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

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Dynamics of a Working Democracy

Examining the micro politics of a single constituency, this study tries to explore the relationship between the empirical and the theoretical in a working democracy. By detailing the dynamics of electoral and party politics in the context of a constituency which suffers from a "development deficit", the study examines the place of political leaders, party strategy, political ideology, political rhetoric, youth participation, voter loyalty, identity mobilisation, etc, in the democratic process. To engage with these issues of democracy-in-practice the study has chosen to look in detail at the case of political nomadism (defections) in the constituency and to see how both, the political institutions set up to regulate it and the political calculus of parties, have responded to such behaviour. By using an ethnographic approach and an attitudinal survey, the study raises questions related to representation, institutional regulation, and the tension between act and rule utilitarianism in a working democracy for the public discourse in India.

P oinguinim is the 40th assembly constituency (AC) in the state of Goa. This AC was created in 1989 by dividing the Canacona AC into two: Canacona and Poinguinim. The AC has 21 polling stations (PS) and is divided into four panchayats: Poinguinim, Loliem,1 Cotigao and Gaondongri. Since its creation, Poinguinim has witnessed six elections: four assembly elections and two by-elections. These two by-elections were held recently in the space of eight months, October 2004 and June 2005. Both the by-elections were caused when the sitting MLA Isidore Fernandes resigned from the legislature and re-contested each election on a different party platform.

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