Government and Politics in South Asia

By Craig Baxter; Yogendra K. Malik et al. | Go to book overview

16
Elections, Parties, and Interest Groups

THE 1991 AND JUNE 1996 ELECTIONS in Bangladesh may indicate a change, but the earlier tendency of the Muslims in Bengal since the beginning of mass politics, about 1920, had been to support a single leader and a single issue. This tendency has been a major factor in Bangladeshi politics, as will be seen in the review of elections below. The issues in question have pertained to the Bengalis in particular and often, before independence, went against the view of the Muslim League at the national level. Even in the 1945-1946 elections Bengalis voted for Bengali issues. The leadership, too, was often drawn from the vernacular rather than the national elite.


Elections

When the franchise was broadened by the Government of India Act of 1935 (see Chapter 1) and elections were held in the winter of 1936-1937 for the Bengal Legislative Council and Legislative Assembly, much of the eastern Bengal electorate gave its support to Fazlul Haq and his Krishak Praja Party (KPP), or Farmers and Peoples Party. However, the Muslim League gained an almost equal number of seats as a result of its support from voters in the western part of Bengal, where Hindus predominated. 1 The Muslim majority of eastern Bengal did not fear numerical Hindu domination; the Muslim minority of western Bengal did. The cause on which Fazlul Haq campaigned was that of the smaller farmers against zamindars (landlords), who were generally Hindu.

In the election of the winter of 1945-1946, the issue was a national one: the separation of Muslim-majority areas of undivided India from the Hindu-majority territories. The champions of this view were Muhammad Ali Jinnah and the Muslim League, which he led. The Muslim voters in Bengal gave their support to the League, which won overwhelmingly, gaining all six seats in the Central Legislative Assembly with 94.01 per-

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Government and Politics in South Asia
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Tables and Illustrations ix
  • Preface to the Fourth Edition xi
  • Introduction 1
  • Notes 4
  • 1 - The Governance of South Asia Under the British 5
  • Suggested Readings 18
  • Part One - INDIA 19
  • 2 - Political Culture and Heritage 21
  • Suggested Readings 52
  • 3 - Political Institutions and Governmental Processes 55
  • Suggested Readings 90
  • 4 - Political Parties and Political Leaders 92
  • Suggested Readings 120
  • 5 - Groups and Multiple Demands on the System 122
  • Suggested Readings 139
  • 6 - Conflict Mediation 140
  • Suggested Readings 150
  • 7 - Modernization and Development: Prospects and Problems 151
  • Suggested Readings 159
  • Part Two - PAKISTAN 161
  • 8 - Political Culture and Heritage 163
  • Suggested Readings 174
  • 9 - Government Structure 175
  • Suggested Readings 183
  • 10 - Political Parties and Political Leaders 184
  • Suggested Readings 200
  • 11 - Conflict and Mediation 202
  • Suggested Readings 212
  • 12 - Policy Issues 213
  • Suggested Readings 223
  • 13: Modernization and Development 224
  • Part Three - BANGLADESH 231
  • 14 - Political Culture and Heritage 233
  • Suggested Readings 246
  • 15 - Government Institutions 247
  • Suggested Readings 257
  • 16 - Elections, Parties, and Interest Groups 259
  • Suggested Readings 279
  • 17 - Conflicts and Resolution 281
  • Suggested Readings 291
  • 18 - Modernization and Development: Prospects and Problems 292
  • Suggested Readings 299
  • Part Four - SRI LANKA 301
  • 19: Political Culture and Heritage 303
  • 20: Government Structure 316
  • 21: Political Parties and Interest Groups 331
  • 22: Conflict Mediation 346
  • 23: The Search for Prosperity 352
  • 24 - Modernization and Development: Prospects and Problems 358
  • Suggested Readings 362
  • Part Five - SOUTH ASIA 365
  • 25 - Nepal, Bhutan, and the Maldives 367
  • Suggested Readings 381
  • 26 - South Asia as a Region and in the World System 382
  • Suggested Readings 402
  • 27 - Conclusion: Democracy and Authoritarianism in South Asia 404
  • Suggested Readings 411
  • Statistical Appendix 413
  • Index 415
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