Chapter

India

Dawn Brancati

in Peace by Design

Published in print December 2008 | ISBN: 9780199549009
Published online January 2009 | e-ISBN: 9780191720307 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199549009.003.0005
 India

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This chapter discusses the case study of India (1947–present). In India, decentralization is neither an unabashed success, as in Spain, nor a resounding failure, as in Czechoslovakia. India has experienced intermittent bouts of conflict in some regions and periods of its history more than in others. This chapter attributes India's mixed track record to the behavior of regional parties in the country and the failure of statewide parties to fully incorporate regional interests into their agenda. In India, regional parties have prompted conflict and secessionism by adopting legislation harmful to regional minorities and mobilizing groups to engage in ethnic conflict and secessionism. Regional parties have been confined to the regional level, however, until the 1990s. Statewide parties, and the Congress Party in particular, have not fully or always reduced ethnic conflict and secessionism in India because of certain conditions in the country that reduce their incentive to incorporate the interests of particular regions into their agenda (i.e. the pivotalness — or lack thereof — of certain regions and/or groups within India, the distribution of ethnolinguistic and religious groups throughout the country, the internal organization of statewide parties, as well as the leadership style of particular political leaders in the country). This chapter attributes the shape of India's party system to specific features of decentralization in the country (i.e. the proportion of national legislative seats India's many regions hold individually, the extension of decision‐making autonomy to some regions of India and not others, and the election of the upper house entirely by the country's regional legislatures).

Keywords: India; party system; secessionism; ethnolinguistic groups; statewide conflict; religious groups

Chapter.  9967 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Comparative Politics

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