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

Articles by Yogendra YadavSubscribe to Yogendra Yadav

Electoral Politics in the Time of Change

The popular reading of the last decade of electoral politics is of a rapid decline and impending collapse of Indian democracy. This essay attempts to contest this all too familiar view from above without yielding to the temptation of building its mirror-immage. The changing outcome of the electoral game in this decade is seen here as the reflection of a fundamental transformation in the terrain of politics which in turn is anchored in the process of social change. The voters choose differently in this decade, for, the structure of choice inherent in elections has undergone a change. Yet the choice often turns out to be far from the act of sovereignty that the fiction of liberal democracy makes it out to be.

On Remembering Lohia

During his life, Rammanohar Lohia paid the price for three "sins" that the opinion-making class could never forgive him for - he attacked Nehru repeatedly at a time when Nehru was god-like, he led a vigorous and voluble campaign against English and he publicly questioned upper caste dominance and advocated caste-based affirmative action. No wonder Lohia was persona non grata to the upper-caste, English-speaking elite, from Congress supporters to communists. The Nehru-left dominance of Indian academia and media ensured that a caricature of Lohia became his dominant image. On the occasion of his birth centenary this year, there has been fortunately a renewed political curiosity about Lohia and there is some reason to hope that serious, meticulous and critical scholarship on his politics and ideas may indeed take off. This special issue on the thought and politics of Rammanohar Lohia is offered in this hope.

What Is Living and What Is Dead in Rammanohar Lohia?

In judging Rammanohar Lohia's ideas, this essay excavates their philosophical foundations and reconstructs his political doctrine in line with these beliefs and his political programme. It examines Lohia's relationship with modernity and the role this played in his thinking, while looking at his analytical tools in terms of his distinctive theory of history and its implications for his understanding of India. It sheds light on his innovative recasting of the doctrine of socialism, the idea of equality, and the political and economic model of a socialist society. After paying close attention to his theory of political action and the contents of his political programme, as well as his limitations, it attempts to determine Lohia's place in the history of ideas in the 20th century and his relevance to our time.

Was Lohia Parochial and Monolingual?

Rammanohar Lohia has been incorrectly portrayed as a Hindiwalla and a Hindi chauvinist. A perusal of his writings on the language subject clearly shatters such a portrayal.

Between Fortuna and Virtu: Explaining the Congress' Ambiguous Victory in 2009

Election 2009 saw a comprehensive triumph for the United Progressive Alliance. But the initial impression of an overwhelming mandate for the Congress needs to be corrected. A close scrutiny of the outcome shows that the Congress "victory" was ambiguous and owed a lot to movements that were not of its making. Shifts in the "third electoral system" worked against the politics of identity and made the quality of government an issue. The Bharatiya Janata Party's inability to hold on to its new social bloc resulted in a depolarisation that benefited the Congress. The victory of the Congress also came about because the voters had a mildly positive image of its governance record and welfare measures. Yet in the end this verdict was more about politics than chance. A shrinking of the National Democratic Alliance, a positive image of the upa government and its leadership gave the ruling coalition a decisive lead before the campaign formally began.

Principal State Level Contests and Derivative National Choices: Electoral Trends in 2004-09

Political choices in a national election increasingly derive from the competitive format, electoral cycle, political agenda, participatory pattern and social cleavages defined in state politics. In this sense, the political choices made at the state level are mostly "principal" and those made at the national level are increasingly "derivative". But state level politics shapes and filters rather than pre-determines the national outcome. Using this framework and the trends in 2004-09, this study attempts to understand the structure of contestation that will shape the final outcome in the coming Lok Sabha elections. The complex pattern of principal outcomes and timing in the political calendar shows that neither of the two major national alliances can sweep the polls nor be swept away in the 2009 Lok Sabha elections. In all probability, we are going to witness one more election in which no single party or pre-poll alliance is likely to get a clear majority and one where the smallest of changes in individual states is likely to have a major impact on government formation in New Delhi.

Redesigning Affirmative Action

Arguing for better policy design in affirmative action, this paper presents an illustrative model of a feasible alternative to caste quotas. The proposed model is evidence-based, addresses multiple sources of group and individual disadvantage (caste, region, gender and rural/urban residence), as well as interaction effects and degrees of disadvantage. Such an approach allows us to demonstrate that affirmative action is not about "appeasement" but about eliminating sources of tangible disadvantage in our unequal society.

The Elusive Mandate of 2004

Six months after results were declared, the outcome of the 14th general elections still remains a puzzle, presenting many-sided issues that continue to be much debated. The set of papers in this collection attempts to unearth a clearer meaning behind the mandate of elections 2004 from the questions that each pose. Why did these polls not yield a decisive verdict and a simple mandate like elections of the 1970s and 1980s? Moreover, given that the range of possible outcomes was so narrow and the choices before voters limited, why was the NDA unable to hold on to power and why was the final result such a clear verdict against it? A question of more short-term interest to political actors and election strategists is why did such an unpopular government led by the most popular leader of the moment lose the elections. The papers in this collection use the immense body of data generated by the NES 2004 to make an informed intervention in this contested terrain.

Reconfiguration in Indian Politics-State Assembly Elections, 1993-95

Reconfiguration in Indian Politics State Assembly Elections, 1993-95 Yogendra Yadav The assembly elections in as many as 16 states between November 1993 and March 1995 provided the first full view of India's post-Congress polity. The elections ushered in a new era in the country's politics, marking the beginning of the third phase in the reconfiguration of the party system.

Political Change in North India-Interpreting Assembly Election Results

The consequences of the state assembly elections in November are so clear and in some ways so welcome that it is tempting to read off meanings from consequences. The real meaning of the election results is, however, a different matter, A preliminary attempt to uncover it, first, by outlining some of the statewise patterns and, second, by discussing some of the larger trends in north Indian politics.


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