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Political Science Class 12 Notes Chapter 18 Recent Developments in Indian Politics

Context of the 1990s

  • After the assassination of Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi became the Prime Minister and he led the Congress to a massive victory in the Lok Sabha elections held in 1984.
  • The decade of the eighties witnessed five developments that left a long-lasting impact on our politics. These were:
    • The defeat of the Congress party in the elections held in 1989.
    • Rise of the ‘Mandal Issue’ in national politics.
    • The economic policy (also known as new economic policy) followed by various governments.
    • A number of events culminated in the demolition of the disputed structure at Ayodhya (known as BabriMasjid) in December, 1992.
    • The assassination of Rajiv Gandhi in May 1991 led to a change in leadership of the Congress party.

Decline of Congress

  • During late sixties, the dominance of the Congress party was challenged, but the Congress under the leadership of Indira Gandhi, managed to re-establish its predominant position.
  • After elections of 1989 political development in India initiated an era of coalition governments at the centre in which regional parties played a crucial role in forming ruling alliances.

Alliance Politics

  • Elections in 1989 led to the new development in Indian politics and era of coalition government started.
  • Regional parties played an important role in the United Front government that came to power in 1996.
  • The BJP continued to consolidate its position in the elections of 1991 and 1996 and it emerged as the largest party in the 1996 election and was invited to form government.
  • With the elections of 1989, a long phase of coalition politics began in India. Since then, there have been nine governments at the centre, all of which have either been coalition governments or minority governments supported by other parties.

Political Rise of Other Backward Classes

  • When the support for the Congress among many sections of the ‘backward castes’ had declined, this created a space for non-Congress parties to get their support.
  • Many of the constituents of the Janata party, like the Bhartiya Kranti Dal and the Samyukta party, had a powerful rural base among some sections of the OBC.

‘Mandal’ Implemented

  • The period of 1980s-90s saw the emergence of many parties that sought better opportunities for OBCs in education and employment and also raised the question of the share of power enjoyed by the OBCs.
  • The mandal commission was set-up to investigate the extent of educational and social backwardness among various sections of Indian society.
  • After investigation the commission recommended reserving 27 per cent of seats in educational institutions and government jobs for these groups.
  • In August 1990, the national front government implemented the recommendations of the commission.

Political Fallouts
1980 onwards the caste based politics dominated Indian politics. In 1989 and 1991, this was the first time in independent India that a political party (BSP) supported by Dalit voters had achieved a landmark political success.
In Many Parts of India, Dalit politics and OBC politics have developed independently and often in competition with each other.

Communalism, Secularism, Democracy

  • During 1990s the politics based on religious identity emerged in India and debate about secularism and democracy came in currency. After Shah Bano case of 1985 BJP emerged as a ‘Hindutva Party’.
  • The Babri Masjid was a 16th century mosque in Ayodhya and was built by Mir Baqi -Mughal emperor Babur’s General.
  • Some Hindus believe that it was built after demolishing a temple for Lord Rama.
  • The dispute took the form of a court case and has continued for many decades.
  • The Babri Masjid was demolished on 6th December,
    1992. After demolition, the news led to clashes between the Hindus and Muslims in many parts of the country.
  • In February-March, 2002, large-scale violence against Muslims took place in Gujarat. The violence began from Godhra.
  • This incident alert us to the dangers involved in using religious sentiments for political purposes.

Emergence of a New Consensus

  • Analysis shows that since 1989 election, the votes polled by the two parties-Congress and BJP do not add upto more than 50 per cent.
  • The political competition during the nineties is divided between the coalition led by BJP and the coalition led by the Congress.

Lok Sabha Elections 2004
In 2004 elections, the coalition led by BJP National Democratic Alliance was defeated and new coalition led by the Congress, known as the United Progressive Alliance came to power.

Growing Consensus

  • After 1990 a consensus appears to have emerged among most parties which consists of following elements
    • Agreement on new economic policies.
    • Acceptance of the political and social claims of the backward castes.
    • Acceptance of the role of state level parties in governance of the country.
    • Emphasis on pragmatic considerations rather than ideological positions and political alliances without ideological agreement.
    • They also work as a pressure groups in Indian politics.
    • Sometimes regional parties influence the Central Government to divert more annual budget funds to their states at the expense of other states.


