Family matters in India’s political parties

M. J. Vinod, professor of political science at Bangalore University, speaks at a recent Forum roundtable on political parties and civil society in India, as P. L. Dharma, professor of political science at Mangalore University, listens on.

Political leaders, academics and members of civil society from across India gathered in Bengaluru recently to discuss how political parties in federal systems interact with civil society.

Roundtable discussion included the interaction between political parties, civil society and the political system, the internal dynamics of political parties and new ways for civil society groups and political parties to organize themselves.

Dynastic succession, where politicians pass on leadership of a political party to a son or daughter, and the impact it has on the quality of democracy was the most controversial topic of discussion.

Other important topics discussed included the creation of new typology to explain India’s party system and strategies for making political parties function more democratically. The roundtable was composed of four 90-minute sessions, each including a presentation and related discussion. The sessions explored:
1. The Federal system, Electoral System and Political Parties
2. Political Parties And Civil Society Organizations
3. The Internal Dynamics and Organization of Political Parties
4. Diversity, Representation and Challenges for the Future

The event was co-ordinated by the Forum and Sandeep Shastri, Pro Vice Chancellor and Director of Jain University as part of the Forum’s Global Dialogue on Federalism series. It took place on September 4, 2009 at the Centre for Excellence in Social Sciences and Education.

Bengaluru, in the state of Karnataka, is about 2,000 kilometres south of Delhi.

Participants included: Balveer Arora, Jawaharlal Nehru University; Dwaipayan Bhattacharya, Centre for Studies in Social Sciences; Rupak Chattopadhyay, Forum of Federations; Rekha Chowdhary, Jammu University; Rajeshwari Deshpande, Pune University; Veena Devi, Bangalore University; P.L.Dharma, Mangalore University; Rajeev Gowda, Indian Institute of Management; Shri. Chenraj Jain, Jain University; L.C.Jain, Jain University; D Jeevan Kumar, Bangalore University; Gopa Kumar, Kerala University; Sanjay Kumar, Centre for the Study of Developing Societies; Sanjay Lodha, Mohanlal Sukhadia University; Ajay Mehra, Centre for Public Affairs; Sreekanta Murthy, Congress Party; Jayaprakash Narayan, Lok Satta Party; B.S.Padmavathi, Centre for Excellence in Social Sciences and Education, Jain University; Priyavadan Patel, Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda; Chandrashekar Prabhu, Economic Digest; K E Radhakrishna, Janata Dal (S) Leader; E.Raghavan, Formerly (South) Economic Times; Harish Ramaswamy, Karnatak University; Ramasanjeeva Reddy, KPCC Legal Cell; Sandeep Shastri, Jain University; K.C.Suri, Hyderabad University and M.J.Vinod, Bangalore University.

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