Party System, Competition, and Social Mobilization in India

Graves, Daniel Russell

     In the two decades since its independence, India has held several national and state elections in which freely competitive politics have been the norm. This dissertation has as its focus the study of this party system as it has evolved and is evolving today. It is concerned primarily with analyzing the ways in which the party system -- and in particular the dynamics of interparty competition -- is linked to processes of social mobilization and change. First, I delineate structural variables which best operationalize the parameters within which interparty competition takes place and construct models which characterize the party system within different settings and different times. Then models of the party system and the variables which explain them, are linked to general propositions regarding socio-economic change and mobilization. In this way the nature of the relationships which exist among the components of the party system itself and between the party system and the larger political, social and economic environment are explored. . . . This analysis is largely directed toward demonstrating that indeed the institutionalization of some mixture between parliamentary politics and Indian society and culture has already taken place, and may largely set the stage for relevant politics for years to come.
     The data on which this study is based consists of election results compiled by the Election Commission of India for national parliamentary and state legislative assembly elections between 1957 and 1971; census reports; and personal interviews . . . with over 50 political party leaders who were actively engaged in negotiations for electoral alliances and mergers of their respective parties.

Lloyd Rudolph (chair), Duncan MacRae, Philippe Schmitter