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

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Sandwiched Nehru

Jawaharlal Nehru’s tryst with secularism and communal politics may be enumerated through a critical rereading of the religious apprehensions expressed by the Christian community over the question of their right to propagation. Was Indian secularism an effective ideological substitute to communal politics or merely a tactical tool for achieving political gains during Nehru’s times? Nehru’s vision of secularism, in having to negotiate the politics of Hindu fundamentalism as well as Congress majoritarianism, was forced to accommodate the flavours of a majoritarian cultural climate with some preferential treatment to Hindu rights.

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.

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.

Can the BJP Achieve a Congress-mukt Meghalaya?

In the months leading up to the February 2018 Meghalaya state legislative elections, the Mukul Sangma-led Congress government has been plagued by a mass exodus of its legislators to the National People’s Party and Bharatiya Janata Party. This article chronicles these defections and conflicts within the party, and the political advantage they afford the BJP in its push for a Congress-mukt Meghalaya.

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.

BJP Snatches Victory from Defeat in Manipur

Even if it has scored convincingly in the short run, there is no guarantee that the new government’s problems are over. It will have to keep its own members of legislative assembly happy when a majority of the cabinet ministers are from the smaller parties that are supporting it.

BJP's short term score in Manipur

The electoral battle is now concluded in Manipur, and the BJP’s victory is nearly definite, pending a floor test. Even if it has scored convincingly in the short run, there is no guarantee that the new government’s problems are over. It will have to keep its own MLAs happy when a majority of the cabinet ministers are from the smaller parties that are supporting it. There is also the manifesto of one of these parties promising the division of Manipur to form Greater Nagaland, a contentious issue.

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

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