The Nature of Coalition Politics

Sanjeev Kumar

Over the last decade or so, the Indian party system has undergone a paradigm shift. The days of politics as a grand narrative dominated by a single party seems to be over. The general election in 2004 confirmed this trend that first became visible in the Indian political scene in 1989. Unlike every general election until then, the 1989 election yielded a fractured mandate. The formation of the National Front government led by V. P Singh, with outside support from the BJP and the Left Front, marked the beginning of the phase of enduring coalition politics.

The recurrent splits in the Janata parivar and the emergence of identity politics symbolized by Mandir and Mandai in the 1990s further cemented ...

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