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The Algebra of Warfare-WelfareA Long View of India's 2014 Election$
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Irfan Ahmad and Pralay Kanungo

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780199489626

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: July 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780199489626.001.0001

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Communal Violence, Electoral Polarization, and Muslim Representation

Communal Violence, Electoral Polarization, and Muslim Representation

Muzaffarnagar, 2013–14

(p.163) 5 Communal Violence, Electoral Polarization, and Muslim Representation
The Algebra of Warfare-Welfare

Hilal Ahmed

Oxford University Press

There are a number of commentaries, official reports, and well-researched academic books on communalism in India that directly or indirectly look at the nature of violence-centric electoral politics. However, our understanding of Muslim electoral politics is very limited. The belief that violent events persuade Muslims to vote tactically at the national level is often evoked to substantiate the claim that communal violence always determines Muslim electoral preferences. The idea of Muslim vote bank is also an expanded version of this argument. Focusing upon the Muzaffarnagar riots of 2013, this paper makes an attempt to revisit the idea of electoral polarization in the context of the 2014 general election. The paper critically evaluates the merit of a twofold claim that the communal and targeted violence against Muslims produce electoral polarization; and, violence of this kind could only be prevented if the number of Muslim MPs and MLAs in legislative bodies increases.

Keywords:   Muslim politics, communalism, electoral polarization, representation, violence

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