POLITICAL PROCESS IN INDIA
IGNOU BPSC 104 Solved Free Assignment
BPSC 104 Solved Free Assignment July 2023 & January 2024
Q. 1. Critically analyse how caste played a prominent role in determining voting behaviour.
Ans. Caste plays an important role in Indian politics. It is one of the determinants of voting behaviour.
Voting provides an opportunity to castes to assert their influence. Various scholars such as: Colin Campbell, (1960), Rajni Kothari, (1970) and Norman Palmer, (1976) have tried to explain the relationship between caste and politics in India.
Several sociologists and political scientist have revealed that caste not only exerts influence during voting but acts an important factor.
Politicians mobilize caste groupings and identities in order to obtain political power. They utilize caste as a tool in every democratic institution from village panchayats to state assemblies and even parliament.
According to a sociologist, loyalties of castes are exploited in voting.
In an observation, it is found that in the 2004 national election nearly 40 per cent of the people vote for their castes.
Caste thus provides an extensive basis for the organization of democratic politics in India. It is the easiest means of political mobilization. Thus, elections are always fought utilizing caste loyalties.
Some of them are:
- Utilizing the caste starts from the selection of candidates for a constituency. Individual who have a significant voice and can muster good number of votes in a constituency is chosen. Every party takes utmost care to find the candidate in a constituency belonging to the caste which has a majority in the area.
- When a single caste is not to be effective, alliances are made on caste basis.
- All small appointments for the office are made on the basis of caste.
- People of a caste prefer a candidate of their own caste irrespective of the merit or demerits of the candidate.
In 1955, S.C. Dube commented ‘although every political party slogans for casteless and classless society, but in reality before selecting candidate due thought was given to the caste composition of the electoral district.’ This still holds true today in 2021.
Caste is one of the main determinants of voting behaviour in India. Cast system in India is among the world’s oldest forms of surviving social stratifi-cation.
This system divides Hindus into rigid hierarc-hical groups based on the work. This system divides Hindus into four main categories – Brahamins, Kshatriya, Vaishyas and Shudras.
Caste system bestowed many privileges on the upper castes but repression of the lower castes by privileged groups.
After independence, India’s constitution banned discrimination on the basis of caste and attempted to correct historical injustices and provided a level playing field to the traditionally disadvantages.
For this purpose, Mandal Commission introduced by the VP Singh government giving reservation to the OBC’s in the central government institution, political parties such as BSP, SP and RJD emerged in North India.
These parties have been associated with Dalits, OBCs or the peasant classes.
According to some scholars, increasing participation of various castes, especially the low castes, Dalits and OBCs are indicative of democratic upsurge or a silent revolution in India.
Politicization of caste has made caste an agent of democratic aspiration for the weaker section.
Political parties consider caste while formulating their manifestos, programs and agendas. Parties also consider caste of candidate while nomination to contest election.
Caste is more deter-mining factor in election in the rural areas than urban areas. The caste factor affects party formation as well as party policies.
During 11th Lok Sabha election, 1996 the upper caste in northern India deserted Congress party and chose to rally behind BJP.
Despite inter and intra-caste divisions and conflicts, the rise of regional parties and backward castes have found strong political representation in the form of different regional parties and vote support base.
The parties associated with specific castes maintain their support base among the principle castes. Such as JD (U), RJD SP is identified with the OBC’s, BSP with the Dalits, and BJP with the high castes.
But sometimes, a section of particular castes votes for other parties due to dissatisfaction with their usual choice.
For example: In 1990s, in UP, many OBCs had supported the BJP.
According to Shah, parties accommodate various castes in distributing party tickets, making policies, etc.
Despite adoption of democratic values which conceive of a society free from casteism caste continues to characterize politics in India and voting factors of populace.
Q. 2. Define autonomy in a federal structure and discuss the reasons behind autonomy movements.
Ans. Autonomy is a device that allows ethnic or other groups that claim a distinct identity to exercise direct control over affairs of special concern to them while providing the larger entity to exercise those powers that cover common interest.
Autonomy can be granting under the guidance of different legal forms. In federalism all regions enjoy equal powers and have an identical relationship to the central government.
The federal model would be unnecessary if the need is to accommodate only one or two minority groups.
