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

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Changing Contours of the Political Regions of Karnataka

Media reports of the recent Karnataka assembly elections tended to see the state as made up of distinct regions and marked their boundaries to accord with the political–administrative territories prior to their unification in 1956. While a residual presence of regional identity still persists overdetermining class, caste and community relations, linguistic and speech practices, religious and cultural sensibilities, politically, the region has come to mean very different things in the electoral battlegrounds of the state. In recent years, equations across castes and communities have been recast precipitating intense social churning and political realignments within and across regions of yore.

Tamil Nadu’s Summer of Discontent

Not a day passes in Tamil Nadu without a protest by common people. In fact, some protests have been going on for months. Why is Tamil Nadu in ferment? Why are more and more people hitting the streets in anger? It is all because of a general distrust of the central government and the popular media. The people’s agitations crossed a certain line in the case of the demand to stop the Indian Premier League matches being played in Chennai, thus creating a divide in Tamil Nadu.

Last Lap of the Karnataka Elections

Congress Chief Minister Siddaramaiah faces no severe criticism for his tenure, but there are constituents of Karnataka that are unhappy with the incumbent government. Sections of the Lingayats firmly back the Bharatiya Janata Party in parts of central and northern Karnataka, which challenges the Congress’s prospects of a second term. The Janata Dal (Secular) is also a force to reckon with in south Karnataka. However, overall, the contest will probably be a close one, primarily between the Congress and the BJP.

How BJP Appropriated the Idea of Equality to Create a Divided India

Right-wing populism has managed to turn the traditional progressive political practices on their head. The BJP began with a critique of poor implementation of NREGA through a discourse on corruption, but gradually resignified it into a critique of welfare itself; anger against growing economic inequalities leads to the election of more pro-corporate government. This article looks at the future of right-wing populism in India, arguing that instead of a moral rejection, we need to undersand the "moral structure" on which it builds its politics.

Mayawati’s Financial Tangles and the Cost to Dalit Politics

Bahujan Samaj Party leader Mayawati seems to be focused on settling scores with her former confidantes-turned-foes. Meanwhile, attacks on Dalits are intensifying and the newly-formed Bhim Sena seems to be a greater attraction for Dalit youth in the state.

AAP has Decimated a Historic Mandate for Alternative Politics

The AAP stung by its recent series of electoral losses is politically pulverised and in a state of total denial that it decimated a historical mandate for alternative politics and lost a golden opportunity to position itself as the principal opposition to the BJP. AAP’s confrontational encounters and politics of antithesis have eroded their electoral base.

Party with a Difference?

From adopting winnability as the core principle of nominating candidates to removing political appointees of the previous government, and in dealing with governments of opposition parties, the behaviour of the Bharatiya Janata Party has been so much like the Congress that the latter would rejoice in the assurance that there is no mukti from its ways and manners. The crucial difference between the BJP and other parties is that it is able to instil a sense of destiny not just among its rank and file but also the general public and convince it that the party is doing desh seva while others have been doing only politics.

India’s Second Dominant Party System

The conflation between nationalism and Hindutva has been the backbone of the new hegemony. That is why the Bharatiya Janata Party has been so happy with intellectuals trying to problematise the nation. That particular intellectual initiative simultaneously places the BJP in a position of immense advantage and ensures that “anti-BJP” would necessarily be equated with the anti-national! Independently, both ideas—Hindutva and development—are potent political discourses. By weaving them together with nationalism, Narendra Modi has bound them into an arsenal of his political offensive.

Messages, Mathematics and Silences in BJP’s UP Win

The Bharatiya Janata Party consolidated the support of the “leftover” castes such as the Gujjar, Tyagi, Brahmin, Saini and Kashyap who are not counted in the typical matrix fashioned for years on the basis of the “dominant” groupings like the Jats, Muslims and Dalits. Accompanying the mathematics were a slew of ideas about Muslims and Yadavs as oppressors, and a strategic silence so as to not polarise all Muslim votes to benefit the BSP.

India’s Second Dominant Party System

The conflation between nationalism and Hindutva has been the backbone of the new hegemony. That is why the BJP has been so happy with intellectuals trying to problematise the nation. That particular intellectual initiative simultaneously places the BJP in a position of immense advantage and ensures that “anti-BJP” would necessarily be equated with the anti-national! Independently, both ideas—Hindutva and development—are potent political discourses. By weaving them together with nationalism Narendra Modi has bound them into an arsenal of his political offensive. Therefore, the coming times would be less about electoral victories and more about the onward march of this hegemony in the realm of popular imagination; about how democracy shapes up in Modi’s new India.

Aam Aadmi Party as Third Player in Punjab Politics

Despite huge organisational and political blunders, the Aam Aadmi Party is still a substantial player in Punjab's electoral politics. It does not have the organisational network that the Akali Dal has nor a popular leader such as the Congress' Amarinder Singh. However, its emergence in the state has brought to the fore the issue of regional versus Delhi-centric control of party decisions and politics

Evaluation of SAD–BJP Government (2007–17)

Regarding the performance of the Shiromani Akali Dal–Bharatiya Janata Party alliance government since February 2007, available trends suggest that there exists a gap between the claims made by the government and the actual work done. The perceptions of the people, based on empirical evidence and ground-level reality, suggest tough times ahead for the ruling alliance.

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