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Opposition in a dominant-party system : a study of the Jan Sangh, the Praja Socialist Party, and the Socialist Party in Uttar Pradesh, India

CollectionsANU Press (1965- Present)
Title: Opposition in a dominant-party system : a study of the Jan Sangh, the Praja Socialist Party, and the Socialist Party in Uttar Pradesh, India
Author(s): Burger, Angela Sutherland
Date published: 1969
Publisher: Canberra, ACT : Australian National University Press
In countries in which one political party is dominant, attention naturally centers on that party. This book is unusual because it concentrates on what were until recently the largest opposition parties in the largest Indian state. It deals with such questions as: What problems are involved in building an opposition party in a dominant-party system, particularly in a newly independent underdeveloped country? What effects do opposition parties experience when the dominant party is identified with the winning of national independence? What relationship is there between the goals of the dominant party and the activities of opposition parties? In considering these questions, Mrs. Burger offers hypotheses that can be tested in dominant-party systems outside of India. Very little has been written about the Jan Sangh, Praja Socialist, and Socialist parties in Uttar Pradesh, for until recently these were small entities in a system dominated by the Congress Party. In the Indian General Elections of 1967, however, popular support for the Congress Party declined so markedly that the three parties in question were able to form the Uttar Pradesh Government in alliance with several other parties. They are therefore opposition parties no longer. This improvement in their fortunes does not, however, affect the value of this book - and this for two reasons. For one, Mrs. Burger's main concern is with comparative, not area, politics; she has invested much time and effort in identifying factors, developing categories and constructing hypotheses that have broad relevance. The hypotheses that she has tested in Uttar Pradesh can accordingly be tested in other dominant-party systems. Moreover, because the changed political situation in Uttar Pradesh raises questions about the former minority parties and the causes for their recent rise to power, Mrs. Burger offers a close analysis of the socioeconomic political forces utilized in party building and discusses problems of party maintenance as well as providing much background information concerning the state legislators.


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