NCERT Textbook - Recent Developments in Indian Politics Humanities/Arts Notes | EduRev

Political Science Class 12

Created by: Uk Tiwary

Humanities/Arts : NCERT Textbook - Recent Developments in Indian Politics Humanities/Arts Notes | EduRev

 Page 1


In this chapter…
In this last chapter we take a synoptic view of the last two decades of 
politics in India. These developments are complex, for various kinds of 
factors came together to produce unanticipated outcomes in this period. 
The new era in politics was impossible to foresee; it is still very difficult to 
understand. These developments are also controversial, for these involve 
deep conflicts and we are still too close to the events. Yet we can ask 
some questions central to the political change in this period.
•	 What 	 are 	 the	 implications	 of	 the	 rise	 of	 coalition 	 politics	 for	 our	
democracy?
•	 What 	 is	 Mandalisation	 all	 about?	 In 	 which	 ways	 will	 it	 change	 the	
nature of political representation?
•	 What 	 is	 the	 legacy	 of 	 the	 Ramjanambhoomi	 movement 	 and 	 the	
Ayodhya demolition for the nature of political mobilisation?
•	 What 	 does 	 the	 rise	 of	 a 	 new 	 policy	 consensus	 do	 to 	 the	 nature	 of	
political choices?
The chapter does not answer these questions. It simply gives you the 
necessary information and some tools so that you can ask and answer 
these	 questions	 when	 you 	 are 	 through	 with 	 this 	 book.	 We	 cannot	 avoid	
asking	 these 	 questions	 just	 because	 they	 are	 politically 	 sensitive,	 for 	 the	
whole point of studying the history of politics in India since Independence 
is to make sense of our present.
Ups and downs of 
various political parties 
in the 1990s appeared 
to many, like this 
cartoon drawn in 1990, 
as a roller coaster ride. 
Riding the roller coaster 
are Rajiv Gandhi, V. 
P. Singh, L. K. Advani, 
Chandrashekhar, Jyoti 
Basu, N. T. Rama Rao, 
Devi Lal, P. K. Mahanta 
and K. Karunanidhi. 
2015-16
Page 2


In this chapter…
In this last chapter we take a synoptic view of the last two decades of 
politics in India. These developments are complex, for various kinds of 
factors came together to produce unanticipated outcomes in this period. 
The new era in politics was impossible to foresee; it is still very difficult to 
understand. These developments are also controversial, for these involve 
deep conflicts and we are still too close to the events. Yet we can ask 
some questions central to the political change in this period.
•	 What 	 are 	 the	 implications	 of	 the	 rise	 of	 coalition 	 politics	 for	 our	
democracy?
•	 What 	 is	 Mandalisation	 all	 about?	 In 	 which	 ways	 will	 it	 change	 the	
nature of political representation?
•	 What 	 is	 the	 legacy	 of 	 the	 Ramjanambhoomi	 movement 	 and 	 the	
Ayodhya demolition for the nature of political mobilisation?
•	 What 	 does 	 the	 rise	 of	 a 	 new 	 policy	 consensus	 do	 to 	 the	 nature	 of	
political choices?
The chapter does not answer these questions. It simply gives you the 
necessary information and some tools so that you can ask and answer 
these	 questions	 when	 you 	 are 	 through	 with 	 this 	 book.	 We	 cannot	 avoid	
asking	 these 	 questions	 just	 because	 they	 are	 politically 	 sensitive,	 for 	 the	
whole point of studying the history of politics in India since Independence 
is to make sense of our present.
Ups and downs of 
various political parties 
in the 1990s appeared 
to many, like this 
cartoon drawn in 1990, 
as a roller coaster ride. 
Riding the roller coaster 
are Rajiv Gandhi, V. 
P. Singh, L. K. Advani, 
Chandrashekhar, Jyoti 
Basu, N. T. Rama Rao, 
Devi Lal, P. K. Mahanta 
and K. Karunanidhi. 
2015-16
9
chapter
recent 
Developments in 
inDian politics
Context of the 1990s
You have read in the last chapter that Rajiv Gandhi became the Prime 
Minister after the assassination of Indira Gandhi. He led the Congress 
to a massive victory in the Lok Sabha elections held immediately 
thereafter in 1984. As the decade of the eighties came to a close, the 
country witnessed five developments that were to make a long-lasting 
impact on our politics. 
F
irst the most crucial development of this period was the defeat 
of the Congress party in the elections held in 1989. The party 
that had won as many as 415 seats in the Lok Sabha in 1984 
was reduced to only 197 in this election. The Congress improved 
its performance and came back to power soon after the mid-term 
elections held in 1991. But the elections of 1989 marked the end of 
what political scientists have called the ‘Congress system’. To be sure, 
the Congress remained an important party and ruled the country 
more than any other party even in this period since 1989. But it lost 
the kind of centrality it earlier enjoyed in the party system.
S
econd development was the rise of the ‘Mandal issue’ in national 
politics. This followed the decision by the new National Front 
government in 1990, to implement the recommendation of 
the Mandal Commission that jobs in central government should be 
reserved for the Other Backward Classes. This led to violent ‘anti-
Mandal’ protests in different parts of the country. This dispute between 
the supporters and opponents of OBC reservations was known as the 
‘Mandal issue’ and was to play an important role in shaping politics 
since 1989.
I wish to find 
out if the Congress 
can still bounce back 
to its old glory. 
Congress leader Sitaram Kesri withdrew the crutches of support from Deve 
Gowda’s United Front Government. 
2015-16
Page 3


