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Indian Politics

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Indian Politics. Nehru Dynasty 1947-1996 Years of Competition 1996-present Two Party System? Two Half Parties? Regional parties?. 1. Nehru Dynasty. Jawaharlal Nehru Indira GandhiRajiv Gandhi 1947-1964 1966-19771984-1989 1980-1984. Congress Party. - PowerPoint PPT Presentation
  • Indian PoliticsNehru Dynasty 1947-1996Years of Competition 1996-presentTwo Party System?Two Half Parties?Regional parties?

  • 1. Nehru Dynasty

    Jawaharlal Nehru Indira GandhiRajiv Gandhi1947-1964 1966-19771984-1989 1980-1984

  • Congress Party

    Manmohan Singh Sonja Gandhi Rahul GandhiPM President General Secretary of the Party(one of nine)

  • Congress IdeologySecularismSocialist economics 1947-1991Economic Reform 1991-presentManifesto for 2009 elections

  • Congress Dominates

    Election YearSeats for CongressSeats for Second Largest Party1952364161957371271962361291967283441971352441977 (lost power)154298 (Janata Party alliance)1980 353351984415301989 (lost power)1971431991 (formed coalition)226120

  • Indira Gandhi

  • Congress (I)

  • Congress after Indira Gandhi1984-19891991-1996Rajiv GandhiP. V. N. Rao

  • 2. Years of CompetitionFactorsEnd of Nehru DynastyEconomic reformCorruption in CongressRise of regional, religious, caste-based parties

  • Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)Hindutva (Hindu Nationalism)RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh)

    19842198988199112019961601998176 1999182

  • OthersLeftist partiesCommunist Party of India (Marxist) Regional partiesAIADMK (All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhigam) regional party of Tamil Nadu state Janata Dal (Secular) (Karnataka, Kerala)Telugu Desam Party (Andrha Pradesh)Samajwadi Party (Uttar Pradesh)Caste-based PartiesBahujan Samaj Party

  • Why Did Congress Party Lose its Appeal?Nehru Dynasty overCorruption1991 Economic Reforms

  • 1947-1991Socialist Economic PolicyNationalizationNational Planning Commission 1950Five Year PlansHindu Rate of Growth -- 3.2%

  • 1990s Economic Crisis

  • Political-Military Crisis 1989-90

  • The ReformsOpen up economy to foreign investmentPrivatizationEnding government control of economyReduce government regulationExport Processing ZonesArchitect of reformsFinance Minister Manmohan Singh

  • Economic Results (from BBC News: China and India, Key Facts; http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/shared/spl/hi/guides/456900/456964/html/nn3page1.stma)

  • Political Results1996 Election

    Party1991 Seats1996 SeatsCongress225136BJP119160

  • BJP ConstituencyElites who benefit from government policyGovernment employeesBusiness protected by the governmentPoor who live off government assistanceAnti-affirmative action groupsHindu nationalists

  • 1996 ElectionBharatiya Janata Party (BJP) 160 Congress Party 136National Front 110

    National Front forms government

  • 1998BJP forms governmentNational Democratic Alliance (15 parties)

    PM A. B. Vajpayee 1998-2004

    Indian nuclear testsMay 1998

  • 1998 ElectionBJP 176 Congress Party 140United Front 97

  • 21st Century: Congress RegroupsSonia Gandhi

  • 1999 ElectionBJP 182 Congress Party 112

    BJP/NDA remains in power

  • 2004 ElectionBJP/NDAIndia Shining vs. Congress/United Progressive Alliance (UPA)

    It is a contest between the Congressand the BJP that is systematically undermining the very essence of Indian civilization and destroying the very idea of India. 2004 Election Manifesto

  • 2004 ElectionBJP 138Congress Party 145 (UPA 219)Left Parties56

    UPA and Leftist parties form coalition

    PM Manmohan Singh

  • 2009 ElectionBJP 116Congress Party 206

    UPA retains power

    PM Manmohan Singh

  • Challenges and DevelopmentsTwo parties or Two Half PartiesRegional partiesCan Congress get beyond the Dynasty?

  • 1. Two parties or Two Half Parties?272 (273) the magic number!Stability?