In these cases, special power may be created only to a part of the country where the minority have majority and these powers are exercised by regional institutions.
Very significant powers are developed and the region plays relatively less role in national government. This autonomy is referred as regional autonomy.
Federalism was adopted by India on independence, largely for administrative reason and it was not until 1956 that the federation was transformed to serve as a device to accommodate linguistic diversity.
Controve-rsies over linguistic policies and demands for the linguistic reorganization of states led to the violent agitation and threatened India’s unity.
It is widely accepted that this reorganization brought considerable stability to India even if it has required further reorganization of state boundaries. Some of the advantages are:
Autonomy can comprise a wide variety of arrangement regarding structure and power.
- It has been used for long term accommodation flinguistic or ethnic diversity.
- Autonomy often facilitates a compromise as it is a midpoint of competing claims-that of a separate statehood and a unitary state.
- It has been used as a transitional device to postpone the more difficult issue of the ultimate resolution of a dispute or conflict to provide a cooling off period to examine other alternatives.
- Autonomy has enabled a region to exercise substantial self-government without assuming all functions of state or losing the benefits of metropolitan nationality.
Autonomy movement are collective e action of people in a region or across regions seeking rearrang-ement of relations among federal unit – central, state and local government in a country so that the people involved in such action have autonomy of their region to manage their affairs.
In federal structure, the term of autonomy has multiple meaning-creation of separate state from one or more states within the Union of India or rearrangement of federal relations within an existing state of the Union of India giving autonomy a region.
Though, self determination and autonomy have some meaning but in India they convey different meanings as self determination means establishment of a sovereign out of the existing sovereign state.
This is known as cessation in which one region in a country wants to secede and become a sovereign state. Indian constitution does not approve this type of arrangement.
The movement in a region of a state for rearrangement of federal relations between the region and the state is called autonomy movement.
This autonomy is demanded by creating and administrative device such as regional, district or territorial councils. Movement for creation of separate state out of one or more states is known as statehood movement.
The autonomy movements have following features:
- When people feel discriminated by the more resourceful regions in economic, social, cultural or political aspects, movements are raised.
- Generally, these demands are raised by – middle classes, students, civil society organiz-ation or political parties.
- Issues like exploitation of natural resource but outsiders and not getting enough royalty for the usage of their resources are generally raised.
- Their region is not getting chance to participate in political institution in the state and they are not involved in the decision-making while making rules for them.
- Their language and culture are not given importance and dominant language is imposed on them.
- These movements have political context as well.
Q. 1. What are the causes and nature of insurgency in India?
Ans. Insurgency is an organized armed resistance against the state or constituted authority with the aim of overthrowing the regime. It has popular support to a considerable extent.
People involved in the insurgency are known as insurgents. Their aim is to get political independence or change. Insurgency if often assumed as identical with terrorism but there are differences between them.
Like insurgency terrorism also involves violence and seeks to achieve political, social or economic change. But terrorism does not get popular support.
There are various factors responsible for the emergence of insurgency. Some are real and some are imagined or constructed (history, ideology, politics, ethnicity, religion, language or combination of different factors).
The insurgencies have leaders, cadres or popular support, ideologies and specific goals. They have goals like separate state, regional autonomy or demand for secession or complete independence.
Insurgencies are often accompanied with violence involving state machineries and insurgents. In India there are three types of insurgency can be seen:
(i) Tribal and ethno-nationalist separatist insurgency as in the Northeast or Punjab
(ii) Religious minority separatist as in Jammu and Kashmir
(iii) Ideological or Maoist insurgency in central and eastern India.
Insurgency in Jammu and Kashmir started in late 1980s and by the 1990s two types of insurgency groups emerged in Kashmir.
First was the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) and other was the Pakistan sponsored groups like the Hizbul Mujahideen (HM) based on pan Islamism.
The main reason for its growth is the feeling among insurgents that within the present administrative set up their autonomy is not respected.
Insurgency arose in different state in northeast India after independence due to real and imagined reasons. These reasons are geographical, social-cultural, economic and political.
Naga and Manipur insurgencies grew out of understanding that areas
inhabited by them were independent nations before they were merged with the Union of India.