1. During the decade of eighties, five developments took place in country with long lasting impact i.e. End of Congress system in 1980, Mandal Issues in 1990, New Economic Reforms in 1991, Ayodhya dispute in 1992 and Assassination of Rajiv Gandhi in 1991.

2. Elections in 1989 led an era of coalitions with the defeat of Congress Party and it emerged several parties when no single party secured a clear majority of seats in any Lok Sabha election held since 1989 and in this era, regional parties played a crucial role in forming ruling alliances.

3. The nineties also saw the emergence of powerful parties and movements to represent the Dalits and backward castes as well as regional assertions. Now, there have been nine governments at the centre which have either been coalition government or minority governments supported by other parties or regional parties only.

4. The Mandal Issue started with the national front government’s decision to implement the recommendation of Mandal Commission that jobs in central government should be reserved for other backward classes leading to violent anti-mandal protest in country between supporters and opponents of OBC reservations.

5. The constituents of Janata Party like Bharatiya Kranti Dal and the ‘Samyukt Socialist Party’ had a powerful rural base among some sections of the OBCs as well as BAMCEF, i.e. Backward and Minority Classes Employees Federation was formed in 1978 taking strong position in favour of political power to Bahujan—the SC, ST, OBCs and minorities. It resulted the rise of the (BSP) Bahujan Samaj Party under the leadership of Kanshi Ram.

6. Hindutva literally means Hinduism defined by its originator V.D. Savarkar as basis of Indian nationhood to be members of Indian nation everyone must not only accept India as their fatherland ‘Pitrubhu’ but also as their hold land ‘Punyabhu’.

7. Ayodhya Issue was started with the demolition of the Babri Masjid in Ayodhya in December 1992 to symbolise various changes in politics and debates about Indian nationalism and secularism. These developments are associated with the rise of BJP and Politics of‘Hindutva’.

8. The Political processes after the 1990s showed the emergence of broadly four groups of parties i.e. parties in coalition with Congress, parties in alliance with BJP, left front parties, others who are not part of the rest to make political competition multi-concerned.

9. The Anti-Muslim Riots took place in the form of violence against Muslims through an incident at a station called Godhra 2002 when a bogey, full of Karsevaks was set on fire and suspected the hand of Muslims in it. Human Rights Commission criticised Gujarat government’s role in failing to control violence and showed that government machinery also becomes susceptible to passion and alert us to dangers involved in using religious sentiments for political purposes.

10. In the midst of severe competition and many conflicts, a consensus appears to have emerged among most parties consisting of main four elements, i.e. Agreement or new economic policies, acceptance of political and social claims of backward classes, acceptance of role of state level Parties in governance of country and emphasis on pragmatic considerations rather than ideological positions and political alliances without ideological agreement.

11. In coalition government, several political parties cooperate reducing the dominance of any one party within that coalition. In it, government is formed on the basis of common minimum programme. The main reason behind this arrangement is that no party gets majority on its own in the Parliament. Coalition government is also created in the time of national crisis such as wartime or economic crisis. If a coalition collapses, confidence vote is held or a motion of no-confidence is taken.

Coalition government in context of India from 2004-2009 and 2009-2014 respectively: After the parliamentary elections in May 2014, National Democratic Alliance (NDA) came into power with Mr. Narendra Modi as the Prime Minister. Although the BJP had got full majority on its own. At the national level, the first coalition government of India was formed under the Prime Ministership of Morarji Desai that existed from 24 March, 1977 to 15 July 1979 headed by the Janta party. This government could not complete its tenure. The first coalition government in India which successfully completed its 5 year term was the Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance with Mr. Atal Behari Vajpayee as Prime Minister from 1999-2004. The other coalition, the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) consisted of thirteen separate parties from all over the country ruled for two terms successfully.


1. OBC: It signifies other Backward classes other than SC, ST to be suffered from educational, social and economic backwardness.

2. BAMCEF: It refers to Backward and Minority Classes’ Employees Federation to be formed in 1978 to mark the rise of political organisation of Dalits.

3. Karseva: Voluntary service by devotees for building Ram Temple in Ayodhya.

4. Mandal Commission: It was set up in 1978 to investigate the extent of educational and social backwardness among various section of society and recommend various ways to identify these ‘backward classes’.

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