  • 2. Regional Parties2009 Lok Sabha

    2 National parties1 semi-national party (CPI-M) with seats in four states39 Regional parties

  • 3. Congress and the Nehru Dynasty

  • Liberhan Commission ReportNarendra ModiChief Minister of Gujarat

    *******This slide explains, in part, why India had to reform its economy. India has no energy resources of its own. It had been reliant since independence on cheap oil from the USSR. This was one of the ways India played both sides of the Cold War. It consistently negotiated a cheap price for oil from the USSR in return for holding out the promise that India might one day side with the USSR in the Cold War. However, one of Mikhail Gorbachevs economic reforms when he came to power (1985) was moving the Soviets to a market-based economy, away from a command economy. This mean asking states such as India, who bought a lot of Soviet oil, to start paying market prices. India couldnt afford to pay those prices. At about the same time that the Soviets were asking India to pay market prices for oil, Iraq invaded Kuwait. This drove up the price of oil. So very swiftly India found itself stuck borrowing money just to pay its energy bills. Also, an interesting point is that the USSR abandoned its command economy before India did (USSR 1986; India 1991). Ironic.*What made the economic crisis even worse for India was a political-military crisis that hit in 1989-1990. As we discussed earlier, India and Pakistan had been fighting over Kashmir since independence in 1947, with wars between the two nations in 1947, 1965, 1971 (over Bangladesh), and very nearly in 1986. The conflict entered a new phase in 1989. This gets complex. Go back to 1979. The Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan. Rebels in Afghanistan (Mujahadeen) fighting the USSR were backed by the US, China, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt (and others). Pakistan was the staging point for most of the Afghan factions who were fighting the USSR. Pakistan had a military government at the time (came to power in 1977). That government also had made a pact with Islamic radical political parties in Pakistan. The deal was simple: those parties would support military rule in exchange for control over most of the education system in Pakistan. With that control they attempted to teach Pakistani children a hatred for the West, India, the US, the USSR, and all forms of moderate Islam. So as different Afghan factions began fighting the USSR, Pakistani territory became the place for most Afghan refugees. The refugee camps were controlled by the radical Islamic parties of Pakistan and they taught the refugees their radical ideology. At the same time, radical Islamic fighters from all over the Middle East and Asia flocked to the region to join the fight against the USSR. By the way Osama bin-Laden ran the biggest recruiting agency for people to come to the region to fight the Soviets. Who trained the Afghan fighters? Pakistan. Who trained the foreign radicals? Pakistan. The Soviets withdrew from Afghanistan in 1989. So what does Pakistan do at that point. Theyve got tens of thousands of well-trained Pakistani, and Afghan soldiers, as well as soldiers from other nations sitting in Pakistan ready to fight another war to defeat foreign enemies. Pakistan turned them loose against India in Kashmir. An insurgency began in 1989-1990 that by the mid-1990s was killing 10,000 people a year. (A lot of the foreign fighters went back to their home countries and started or joined radical terrorist organizations; one of the ones that began in 1988 and has flourished since was called al-Qeada. You might have heard of them.Now add that to the previous slide. Indias economy begins to collapse just at the point where it is being challenged by Pakistan. It has to continue spending money on defense or it will lose Kashmir. In short, India is on the verge of bankruptcy and dismemberment (the loss of Kashmir might encourage separatist movements throughout India -- Punjab, Arunachal Pradesh, and more). The result. India is forced to abandon its command economy and begin economic reforms. We talked about those in class and they are summarized on the next slide.*The one thing we did not talk about in class regarding this slide is Manmohan Singh (the happy gentleman pictured in the slide). He is a Harvard-trained economist who developed the reforms. He is also currently the Indian Prime Minister. Back then he was Finance Minister. Hes been PM since 2004.