India’s opposition Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi Saturday called for setting up a coalition government with leftwing parties in West Bengal as the eastern state is to hold a local election this month.


India is a vast South Asian country with diverse terrain – from Himalayan peaks to Indian Ocean coastline – and history reaching back 5 millennia.

In the north, Mughal Empire landmarks include Delhi’s Red Fort complex, massive Jama Masjid mosque and Agra’s iconic Taj Mahal mausoleum.

In India, people from lower-caste and poorer backgrounds don’t necessarily want the abolition of religious and social structures but want to attain a higher position within these structures. Indians are also religiously oriented.

These facts led to the shift of Indian politics toward much more fragmentation along caste and regional lines after 1989. Many of these parties are theoretically leftist but mostly only so in the sense that they use the power of the government to dole out favors to their supporters and castes. However, the electoral base of these parties, such as the Samajwadi Party in Uttar Pradesh, is very narrow.

The period between 1989 and 2014 was dominated by many of these parties, leading to an era of fragmentation and coalition governments on both the state and federal level.

In 2014, however, India entered a new stage of political alignment with the rise of the right: one single, strong right-wing party as opposed to a multiplicity of right parties. While the right-wing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had held power before 2014, this year’s elections marked the first time a right-wing party held power on the federal level without forming a coalition. While much of the BJP’s success is due to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s popularity, there are deeper structural factors as well.

The Indian right has been able to consolidate society, especially Hindu society, much better than the left. Center-left parties like the Congress Party did not do much to change the status of lower castes or poorer groups. Communist parties sought to abolish social structures when in reality lower-caste and poorer groups wanted a respected place economically and within Hinduism rather than a socialist paradise


Source: Xinhua/

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