They can be fully independent, if their original independence is restored to them. The Mizo insurgency occurred due to the complaints of Mizos that they were discriminated against by Union and Assam government which governed Mizo dominated areas before Mizoram became a separate state.
They felt that they were neglected during the famine which caused destruction of bamboo crops by the rodents. This feeling gave rise to Mizo insurgency in the 1960s.
Q. 2. Explain how does language influence electoral politics?
Ans. Language India is a multi-lingual state with 18 official languages and several hundred other languages and dialects.
Language also serves as a factor in voting behavior. The organization of states on linguistic basis fully reflects the importance of language as a factor of Indian politics.
But generally, language alone does not determine voting behaviour. It does so along with other factors; when language is found to be the basis of favor or discrimination of communities, regions or ethnic groups.
For example, in Haryana there has been a demand for declaring Punjabi as the second official language.
The Punjabis want that the language status should be conferred on Punjabi in Haryana (this was realized in 1996).
In Karnataka there is a demand that Kannada alone should be the medium of instruc-tions in schools, but it is being opposed by other ethnic groups.
Language has been most effective determinant in Tamil Nadu reflected in agitation against imposition of Hindi. In northeast, in 1960s there was conflict on Assamese and Bengali language.
Creation of Meghalaya in 1972 is the outcome of language conflict. After Assam Accord, Bodo language became an important determinant in politics of Bodo-dominated areas.
In UP, there was demand for recognition of Urdu which evokes opposition from Hindu population and parties.
After a long process the legislation for making Urdu second official language was passed in 1989 by N.D. Tiwari and implemented in 1994 by Mulayam Singh government.
Such problems are presenting in almost all the states since people have emotional attachment with their languages, they easily get influenced whenever there comes up any issue relating to language. Linguistic interest always influenced voting behaviour.
Q. 3. What are the constitutional provisions regarding the reorganisation of states in India?
Ans. Indian constitution has provision for creation of new states according to Article Constitutionally, it is the President who has the power to initiate the process for creation of new state or states.
For this process, he can consult with the state from which new state has to be carved out or he can do it his own.
State officials can also request the President about its willingness to carve a new state from their existing size. This can be done by passing a resolution in the state legislature.
On the basis of the resolution, the President may ask the Union government to present a bill for passage in the Both Houses of Parliament.
If the bill is passed in both the houses of parliament, it is sent to President for his consent. After getting consent, the bill is notified and process for new state begins.
It is observed that opposition support the demand for creation of new states while it is opposed by the government in power.
Indian constitution addresses the topic of Forma-tion of new states and alteration of areas, boundaries or names of existing states, It states that Parliament has authority by law to:
(a) Form a new state by separation of territory from any state or by uniting two or more states or parts of states or by uniting any territory to a part of any state;
(b) Increase the area of any state;
(c) Diminish the area of any state;
(d) Alter the boundaries of any state.
Alter the name of any state; provided that no bill for the purpose shall be introduced in either House of Parliament except on the recommendation of the President and unless where the proposal contained in the affects the area, boundaries or name of any of the states, the bill has been referred by the President to the Legislature of the State for expressing its views thereon within such period as may be specified in the reference or within such further period as the President may allow and the period so specified or allowed has expired.
Explanation I: In this article, in clause (a) to (e), State includes a Union territory, but in the Provision, state does not include a Union territory.
Explanation II: The power conferred on Parliament by clause (a) includes the power to form a new state or Union territory by uniting a part of any state or Union territory to any other state or Union territory.
Q. 1. What are the limitations of the party system in India?
Ans. Political party is an organization having ideology, internal democracy, democratic leadership and policies and program.
But most of parties do not satisfy these conditions. Weakening of party structure started in the post Nehru era.
Factionalism and internal rivalries led to split and multiplication of parties in India. Nexus between parties, role of criminals, corporate sector and corruption constitute a limitation of party system in India.
Multi-party system, even a single member of parliament tries to blackmail or manipulate government by threatening to withdraw its support. Government instability is the major problem in this kind of party system.
Q. 2. What role does gender play as a determinant of voting behaviour?
Ans. Voting is a device which enables women’s empowerment in terms of making choice of their represe-ntatives.