*The results of the economic reforms. Indias economy has soared. It still has horrendous bureaucracy, huge governmental intervention in the economy, and still a license raj (see the readings) that inhibit progress. But Indias economic growth rate has been 2-3 times its old 3.2% Hindu Rate of Growth from the Nehru command economy. When people say that the future of the 21st century will be decided by the relationships between the US, China, and India, it is because the 1991 economic reforms freed the Indian economy. Now India is an economic giant. However, 80% of the people are still in agriculture. It still has the poorest of the poor in the world. India has a lot of work to do. Most economic debates during elections since the 1990s have been about how India brings the economic reform to the poor the 300 million or so Indians who have absolutely nothing. *Ironically, the politically results have been that Congress has been punished for the reforms. The reforms , while benefitting many and in theory benefitting everyone in the long run, can be frightening to people who see a new uncertainty to the economy. People who felt that they had benefitted from the old command economy (government bureaucrats, people who worked for the government-controlled industries for example) saw the economic reforms as a threat to their status and income. They abandoned Congress for regional parties, case-based parties, religious parties, and the BJP.*These are the groups that moved to the BJP. The first four are categories that felt threatened by the economic reforms. The latter two categories were groups of more conservative Hindus. They resented the affirmative action for lower castes. They were higher caste citizens and always hated the affirmative action policies of Congress. Now they had a party that supported that idea. Also, and obviously, people who were more orthodox Hindu saw the BJP as a way of combating Congress secular policies, policies that they had never liked.*This is the first election where the BJP challenged Congress. But the BJP was unable to form a government. They were so anti-Muslim and so anti-affirmative action and so strident that they did not get one single party to join them in a coalition. They won 160 seats, 113 short of the 273 they needed to form a government (remember the way India chooses PMs). They didnt get one single extra MP to promise to vote for their PM candidate (A. B. Vajpayee). So the National Front formed a government. The Indian President didnt ask Congress to form a government because Congress had been the big loser in seats (compared to their 1991 showing). Congress actually voted for the National Front PM candidate, but did not officially join the National Front coalition (voting for the PM candidate, but refusing to take any positions in the new government).*In 1998, the National Front coalition collapsed (a no-confidence vote brought it down; both Congress and the BJP felt they would benefit from anew election). In the 1998 election, the BJP took the largest number of seats again (see the next slide). This time, it found allies. It formed a coalition called the National Democratic Alliance (NDA). This is still the name of the coalition. Essentially, think of it this way. The BJP alone is about 2/3 of the way to 273, so it is essentially a half party. It has a core group of allies (regional and religious parties) that help it get to 273. Thats the NDA. That is important!!!!! Its 1998 campaign was not anti-Muslim or anti-affirmative action. They actually stuck to an economic message, arguing that the economic reforms needed to be slowed down. They also played up the nationalism angle and promised to build an Indian nuclear arsenal that would rival Chinas. Vajpayee became PM and India test detonated five nuclear weapons in May of 1998. Pakistan matched this with six test detonations two weeks later.**After the BJP came to power, Congress regrouped. They lost two elections. What do they do? They turn to the family again. Sonia Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhis widow, was convinced to take the leadership role in Congress Party. Long live the Nehru Dynasty. With Sonia at the helm, they go their groove back. In 1999, as several parties in the NDA began to think about leaving the NDA, Congress made its move, telling those parties that if they leave the NDA, they can side with Congress and come to power again in a Congress-led coalition. Several abandoned the NDA. Now heres where it gets fuzzy. No one wanted another general election too expensive and they just had one in 1998. When the NDA went below 273 seats in its coalition, the President of India tried to avoid a new election. He told Congress it had 15 days to get 273 votes for a new PM. If Congress could do it, Vajpayee would resign from the PM job, there would be a new vote in the Lok Sabha for PM and Congress would have a shot to form a new government without having to go through an entire general election again (once again remember how a parliamentary system works). Sonia agreed to the challenge, but came up very short, not even close to 273. Everyone threw up their hands and India had another general election, the third in a four year period.