congress, With the SP and the BSP remaining strong regional parties with distinct bases capable of challenging the BJP, there are structural limitations to the BJP's expansion. As a result, the party system in UP is still in a state of flux.

COMMENTARY-Pradhanis in New Panchayats Field Notes from Meerut District

Field Notes from Meerut District Sudha Pai AT independence the Constitution granted women equal rights of suffrage and participation in the political process. This arose out of the important role played by them in the national movement, In the post-independence period while women have entered the workforce even in the professional field, their role in politics has remained marginal. Those who have managed to enter parliament have had little impact upon the policy-making process. Against this background, the 73rd constitutional amendment passed in April 1993 by parliament, and ratified by all the state governments by April 1994, which gives women 33 per cent of the seats at all levels of the panchayat system is a significant measure. It has been widely perceived as a crucial step for empowering women and raised hopes for their increased participation in local decision-making structures, This brief study argues that the impact of this measure on women's participation has been differential. In states where the social status of women has traditionally been better, and levels of literacy, participation in the workforce and even in local politics higher, women have been able to take advantage of the new measure. In Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Maharashtra, prior to the new legislation, women had contested elections, occupied reserved positions and contributed to the functioning of panchayats. In the all- women panchayats this was even more clearly recognisable. Quite a few studies had pointed out the difference that women members made to the nature of the decisions, and the process by which they were formulated. Power meant giving priority to issues like drinking water supply, installation of pumps, construction of toilets, village wells and roads, appointment of teachers, closing of liquor shops, etc. There were instances, as in Vitner village in Jalgaon district (Maharashtra) where women got playgrounds built, land transferred to 127 women from their husband's share, and toilets constructed in the SC areas. Conscious of their increasing housework and the need to have some free time and save energy, the women in Pidghara (Madhya Pradesh) went for a 27-point action plan that took up the building of educational and other community- based infrastructure. The experience and action agenda of the seven-member panchayat of Brahmanghar of Pune district has been similar In other parts of the country where women's position in the family and society, and participation in public affairs has traditionally been low, the reservation measure has not produced much change. This is particularly true of states in the northern plains, such as Uttar Pradesh as is evident from a study of the role played by the elected pradhanis' in three villages of Meerut district given below. It shows that reservation alone cannot change the status of women in the family and society , and thereby ensure their participation in local bodies. The study also shows that rise in family income and improved lifestyle, due to better educational qualifications,or invest- ment in business by male members does not make a difference. The position of women, and the perception that they have little knowledge about and are incapable of taking part in public affairs, even of independent voting, remains strong. The pradhanis in our sample villages are mere namesake representatives of the male members of their household.

Dalit Assertion in UP-Implications for Politics

Dalit Assertion in UP Implications for Politics Sudha Pai The imminent transfer this month of the chief ministership from Mayawati to Kalyan Singh, as part of the unique power-sharing experiment between the BSP and the BJP, raises the significant question of the future direction of the dalit movement in UP.

Quebec Separatism-October Referendum and Beyond

Since the 1960s Quebec has experienced the most powerful separatist movement in the west. The referendum held in October 1995 failed to garner a majority of votes for sovereignty, but the campaigns have led to a hardening of attitudes between Francophones and Anglophones.

ANDHRA PRADESH-Elections and Fiscal Reform

Elections and Fiscal Reform Sudha Pai Election can affect the content and alter the pace of the implementation of economic reforms in a democratic polity by introducing political compulsions that the leadership cannot ignore. This paper analyses the impact of the state assembly elections in Andhra Pradesh in November 1994 on the ongoing attempts at fiscal stabilisation by the Congress government at the centre.

TADA and Indian Democracy

Sudha Pai Laws like TADA give extensive powers to the state vis-a-vis ordinary citizens, thus providing grounds for its misuse. THE increasing authoritarianism of the state has long been a major concern for analysts of Indian politics. The 1980s witnessed the enactment and extensive use of laws, such as TADA, which perm it non-justiciable forms of detention. These evidences of state authoritarianism in the face of growing economic and political crises, raise questions of public accountability and rule of law as the foundation of democracy.

State and New Liberal Agenda in India

the left. The rally declared Laloo Yadav as the illegitimate' product of the 70s movement and projected the CPI(ML) struggle and the social forces unleashed by it as its true legatee. According to this logic the JP impulse failed because it could not link itself to the most oppressed sections of the populace which constitute the radical base for a genuine programme of social change.

Understanding Indian Politics

Sudha Pai Diversity and Dominance in Indian Politics, Vol I: Changing Bases of Congress Support, Vol II: Division Deprivation and the Congress edited by Ramashray Roy and Richard Sisson; Sage, New Delhi, 1990.

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