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Revisiting State Level Parties

Today, on the eve of the elections to the 14th Lok Sabha we are witnessing a very competitive party system. While the decline of the Congress can be seen as a moment of 'opening up' of party competition it has also brought with it a convergence among the competitors that obfuscates the advantages of the openness. Does it then mean that the moment of opening up is also constitutive of a closure? The following collection of articles may help in resolving this riddle. The articles, revisiting the phenomenon of state level parties, attempt to locate the new spaces created by them and the effects of their accommodation within the framework of all-India competition.

Shiv Sena: A Tiger with Many Faces?

The expansion of Shiv Sena took place in the 1980s and it shot to prominence at the national level in the 1990s. The last two decades have witnessed the rise of Shiv Sena as an important political force in Maharashtra. What does the Shiv Sena stand for? Is it a narrow, parochial, 'Marathi' organisation? Is it a militant Hindu communal organisation? Does it represent the revolt of the lower middle classes? Is it a network of culture guards, or is it an expression of cultural populism. This paper seeks to trace this evolution of Shiv Sena and the political and organisational context in which Shiv Sena operates.

India and China:Comparative Perspectives

India and China: Comparative Perspectives Crossing a Bridge of Dreams: 50 Years of India-China edited by G P Deshpande and Alka Acharya; Tulika, New Delhi, 2001; pp 538, Rs 750

Triangular Competition and Bipolar Politics

Given the localised form of the recently held municipal and zilla parishad elections the results may not be seen as a verdict on the state government. However, a statewide election stretching over three months is bound to generate debate on many public issues and to prompt considerable mobilisation of public opinion tapping the potential for further political configurations. An analytical view of the issues that emerged through the campaign in the context of the emerging volatility of the political process in the state.

Triangular Competition and Bipolar Politics

Given the localised form of the recently held municipal and zilla parishad elections the results may not be seen as a verdict on the state government. However, a statewide election stretching over three months is bound to generate debate on many public issues and to prompt considerable mobilisation of public opinion tapping the potential for further political configurations. An analytical view of the issues that emerged through the campaign in the context of the emerging volatility of the political process in the state.

Why We Must Oppose Review of Constitution?

While it is public knowledge that the Sangh parivar never celebrated the republic day Why We Must Oppose and thus registered its dislike of the Constitution, the Ayodhya agitation gave them the courage and space to openly float Review of Constitution?

Maharashtra : Manipulative Politics Continues

Though the present ruling alliance of the SS-BJP has not endeared itself to the electorate, sections of the traditional maratha following of the Congress which are not prepared to accommodate the dalits or the OBCs, have become vulnerable to the appeals from the Shiv Sena and the BJP. In such a scenario, the task before the Congress leadership would be to disintegrate the mythical maratha vote and to seek to build new alliance of the poor maratha with other nonmaratha castes including the dalits. This will virtually mean writing a fresh text in the politics of the state.

New Avatar of Caste Challenges before-Sociologists

New 'Avatar' of Caste: Challenges before Sociologists Suhas Palshikar Caste: Its Twentieth Century Avatar edited and introduced by M N Srinivas; Viking, New Delhi, 1996; pp xxxviii+306, Rs 300.

Gandhi and Ambedkar

Gandhi and Ambedkar Suhas Palshikar IN response to my piece 'GandhiAmbedkar Interface; Where Shall the Twain Meet?', (EPW, August 3, 1996, pp 2070-72). Anupama Rao ('Arguing against Inclusion', EPW, February 22, 1997, pp 427-28) has found fault with my argument mainly on two grounds. Firstly, she accuses me of "historical amnesia regarding the various challenges to a homogeneous national identity..." (p428) and secondly, she complains that my piece is based on an abstract notion of emancipation (p 427) and as such does not ask concrete questions for the present (p 428). I am grateful to her for bringing to the fore complexities involved in both the question of nationalist identity and the emancipatory project.

Mapping the Sites of Contestation

Political Theories and Social Reconstruction: A Critical Survey of the Literature on India by Thomas Pantham; Sage, New Delhi, 1995; pp 230, Rs 265.

Gandhi- Ambedkar Interface-...when shall the twain meet

Gandhi-Ambedkar Interface ...when shall the twain meet? Suhas Palshikar Gandhian and Ambedkarian discourses are not antithetical. Both are concerned with the issue of emancipation. At present when the legitimacy of the emancipatory discourse is being challenged and the dominant discourse upholds capitalism, it is all the more essential to broaden the scope of Gandhian and Ambedkarian discourses.

MAHARASHTRA: Capturing the Moment of Realignment

This paper, based on an attitude survey of the Maharashtra voters two weeks after the voting took place for the 1995 assembly elect ion, argues that in terms of the social base, the BJP or Shiv Sena, singly, does not compare favourably with the Congress Party. Their alliance, therefore, is inevitable. In this background, the state politics is likely to witness a two-fold competition: The alliance will try to win over the remaining social base of the Congress. Simultaneously, the alliance partners will be silently engaged in usurping each other's following in a bid to replace the Congress.

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