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

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Provincialisation of ‘Transformative’ Politics

The left and the Dalit political parties put limits on the transformative politics that draws its support and sustenance from the normative ideals available in Karl Marx and B R Ambedkar. Arguably, these limits spring from the conditions of provincialisation of transformative politics into instrumentalities that are internal to electoral democracy.

As most of the election studies show, the logic of elections in parliamentary democracy enthuses among its contenders a fierce sense of competition to capture or be in formal political power. However, for the left, and to some extent for some Dalit parties, elections have turned out to be less of a competitive scenario and more of a matter of predicament. It is a predicament in the sense that the kind of self-limiting1 electoral politics that these parties have given rise to seeks to limit the impact of emancipatory thinkers,2 both in terms of time and space. In terms of space, the impact of ideas gets confined to the electoral constituencies; and in terms of time, the parties choose election time to create the impact of these ideas either with direct or indirect reference to the ideas of these thinkers. However, this is not to suggest that these parties send these ideas on a holiday during the time that falls between two elections. The political parties and their followers do invoke these ideas for pan-Indian mobilisation.

Put differently, these parties in each general election tend to apportion the political impact of universal ideas only to a narrow space as they put up their candidates more or less in a limited number of constituencies. The enormity of these thinkers’ powerful ideas as the motivating force for the party cadre actually fades away in winning a seat here and a seat there, or in retaining political power in a relatively tiny state.

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Updated On : 6th May, 2019

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