ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

Articles by Dwaipayan BhattacharyyaSubscribe to Dwaipayan Bhattacharyya

Of Conflict and Collaboration

The transformation of party society in West Bengal under the Trinamool Congress in which only Mamata Banerjee commands universal loyalty is traced. She has built an architecture of power that makes extensive political use of governmental resources, allows local party bosses to run their own fiefdom in exchange of total allegiance, and plays dangerously with religious, ethnic, and caste identities. On their part, the enterprising party leaders as “franchisees” use “Brand Mamata” in their bid to capture and retain territorial power. While such “franchisee politics” of “non-corporate crony capitalism” triggers unprecedented corruption and unlimited electoral violence, it also produces an economy requiring cooperation across religious and ethnic lines as a precondition for meeting people’s livelihood. By combining partisan conflict with social collaboration on the foundations of party society, West Bengal’s franchisee politics places a structural deterrence for the rapidly emergent Bharatiya Janata Party and its politics of religious polarisation.

The Singur Movement

Land Dispossession and Everyday Politics in Rural Eastern India by Kenneth Bo Nielsen, London and New York: Anthem Press, 2018; pp 221, £70, hardcover.

West Bengal Panchayat Elections

The Trinamool Congress has not displaced the Left Front, "rigging" was not "unprecedented" and the Left Front has not lost its base amongst the poor in West Bengal. A close analysis of the recent panchayat elections provides insights into the various dimensions that influence the electorate and also helps us cut through some of the propaganda from both sides regarding the results.

Left in the Lurch: The Demise of the World's Longest Elected Regime?

Losses by the long ruling Left Front in a series of local and national elections since 2008 cannot be explained without an understanding of the nature of "party-society" in rural West Bengal. The preponderance of the party over the social space, the transformation of the party from a hegemonic force into a violative one and ultimately the ruptures in the "party-society" have all gone on to loosen the dominance of the Left Front in West Bengal. As marginalised civil society reasserts itself and as the opposition coalesces around the resentment engendered against the ruling coalition, a new kind of oppositional politics is emerging in West Bengal, possibly on identitarian lines.

Of Control and Factions: The Changing 'Party-Society' in Rural West Bengal

The changing conditions in two villages of West Bengal - Galsi and Adhata - give a picture of the emerging issues and dynamics of the state's rural political economy. This paper attempts to explain these complexities in the light of the idea of a "party-society". It also shows that the initial impetus of land reforms failed to result in productive investments in agriculture and the marginalised sections feel increasingly alienated from the institutional politics of the party-society

Politics of PDS Anger in West Bengal

A combination of factors have been responsible for the incidents in late 2007 involving the public distribution system in West Bengal. While the central policy of Targeted Public Distribution System and decreased allocations to the state have been primary contributory factors, local level dynamics that have affected the panchayati raj system are also of significance. This article tries to combine a field study in rural West Bengal with macro-level analysis to analyse the problem.

West Bengal : Permanent Incumbency and Political Stability

The moderate performance of the government in West Bengal in the social sphere, together with the generally mainstream, somewhat conservative, social and political outlook of even those who voted for the Left in the state, create a picture of an awkward adjustment. The Left, it seems, has settled through all these years for 'permanent incumbency' in lieu of a social status quo. True, the prevailing social peace in the state has given its marginal population some breathing space, but a sweeping tide of cultural and economic forces is likely to pull down all such walls of protection if the Left fails to accept the challenge of mobilising the underclasses for a more equal, just and inclusive society.

Making and Unmaking of Trinamul Congress

The Trinamul Congress (TMC) is a party focused on elections, specifically, on unseating the Left Front in West Bengal for which it is not chary of using its varied alliances even at the cost of its long-term credibility. While a Mayawati, or a Laloo Yadav, can play on the slippery ground of disparate alliances, switching partners can only prove terminal for Mamata Banerjee; she has no stable social segment to fall back upon in the bad times. The TMC has failed to translate its electoral promises into a social presence, which could have been its only guarantee against a premature demise.

ORISSA-Tribal-Dalit Conflict-Electoral Politics in Phulbani

Tribal-Dalit Conflict Electoral Politics in Phulbani Bishnu N Mohapatra Dwaipayan Bhattacharyya Political choices in the Phulbani villages, in the preceding decades, were shaped primarily by factors internal to the village. These factors are no longer as active. People now have stakes in the constituency-level politics as the village is frequently getting entangled with the developmental and ethnicity-politics in the surrounding region.

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