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

The Micro-Politics of Vote Banks in Karnataka

M N Srinivas coined the term "vote bank" in his 1955 essay, "The Social Structure of a Mysore Village". Today the term - rooted in obligation and reciprocity - is used throughout India by scholars, media personnel and political parties to refer to the exchange of benefits and favours to citizens in return for their political support. Vote banks in Karnataka are reviewed for similarities and differences between the 1955 definition and modern operations in Indian electoral politics. While the structure of vote banks remains largely unaltered, three changes in Indian politics have shaped the meaning of obligation and reciprocity in modern vote banks: the rise of party competition, changes in identity politics, and economic growth and reform.

Subscribers please login to access full text of the article.

New 3 Month Subscription
to Digital Archives at

649for India

$20for overseas users

Get instant access to the complete EPW archives

Subscribe now


(-) Hide

EPW looks forward to your comments. Please note that comments are moderated as per our comments policy. They may take some time to appear. A comment, if suitable, may be selected for publication in the Letters pages of EPW.

Back to Top