In this chapter…
In this last chapter we take a synoptic view of the last two decades of 
politics in India. These developments are complex, for various kinds of 
factors came together to produce unanticipated outcomes in this period. 
The new era in politics was impossible to foresee; it is still very difficult to 
understand. These developments are also controversial, for these involve 
deep conflicts and we are still too close to the events. Yet we can ask 
some questions central to the political change in this period.
•	 What 	 are 	 the	 implications	 of	 the	 rise	 of	 coalition 	 politics	 for	 our	
democracy?
•	 What 	 is	 Mandalisation	 all	 about?	 In 	 which	 ways	 will	 it	 change	 the	
nature of political representation?
•	 What 	 is	 the	 legacy	 of 	 the	 Ramjanambhoomi	 movement 	 and 	 the	
Ayodhya demolition for the nature of political mobilisation?
•	 What 	 does 	 the	 rise	 of	 a 	 new 	 policy	 consensus	 do	 to 	 the	 nature	 of	
political choices?
The chapter does not answer these questions. It simply gives you the 
necessary information and some tools so that you can ask and answer 
these	 questions	 when	 you 	 are 	 through	 with 	 this 	 book.	 We	 cannot	 avoid	
asking	 these 	 questions	 just	 because	 they	 are	 politically 	 sensitive,	 for 	 the	
whole point of studying the history of politics in India since Independence 
is to make sense of our present.
Ups and downs of 
various political parties 
in the 1990s appeared 
to many, like this 
cartoon drawn in 1990, 
as a roller coaster ride. 
Riding the roller coaster 
are Rajiv Gandhi, V. 
P. Singh, L. K. Advani, 
Chandrashekhar, Jyoti 
Basu, N. T. Rama Rao, 
Devi Lal, P. K. Mahanta 
and K. Karunanidhi. 
2015-16
9
chapter
recent 
Developments in 
inDian politics
Context of the 1990s
You have read in the last chapter that Rajiv Gandhi became the Prime 
Minister after the assassination of Indira Gandhi. He led the Congress 
to a massive victory in the Lok Sabha elections held immediately 
thereafter in 1984. As the decade of the eighties came to a close, the 
country witnessed five developments that were to make a long-lasting 
impact on our politics. 
F
irst the most crucial development of this period was the defeat 
of the Congress party in the elections held in 1989. The party 
that had won as many as 415 seats in the Lok Sabha in 1984 
was reduced to only 197 in this election. The Congress improved 
its performance and came back to power soon after the mid-term 
elections held in 1991. But the elections of 1989 marked the end of 
what political scientists have called the ‘Congress system’. To be sure, 
the Congress remained an important party and ruled the country 
more than any other party even in this period since 1989. But it lost 
the kind of centrality it earlier enjoyed in the party system.
S
econd development was the rise of the ‘Mandal issue’ in national 
politics. This followed the decision by the new National Front 
government in 1990, to implement the recommendation of 
the Mandal Commission that jobs in central government should be 
reserved for the Other Backward Classes. This led to violent ‘anti-
Mandal’ protests in different parts of the country. This dispute between 
the supporters and opponents of OBC reservations was known as the 
‘Mandal issue’ and was to play an important role in shaping politics 
since 1989.
I wish to find 
out if the Congress 
can still bounce back 
to its old glory. 
Congress leader Sitaram Kesri withdrew the crutches of support from Deve 
Gowda’s United Front Government. 
2015-16
174                                                                 Politics in India since Independence
T
hird, the economic policy followed by the various governments 
took a radically different turn. This is known as the initiation 
of the structural adjustment programme or the new economic 
reforms.  Started by Rajiv Gandhi, these changes first became very 
visible in 1991 and radically changed the direction that the Indian 
economy had pursued since Independence. These policies have been 
widely criticised by various movements and organisations. But the 
various governments that came to power in this period have continued 
to follow these.  
I wish to be sure 
if  this phenomenon 
would have a long-term 
effect. 
I am not clear 
if this will make a 
difference to politics, 
especially if everyone has 
the same policy.
Manmohan Singh, the then Finance Minister, with Prime Minister Narsimha Rao, in 
the initial phase of the ‘New Economic Policy’.
A reaction to Mandalisation.
Credit: R. K. Laxman in the Times of India
2015-16
Page 4


