Political Parties and Party Systems

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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2003-06-23
  • Publisher: Sage Publications Pvt. Ltd
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The evolution of political parties and party systems in the world's largest, most complex and volatile democracy reached a crucial stage at the turn of the century. The three general elections held in quick succession at the end of the nineties threw up three major trends; the apparent demise of the Congress Party as the dominant pan-national party; the emergence of a 'federalised' party structure and coalition politics; and the decline of the Third Front as a force in national politics. This topical collection of original essays by eminent scholars drawn from diverse disciplines examines these wide-ranging changes in political parties - their leadership, ideological profile, support base and programmatic content - as well as in the texture of the party system in the country. In understanding these complex processes this volume provides a comparative framework by bringing in the experiences of Germany and the European Union which are undergoing similar political transformation. The 'federalisation' of national politics and the significant transformation in India's political sociology are examined at four levels. 1. the statues and strategies, interaction patterns and processes of India's innumerable political parties as well as key questions governing the party system in the country; 2. the texture and pattern of political alliances from the national perspective - particularly, how alliances with regional parties are viewed and made by national parties; 3. conversely, the perspective of the regional parties in making these alliances; and 4. the impact of the 73rd Constitutional amendment on parties and politics at the local level and in small states. Overall, this volume provides an incisive and comprehensive analysis of the far-reaching changes in both party systems and electoral behaviour that have occurred since the end of the twentieth century. Constituting an important contribution to the on-going debate on these issues, this volume will attract the attention of students of Indian politics, political science, democracy, party systems and comparative politics.

Table of Contents

List of Tables 9(2)
List of Figures 11(2)
List of Abbreviations 13(3)
Preface 16(5)
1. Introduction 21(28)
Ajay K. Mehra
2. Historical Development of the Party Systems in India 49(34)
Ajay K. Mehra
3. Federalisation of India's Party System 83(17)
Balveer Arora
4. The Party System in Germany and Party Fragmentation in the European Union 100(29)
Karl-Rudolf Korte
5. Social, Cultural and Economic Dimensions of the Party System 129(33)
Amit Prakash
6. How Many Parties are too Many? 162(19)
Pran Chopra
7. The Electoral Framework, Process and Political Parties 181(28)
Madhav Godbole
8. Parties, Civil Society and the State in India 209(15)
S.K. Chaube
9. The Congress and the BJP: Struggle for the Heartland 224(20)
Partha S. Ghosh
10. The Third Front or The Third Force: A Political Maze or an Ideological Oasis? 244(26)
Bidyut Chakrabarty
11. The Third Force: As an Ideology and as a Reality 270(18)
Muchkund Dubey
12. The National Parties and the Regional Allies: A Study in the Socio-Political Dynamics 288(18)
Pradeep Kumar
13. The Regional Parties and Democracy: Romantic Rendezvous or Localised Legitimation? 306(30)
Suhas Palshikar
14. The Contest for the Marginal Space: Parties and Politics in Small Indian States 336(30)
Sajal Nag
15. Mediating Economic Reforms: Party Politics from Bangalore to Chennai 366(18)
Harish Khare
16. Local Democracy and Political Parties in India 384(13)
Sandeep Shastri
About the Editors and Contributors 397(3)
Index 400

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