The Oxford India Short Introductions are concise, stimulating, and accessible guides to different aspects of India. Combining authoritative analyses, new ideas, and diverse perspectives, they discuss subjects which are topical yet enduring, as also emerging areas of study and debate. This book is about the growth and evolution of coalition politics in India. It is argued that contrary to popular explanations, coalitions have always been integral to Indian politics. During the nationalist struggle for freedom, the idea of Swaraj that Gandhi evolved represented a collation of multiple classes and ethnic groups. Even in the era of one-party dominance following Independence in 1947, not only was the Congress party a social and an ideological coalition, its leadership was also drawn from various regions of the country. This volume thus reinforces the argument that rather than being seen as inherently unstable, coalition is an appropriate mechanism in a socio-culturally diverse country like India. Along with a historical account of the roots of coalition in India, it also dwells on specific coalition experiments in India that had begun in 1967 at the state level and continued since then.
By providing a contextual explanation of coalition in India, the book challenges the one-size-fits-all theoretical format. It is thus not merely a study of a specific experiment, but also an attempt to build an adequately-informed model of analysis to understand coalition in other diverse socio-economic contexts. In this way, the present exercise is theoretically innovative and empirically enriching.
Bidyut Chakrabarty is Professor at the Department of Political Science, University of Delhi, Delhi.
List of Tables ; Preface ; Acknowledgements ; List of Abbreviations ; Introduction ; 1. Coalition Politics: Cultural synergy or political expediency ; 2. Coalition Politics in the Indian States, 1967-69 ; 3. The Third Front Experiments ; 4. The Successful Experiments of Coalition Governments in India, 1999-2009 ; Conclusion ; Further Readings ; Index