The Majoritarian Challenge and an Ambedkarite Remedy

The greatest weakness of Indian electoral politics, as practised within the Westminster model adopted at independence, is the reward it offers for the politics of exclusion. Several reforms are possible in the electoral system to ensure that the politics of polarisation is not advantageous. If India is not to become a republic of privilege where many are denied basic rights, this aspect must be addressed.

As the countdown to the world’s biggest election begins, the air is suffused with political invective. Coarse rhetoric in the political arena, where civility at the best of times is at a premium, is not unique to India. Yet, the present times seem different, since the invasion of incivility is worldwide, perhaps most striking in liberal democracies that are believed to have overcome that affliction.1

Basic liberal principles like the formal guarantees of equality and the freedom of expression, are under challenge from the highest political platforms. According to United States (US) President Donald Trump’s narrative—which has won him a large constituency among underprivileged whites—illegal immigrants gouging on undeserved entitlements are responsible for the material deprivations and insecurities faced by citizens. Trump also gestures towards ethnic and racial minorities, branding all dissenters from the conservative ideology as cultural warriors to be isolated and ostracised.

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Updated On : 22nd Feb, 2019

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