Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Parsing the Indian electorate, including rural interest groups

Manu Joseph writes in a column in today's New York Times of the numerous political parties in India.  Joseph says they numbered 364 in the 2009 election, and suggests that new ones are cropping up all the time to represent the interests of quite small groups--groups that share demographic, occupational, and geographical commonalities.  While the rural-urban divide is India is oft acknowledged in Indian politics and economics, as discussed here and here (and it was the basis for my analysis in a law review article here), some of the interest groups of which Joseph writes seem far more niche, pulling together those whose common interests are at a much lower scale.  Joseph gives these examples:
Affluent farmers in the western state of Maharashtra also are represented. So are, even more specifically, sugar-cane farmers. Young people of Maharashtra who think migrants in the state capital, Mumbai, should be thrashed occasionally to keep them in their place have representation in a new political outfit. Their parents who agree vote for an older party.

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