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

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Politics of Governance

In a seminal lecture four years ago, the eminent political theorist, Partha Chatterjee argued that up to the end of the 1970s ideology played an important role in Indian politics. The popularity of a political leader depended on the sacrifices she/he made. But a new paradigm has emerged in Indian politics in the last three decades. The present-day leaders seem to be selfcentred, opportunist, greedy and consumerist persons. Ordinary people are forced to negotiate with such local leaders in everyday life. Violence and the threat of violence have become an organic part of this new “politics of governance”, argued Chatterjee.

The new paradigm may also be helpful in understanding the Communist Party of India (Marxist)’s politics in West Bengal in recent years. It should be noted in this context that the CPI(M)’s national electoral strategy in the recent Lok Sabha election openly bid farewell to ideology. The party floated the Third Front with others. Just a few days before the announcement of the results, the party general secretary, Prakash Karat, was questioned in an interview about his faith in the unity of the Third Front as a cohesive group after the polls, based on ideology and policies. Karat replied: “Not ideology. I was talking about politics… we all share a non-BJP, non-Congress political commitment.”

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