In this chapter…
In this last chapter we take a synoptic view of the last two decades of 
politics in India. These developments are complex, for various kinds of 
factors came together to produce unanticipated outcomes in this period. 
The new era in politics was impossible to foresee; it is still very difficult to 
understand. These developments are also controversial, for these involve 
deep conflicts and we are still too close to the events. Yet we can ask 
some questions central to the political change in this period.
•	 What 	 are 	 the	 implications	 of	 the	 rise	 of	 coalition 	 politics	 for	 our	
democracy?
•	 What 	 is	 Mandalisation	 all	 about?	 In 	 which	 ways	 will	 it	 change	 the	
nature of political representation?
•	 What 	 is	 the	 legacy	 of 	 the	 Ramjanambhoomi	 movement 	 and 	 the	
Ayodhya demolition for the nature of political mobilisation?
•	 What 	 does 	 the	 rise	 of	 a 	 new 	 policy	 consensus	 do	 to 	 the	 nature	 of	
political choices?
The chapter does not answer these questions. It simply gives you the 
necessary information and some tools so that you can ask and answer 
these	 questions	 when	 you 	 are 	 through	 with 	 this 	 book.	 We	 cannot	 avoid	
asking	 these 	 questions	 just	 because	 they	 are	 politically 	 sensitive,	 for 	 the	
whole point of studying the history of politics in India since Independence 
is to make sense of our present.
Ups and downs of 
various political parties 
in the 1990s appeared 
to many, like this 
cartoon drawn in 1990, 
as a roller coaster ride. 
Riding the roller coaster 
are Rajiv Gandhi, V. 
P. Singh, L. K. Advani, 
Chandrashekhar, Jyoti 
Basu, N. T. Rama Rao, 
Devi Lal, P. K. Mahanta 
and K. Karunanidhi. 
2015-16
9
chapter
recent 
Developments in 
inDian politics
Context of the 1990s
You have read in the last chapter that Rajiv Gandhi became the Prime 
Minister after the assassination of Indira Gandhi. He led the Congress 
to a massive victory in the Lok Sabha elections held immediately 
thereafter in 1984. As the decade of the eighties came to a close, the 
country witnessed five developments that were to make a long-lasting 
impact on our politics. 
F
irst the most crucial development of this period was the defeat 
of the Congress party in the elections held in 1989. The party 
that had won as many as 415 seats in the Lok Sabha in 1984 
was reduced to only 197 in this election. The Congress improved 
its performance and came back to power soon after the mid-term 
elections held in 1991. But the elections of 1989 marked the end of 
what political scientists have called the ‘Congress system’. To be sure, 
the Congress remained an important party and ruled the country 
more than any other party even in this period since 1989. But it lost 
the kind of centrality it earlier enjoyed in the party system.
S
econd development was the rise of the ‘Mandal issue’ in national 
politics. This followed the decision by the new National Front 
government in 1990, to implement the recommendation of 
the Mandal Commission that jobs in central government should be 
reserved for the Other Backward Classes. This led to violent ‘anti-
Mandal’ protests in different parts of the country. This dispute between 
the supporters and opponents of OBC reservations was known as the 
‘Mandal issue’ and was to play an important role in shaping politics 
since 1989.
I wish to find 
out if the Congress 
can still bounce back 
to its old glory. 
Congress leader Sitaram Kesri withdrew the crutches of support from Deve 
Gowda’s United Front Government. 
2015-16
174                                                                 Politics in India since Independence
T
hird, the economic policy followed by the various governments 
took a radically different turn. This is known as the initiation 
of the structural adjustment programme or the new economic 
reforms.  Started by Rajiv Gandhi, these changes first became very 
visible in 1991 and radically changed the direction that the Indian 
economy had pursued since Independence. These policies have been 
widely criticised by various movements and organisations. But the 
various governments that came to power in this period have continued 
to follow these.  
I wish to be sure 
if  this phenomenon 
would have a long-term 
effect. 
I am not clear 
if this will make a 
difference to politics, 
especially if everyone has 
the same policy.
Manmohan Singh, the then Finance Minister, with Prime Minister Narsimha Rao, in 
the initial phase of the ‘New Economic Policy’.
A reaction to Mandalisation.
Credit: R. K. Laxman in the Times of India
2015-16
Recent Developments in Indian Politics                                                   175  
F
ourth, a number of events culminated in the demolition of 
the disputed structure at Ayodhya (known as Babri Masjid) in 
December 1992. This event symbolised and triggered various 
changes in the politics of the country and intensified debates about 
the nature of Indian nationalism and secularism. These developments 
are associated with the rise of the BJP and the politics of ‘Hindutva’.   
F
inally, the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi in May 1991 led to a 
change in leadership of the Congress party. He was assassinated 
by a Sri Lankan Tamil linked to the LTTE  when he was on 
an election campaign tour in Tamil Nadu. In the elections of 1991, 
Congress emerged as the single largest party. Following Rajiv Gandhi’s 
death, the party chose Narsimha Rao as the Prime Minister.   
I wonder how  
this will affect  
political parties!
A reaction to rising communalism.
Leadership in Congress made many headlines.
1 May 1996 25 October 1995 20 August 2001 25 October 2004
2015-16
Page 5


