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State Politics in India (Hardcover)
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The last decade of the nineteenth century witnessed, for the first time, the demand for a federal polity premised on the principle of linguistic provinces. The regional Chambers of Commerce in the Telugu, Bengali and Tamil linguistic regions were the first to put forth such a demand before the Congress and the colonial state. The Indian National Congress agreed to it in 1920 and reorganized provincial Congress organizations, which had been earlier based on politico-administrative boundaries of the British Indian provinces, on linguistic lines under a new party constitution under Gandhi’s influence. However, once it came to power at the Centre in 1947 the national Congress leadership changed its stand. In 1953, under the pressure of a mass upsurge, the Nehru government was compelled to set up a State Reorganisation Commission to consider the question of the creation of linguistic states. In the past 63 years, several works have been published on the theme of ‘state politics’, but most writers have concentrated on electoral politics. This book, however, discusses different aspects of politics in the 27 states and 2 Union Territories with legislative assemblies (with some minor omissions which are regretted). For example, it analyses the different social structures, levels of economic development, landholding patterns, party systems, voting behaviour, political culture and governance and politics of each state. It discusses their internal dynamics which are influenced by the size of the population, demography, territory and topography, economy, and the power structure of the different classes and communities. The book also takes into account the commonalities across the boundaries at both, the micro and the macro levels, such as the expansion and intensification of capitalist social relations into the innermost areas, breakdown of old structures and social mores, emergence of civil society, development of administrative transparency, growth of alternative party systems and the linkages of each state/region with the nation and global capital. The liberalization of economy over the last few decades has accelerated the growth of commonalities across the states through a growing uniformity of production processes and consumer culture.