*But the BJPs NDA won this one again. That actually stabilized the party system. The BJP, under PM Vajpayee, then lasted its full five year term. Now when I say stabilize, I mean that the BJP got about 2/3 of the way to 273 during the election and then got the rest of the way to 273 with regional parties and religious parties. I cant emphasize enough the issue of regional parties. We talked about this the first day of the India lectures. Regional parties are parties that only win seats in one Indian state. See the link in the previous PPT presentation on Indian regional parties in the Lok Sabha and a slide below on regional parties. They care about local issues and are always on the verge of abandoning the larger coalition.Congress actually learned its lesson in 1999. It realized that alone it cant reach 273. It too is a half party. That is the BIG change in Indian politics, the change from the Nehru Dynasty when Congress simply dominated and might get 10-20 times more seats in the Lok Sabha than the second largest party to the need for Congress to form a coalition to beat a n equally weak rival party. Now if Congress wants to form a government it can only do so by forming an alliance with regional parties and caste-based parties. So it learned its lesson and created the United Progressive Alliance (UPA), its answer to the NDA. So now we have two coalitions in what is a unique two party or two half party system. The UPA vs. the NDA. The big issue during the 2004 and 2009 elections was the pace of economic reform.*This slides depicts the challengers during the 2004 campaign. Sonia Gandhi led Congress Party and the UPA, but was a bit coy about whether she would become the PM if the UPA won. The BJP ran a campaign, India Shining, basically saying that everything is great, stay the course. Congress and the UPA ran a campaign arguing that the economic reforms had not benefitted the poor, and that they needed to be slowed down and remodeled. Irony again, as Congress ran a campaign against the economic reforms it put in place in 1991. Note Congress strong rhetoric against the BJP. Congress is arguing that the BJPs Hindu nationalism was undermining the meaning of India.*Congress won. It received more seats than the BJP and its core UPA alliance gets more than the NDA alliance. The UPA was given the chance to form a government. They got to 273 and Singh became PM. Sonia Gandhi declined, but most argue that she was and still is the power behind the throne.*Congress retained its power in the 2009 election (Singh is still happy and waving). Interestingly, while it ran on slowing the economic reforms in 2004, it had been trying to speed them up since it got back into power. But since 2004 every time Congress tries to speed up reforms, a small regional party or caste-based party threatens to leave the UPA and Congress has to back down. This is one of the other ironies of India. When the Communist Party of China wants to ramp up reform, it does so. It doesnt care what the people think and anyone who stands in the way of the Partys policies is risking their life along with their livelihood. In India, the economic reforms move in fits and starts. Every new reform threatens some political party and with each new reform idea, Congress (or the BJP when it was in power) has to negotiate the new policy with 15-19 parties in its coalition, hoping to find a way to make everyone happy, or find its coalition collapsing. So the general rule has been that Congress proposes a reform and then the entire political system goes into a tailspin of political frenzy and Congress withdraws the proposal.*These are the conclusions and/or challenges for India in the future. Ive editing them down a bit from what I originally had. Ive already mentioned the two half party idea and the importance of regional parties. The other question is whether Congress can get beyond reliance on the Nehru Dynasty. Sonias son Rahul (Nehrus great grandson) is the next in line. See his picture on the final slide of this PPT show.*The votes of the half parties since the 1990s.*The party mix in the Lok Sabha.*PM Manmohan Singh (I cant imagine he will stay on after the next election if Congress wins), Sonia Gandhi, and Rahul Gandhi. The next election is scheduled for 2014. If the election were today, the NDA would likely win. Its PM candidate might be Narendra Modi. Hes one of the most divisive politicians in the nation. He is currently the Chief Minister of Gujarat, one of the fastest growing Indian states. Hes also been accused of looking the other way or even encouraging rioting mobs who killed several thousand Muslims in 1992 and in 2002 during sectarian violence in Gujarat. If interested in this, see the next slide.So, the big change: The Nehru Dynasty collapsed (and you should know why) and the new era is one where the BJP/NDA and the Congress/UPA are the rivals. The argument is over how fast to reform the economy and how to bring the benefits of the reforms to the poorest of the poor. Congress achilles heel is its reliance on the Nehru/Gandhi family. The BJPs achilles heel is its occasional lapse into Hindu nationalist rhetoric that alienates Muslims and lower castes and people who see Indias secularism as its greatest strength. In a lot of ways, this is a debate about what India means. For Congress, India is an idea: about freedom, about building a secular state where anyone who appreciates that freedom can become an Indian (like an Italian Roman Catholic named Sonia Maino, born in Obassano, Italy in 1947, who marries a guy she met in college (Cambridge University) who just happens to be the grandson of Jawaharlal Nehru). For the BJP: India is a Hindu state and how they define that Hinduism varies with how many votes theyd like to get around election time.


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