In this chapter…
In this last chapter we take a synoptic view of the last two decades of 
politics in India. These developments are complex, for various kinds of 
factors came together to produce unanticipated outcomes in this period. 
The new era in politics was impossible to foresee; it is still very difficult to 
understand. These developments are also controversial, for these involve 
deep conflicts and we are still too close to the events. Yet we can ask 
some questions central to the political change in this period.
•	 What 	 are 	 the	 implications	 of	 the	 rise	 of	 coalition 	 politics	 for	 our	
democracy?
•	 What 	 is	 Mandalisation	 all	 about?	 In 	 which	 ways	 will	 it	 change	 the	
nature of political representation?
•	 What 	 is	 the	 legacy	 of 	 the	 Ramjanambhoomi	 movement 	 and 	 the	
Ayodhya demolition for the nature of political mobilisation?
•	 What 	 does 	 the	 rise	 of	 a 	 new 	 policy	 consensus	 do	 to 	 the	 nature	 of	
political choices?
The chapter does not answer these questions. It simply gives you the 
necessary information and some tools so that you can ask and answer 
these	 questions	 when	 you 	 are 	 through	 with 	 this 	 book.	 We	 cannot	 avoid	
asking	 these 	 questions	 just	 because	 they	 are	 politically 	 sensitive,	 for 	 the	
whole point of studying the history of politics in India since Independence 
is to make sense of our present.
Ups and downs of 
various political parties 
in the 1990s appeared 
to many, like this 
cartoon drawn in 1990, 
as a roller coaster ride. 
Riding the roller coaster 
are Rajiv Gandhi, V. 
P. Singh, L. K. Advani, 
Chandrashekhar, Jyoti 
Basu, N. T. Rama Rao, 
Devi Lal, P. K. Mahanta 
and K. Karunanidhi. 
2015-16
9
chapter
recent 
Developments in 
inDian politics
Context of the 1990s
You have read in the last chapter that Rajiv Gandhi became the Prime 
Minister after the assassination of Indira Gandhi. He led the Congress 
to a massive victory in the Lok Sabha elections held immediately 
thereafter in 1984. As the decade of the eighties came to a close, the 
country witnessed five developments that were to make a long-lasting 
impact on our politics. 
F
irst the most crucial development of this period was the defeat 
of the Congress party in the elections held in 1989. The party 
that had won as many as 415 seats in the Lok Sabha in 1984 
was reduced to only 197 in this election. The Congress improved 
its performance and came back to power soon after the mid-term 
elections held in 1991. But the elections of 1989 marked the end of 
what political scientists have called the ‘Congress system’. To be sure, 
the Congress remained an important party and ruled the country 
more than any other party even in this period since 1989. But it lost 
the kind of centrality it earlier enjoyed in the party system.
S
econd development was the rise of the ‘Mandal issue’ in national 
politics. This followed the decision by the new National Front 
government in 1990, to implement the recommendation of 
the Mandal Commission that jobs in central government should be 
reserved for the Other Backward Classes. This led to violent ‘anti-
Mandal’ protests in different parts of the country. This dispute between 
the supporters and opponents of OBC reservations was known as the 
‘Mandal issue’ and was to play an important role in shaping politics 
since 1989.
I wish to find 
out if the Congress 
can still bounce back 
to its old glory. 
Congress leader Sitaram Kesri withdrew the crutches of support from Deve 
Gowda’s United Front Government. 
2015-16