Due to increasing role of women in voting many parties include issues concerning women in their agenda like domestic economy, sexual violence, dignity to reservation for women in legislatures, etc.
As in 2015 assembly election in Bihar, Nitish Kumar launched anti-liquor policy for welfare for women.
According to Rainuka Dagar study on 2014 Lok Sabha elections states the gender became a point of reference across three broad issues – governance, development and secularism which formed part of the campaign.
Women are more active and assertive in present times irrespective of their education, class or caste as we find women participation in huge number in local governance.
Q. 3. Write a brief note on the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP).
Ans. Emergence of AAP is the outcome of the anti-corruption movement led by Anna Hazare in 2011 in which middle classes, irrespective of caste, ethnicity and language took part in the movement.
Arvind Kejriwal was the founder of AAP party. It was different from other state party in following ways:
(i) It is not an ideologically driven party.
(ii) It is not representative of any socio-cultural or ethnic movement that has been the important factors of forming a party in India.
The AAP formed government from December 2013 to February 2014 and 2015 to present in Delhi. In 2020, it won 62 seat out of 70 and formed government third time under Arvind Kejriwal.
Q. 4. What are the differences between single-party, two-party, and multi-party systems?
Ans. There are three kinds of party system:
As the name indicates the one-party system or single party system is ruled by only one party without opposition. This type of system can be seen in monarchies and in dictatorship, but now can be found in few democratic countries.
In single party system, one political party is legally allowed to hold effective power. Although minor parties may sometime be allowed, they are legally required to accept the leadership of the dominant party.
This party may not always be identical to the government, although sometimes positions within the party may in fact be more important than position within the government.
China is the example of one-party system. Sometimes, this system may abolish the freedom of speech and expression, press and associations. No opposition against the ruling govern-ment is allowed.
In two-party system, two parties have substantial support of the electorate despite of presence of other parties. According to the majority in election one of them becomes ruling party and other become opposition.
The examples of two-party system are – The United states and United Kingdom. In the United Kingdom Labour Party and Conservative Party are present whereas in The United States Democratic and Republican Parties are present.
Multi-party system is a system in which more than two parties are present. Australia, Canada, Bangladesh, India are some of the example of multi-party system.
More commonly, in cases where there are three or more parties, no one party is likely to gain power alone, and parties work with each other to form coalition governments and adopt a common minimum program for governance.
The multi-party system can be divided into two categories- unstable and working.
The unstable party system does not provide stability. During 1996-98 this situation occurred in India.
The working multi- party system works like a two-party system and tends to provide stability to the government, despite having more than two major political parties.
Multi-party system promotes coalition government. Since the 1990s India has been governed by the coalition government.
Drawback: First, members of the Council of Ministers seek guidance from their party heads not under the guidance of Prime Minister.
Second, even a single minister can manipulate the government by threatening to withdraw its support.
Q. 5. What were the leading causes of insurgency in Punjab?
Ans. Insurgency in Punjab began in the late 1970s by Bhandranwale. This insurgency is known as Khalistan movement for the establishment of an independent Sikh state called Khalistan to implement Anandpur Sahib Resolution passed in 1971.
It was violent movement in which thousands of people were killed.
To escape arrest, Bhindrawale and his followers occupied Sikh shrine Akal Takht inside the Golden Temple Complex.
To counter escalating violence, Indira Gandhi government ordered militant action on June 6, 1984 called Operation Blue Star. Around 200-250 people were killed including Bhindranwale.
This operation caused resentment among Sikhs against Indira Government and resulted in assassination of her in 1984 by two of her Sikh bodyguards.
After the Operation Black Thunder in 1991 led by K.P.S. Gill, chief of Punjab Police insurgency came to halt.
According to Atul Kohli, Punjab insurgency happened due to centralization and intervention in the state politics by the central government and lack of accommodation of self determination the central leadership.
According to another argument Khalistan movement was the result of competition between the congress and Akali Dal to dominate political space in Punjab.
Punjab insurgency emphasizes that green revolution and changing customs caused economic crisis and erosion in Punjabi culture which created anxiety among people.
According to Khalistan movement supporters the establishment of I Khalistan state would help to address the social, cultural and economic crisis in Punjab.