The four forms of Indian political populism

Mukul Kesavan in The Telegraph, Calcutta:

“Populist politics in India is of roughly three sorts: majoritarian, Mandalist and Congressite. Narendra Modi’s populism is clearly of the first sort. His appeal is founded on his ability to channel ‘Hindu’ grievance, his short way with minorities and his economic stewardship of Gujarat.

Nitish Kumar is a good example of the Mandalist alternative, which promises affirmative action, redistributive State action to help deprived and marginal communities, and stability of law and order.

“The Congress, once the grandmaster of a pluralist populism, finds its best lines stolen by the Mandalists. Weighed down by a dysfunctional dynasty and a clueless dauphin, it is an incoherent party with neither mass politicians nor an ideological position.

“One part of it wants the Chicago School to run the Indian economy even as the other part tries to legislate into being the right of Indians to education, work and food. Given its deserved reputation for corruption and incompetence, the Congress gets credit neither for economic reform nor economic welfare. Its political trump card, pluralism, is cast as the appeasement of minorities…

“The Aam Admi Party’s managerial populism consists of its promises of rational, incorrupt, technocratic governance is similar to one half of Modi’s appeal, his claim to being an efficient economic manager who minimizes sarkari corruption. The difference is that the AAP isn’t lumbered with the communal baggage of the other, unverbalized half of Modi’s charisma: his credentials as a Hindu ‘heavy’ earned a decade and more ago in Gujarat.”

Read the full article: All things to all voters

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2 Responses to “The four forms of Indian political populism”

  1. Vinay Says:

    During these elections, I will unabashedly put my weight behind the so-called “Modi populism”. We have had enough of the incompetent Gandoo parivar which has run the economy to the ground. The Nitish alternative seems unsatisfactory too.

    A sensible right-wing economic platform which can really propel the nation forward, is provided only by Modi. And a sensible economic policy is the only thing the nation needs to progress, nothing else.

  2. RaoWords Says:

    Vinay, you shouldn’t use filthy words in your comments.

    I know you are disgusted with current government, and its handlers. But you shouldn’t blame a great man for someone using his so-called lineage or Surname.

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