174                                                                 Politics in India since Independence
T
hird, the economic policy followed by the various governments 
took a radically different turn. This is known as the initiation 
of the structural adjustment programme or the new economic 
reforms.  Started by Rajiv Gandhi, these changes first became very 
visible in 1991 and radically changed the direction that the Indian 
economy had pursued since Independence. These policies have been 
widely criticised by various movements and organisations. But the 
various governments that came to power in this period have continued 
to follow these.  
I wish to be sure 
if  this phenomenon 
would have a long-term 
effect. 
I am not clear 
if this will make a 
difference to politics, 
especially if everyone has 
the same policy.
Manmohan Singh, the then Finance Minister, with Prime Minister Narsimha Rao, in 
the initial phase of the ‘New Economic Policy’.
A reaction to Mandalisation.
Credit: R. K. Laxman in the Times of India
2015-16
Recent Developments in Indian Politics                                                   175  
F
ourth, a number of events culminated in the demolition of 
the disputed structure at Ayodhya (known as Babri Masjid) in 
December 1992. This event symbolised and triggered various 
changes in the politics of the country and intensified debates about 
the nature of Indian nationalism and secularism. These developments 
are associated with the rise of the BJP and the politics of ‘Hindutva’.   
F
inally, the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi in May 1991 led to a 
change in leadership of the Congress party. He was assassinated 
by a Sri Lankan Tamil linked to the LTTE  when he was on 
an election campaign tour in Tamil Nadu. In the elections of 1991, 
Congress emerged as the single largest party. Following Rajiv Gandhi’s 
death, the party chose Narsimha Rao as the Prime Minister.   
I wonder how  
this will affect  
political parties!
A reaction to rising communalism.
Leadership in Congress made many headlines.
1 May 1996 25 October 1995 20 August 2001 25 October 2004
2015-16
176                                                                 Politics in India since Independence
Era of Coalitions
Elections in 1989 led to the defeat of the Congress party but did not 
result in a majority for any other party. Though the Congress was the 
largest party in the Lok Sabha, it did not have a clear majority and 
therefore, it decided to sit in the opposition. The National Front (which 
itself was an alliance of Janata Dal and some other regional parties) 
received support from two diametrically opposite political groups: the 
BJP and the Left Front. On this basis, the National Front formed a 
coalition government, but the BJP and the Left Front did not join in 
this government. 
Decline of Congress
The defeat of the Congress party marked the end of Congress 
dominance over the Indian party system. Do you remember the 
discussion in Chapter Five about the restoration of the Congress 
system? Way back in the 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 in politics. 
The nineties saw yet another challenge to the predominant position of 
the Congress. It did not, however, mean the emergence of any other 
single party to fill in its place.  
The National 
Front 
Government 
lead by V. P. 
Singh was 
supported 
by the Left 
(represented 
here by Jyoti 
Basu) as well 
as the BJP 
(represented by 
L. K. Advani)
Credit: Sudhir Tailang /HT Book of Cartoons
2015-16
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