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Politics of InclusionCastes, Minorities, and Affirmative Action$
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Zoya Hassan

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780198076964

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198076964.001.0001

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Politics of Representation and Under-representation

Politics of Representation and Under-representation

(p.126) 5 Politics of Representation and Under-representation
Politics of Inclusion

Zoya Hasan

Oxford University Press

This chapter discusses the varied trajectories of political representation for lower castes and religious minorities in the context of reservations for Other Backward Classes, which has had a positive impact on their political representation. It explores the relationship between reservation policies and political representation, and the political context within which changes in representation have taken place. It is known that the first-past-the-post system disfavours dispersed minorities, but this alone cannot explain the under-representation of Muslims. It argues that a change in the electoral system should be debated; however, the key issue is the political process which can facilitate minority representation in the same way that it has facilitated the representation of backward castes in contrast to the under-representation of minorities. Caste-based affirmative action has given an impetus to identity-driven political mobilization, which explains, at least partly, the willingness of parties to give tickets to lower castes.

Keywords:   political representation, lower castes, religious minorities, reservations, electoral system, minority representation

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