Indian Polity V

Delhi Law Academy


State Legislature

•            The Constitution of India provides for a legislature in each State and entrusts it with the responsibility to make laws for the state.

•            Articles 168 to 212 in Part VI of Constitution of India deal with the organisation, composition, duration, officers, procedures, privileges and powers of the state legislature.

Organisation of State Legislature

•            In the political system of India, there are two types of states with regard to state legislature.

o            Most of the state in India have Unicameral system while few others have a bicameral system. Unicameral system has only one House and is known as the Legislative Assembly (Vidhan Sabha).

o            In Bicameral system , the State has two houses, the Upper House is known as the Legislative Council (Vidhan Parishad) and the lower House is known as the Legislative Assembly (Vidhan Sabha).

Method of Abolition or Creation of a State Legislative Council (Vidhan Parishad):

•            Article 169 in Constitution of India provides for the method of abolition or creation of a State Legislative Council.

•            If a state Legislature passes a resolution by a special majority, in favour of the creation of the second chamber and if Parliament gives approval to such a resolution by simple Majority, the concerned State can have two Houses in the Legislature.

Different types of state legislatures:

•            Unicameral Legislature

o            As of November 2019, 22 States in India have unicameral system of state legislature (including Rajasthan). Here, the state legislature includes Governor and Vidhan Sabha.

o            Other than these states, two Union territories – Delhi and Puducherry have State Legislatures (Both Unicameral).

•            Bicameral Legislature

o            6 States in India namely: Bihar, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh have Bicameral system of state legislature. Here, the state legislature includes Governor, Vidhan Sabha and Vidhan Parishad.

Composition of State Legislature

Legislative Assembly (Vidhan Sabha)

•            Strength:

o            Can be maximum of 500 and minimum of 60, to vary according to population of state.

o            Rajasthan Legislative Assembly has 200 members.

o            Special Case: Goa, Arunachal Pradesh & Sikkim number is fixed at 30 and for Mizoram & Nagaland at 40 & 46 respectively.

•            Manner of Election:

o            Members of legislative assembly are elected directly by people on basis of Universal Adult Franchise.

•            Territorial Constituencies:

o            The demarcation of territorial constituencies is to be done in such a manner that the ratio between the population of each constituency and the number of seats allotted to it, as far as practicable, is the same throughout the State.

•            Reservation:

o            Constitution makes special provisions regarding the representation of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes on basis of population ratios.

•            Nominated Members:

o            Provision has also been made to nominate one member of the Anglo-Indian Community, if the Governor is of the opinion that the community is not adequately represented in the Assembly.

Legislative Council (Vidhan Parishad)

•            The system of composition of the Council as laid down in the Constitution is not final.

o            The final power of providing the composition of this Chamber of the State Legislature is given to the Union Parliament.

•            But until Parliament Legislates on the matter, the composition shall be as given in the Constitution, which is as follows.

•            Strength:

o            Strength of legislative Council cannot be more than one-third of the total number of members in the Legislative Assembly of the State and in no case less than 40 members.

o            Rajasthan does not have legislative council.

•            Manner of Election:

o            1/3rd of total number of members of the Council shall be elected by electorates consisting of members of local bodies, such as municipalities, district boards.

o            1/12th shall be elected by electorates consisting of graduates of three years’ standing residing in that State

o            1/12th shall be elected by electorates consisting of persons engaged for at least three years in teaching in educational institutions within the State, not lower in standard than secondary schools.

o            1/3rd shall be elected by members of the Legislative Assembly from amongst persons who are not members of the Assembly.

o            Remainder shall be nominated by the Governor from persons having knowledge or practical experience in respect of such matters as literature, science, art cooperative movement and social service.

o            Thus 5/6th of member of legislative council are indirectly elected and 1/6 are nominated by the governor.

Duration of State Legislature

Legislative Assembly (Vidhan Sabha):

•            The duration of the Legislative Assembly is five years from date of its first meeting after the general elections. The Governor has the power to dissolve the Assembly even before the expiry of its term.

•            Additionally, during National Emergency, the Parliament by law can extend the term of assembly for a period not exceeding one year at a time and not extending in any case beyond a period of six months after proclamation has ceased to operate.

Legislative Council (Vidhan Parishad):

•            Like Rajya Sabha, Legislative council is a continuing chamber. It is a permanent body, unless abolished by the Legislative Assembly and Parliament by due procedure.

•            One-third of the members of the Council retire on the expiry of every second year, which means, a term of six years for each member. There is no bar on a member getting re-elected on the expiry of his/her term.

Membership of State Legislature


A person shall not be qualified to be chosen to fill a seat in the Legislature of a State unless he

•            is a citizen of India

•            is, in the case of a seat in the Legislative Assembly, not less than twenty-five years of age and, in the case of a seat in the Legislative Council, not less than thirty years of age and

•            makes and subscribes before a person authorized by the Election Commission, an oath or affirmation, according to the form prescribed in Third Schedule.

•            possesses such other qualifications as may be prescribed in that behalf by or under any law made by Parliament.

Accordingly, the Parliament by the Representation of the People Act, 1951, has provided additional qualifications that:

•            A person shall not be elected either to the Legislative Assembly or the Council, unless he is himself an elector (registered as Voter) for any Legislative Assembly constituency in that State.

•            To Contest seats reserved for SC/ST must be a member of SC/ST. However, a member of SC / ST can also contest a seat not reserved for them.


A person shall be disqualified for being chosen as and for being a member of the Legislative Assembly or Legislative Council of a State if he

•            holds any office of profit under the Government of India or the Government of any State, other than that of a Minister for the Indian Union or for a State or an office declared by a law of the State not to disqualify its holder.

•            is of unsound mind as declared by a competent Court

•            is an un-discharged insolvent

•            is not a citizen of India or has voluntarily acquired the citizenship of a foreign State or is under any acknowledgment of allegiance or adherence to a foreign State

•            is so disqualified by or under any law made by Parliament

Accordingly, the Parliament through, the Representation of the People Act, 1951, has laid down some grounds of disqualification:

•            Conviction by a Court, having been found guilty of a corrupt or illegal practice in relation to election, being a director or managing agent of a corporation in which Government has a financial interest (under conditions laid down in that Act):

•            Art. 192 lays down that if any question arises as to whether a member of a House of the Legislature of a State has become subject to any of the disqualifications mentioned above, the question shall be referred to the Governor of that State for decision who will act according to the opinion of Election Commission.

Disqualification on ground of defection:

•            The Tenth Schedule to Constitution provides for disqualification of the members on ground of defection.

o            Defection refers to desertion of one’s party in favor of an opposing one.

•            The question of disqualification under Tenth Schedule is decided by Speaker in Vidhan Sabha and Chairman in Vidhan Parishad.

Officers of The State Legislature

Presiding Officers of State Legislature:

Each house of state legislature has its own presiding officer.

•            Legislative Assembly:

o            Speaker

o            Deputy Speaker

•            Legislative Council

o            Chairman of Council

o            Deputy Chairman of Council

Speaker of Rajasthan Vidhan Sabha

•            The assembly itself from amongst its members elects the Speaker.

•            Usually, the speaker remains in office during the life of assembly. However, he vacates his office earlier in any of three following cases.

(a)         Shall vacate his office if he ceases to be a member of the Assembly

(b)         May at any time by writing under his hand addressed, if such member is the Speaker, to the Deputy Speaker, and if such member is the Deputy Speaker, to the Speaker, resign his office and

(c)         May be removed from his office by a resolution of the Assembly passed by a majority of all the then members of the Assembly. Such a resolution can be moved only after giving 14 days advance notice.

Powers & Functions of Speaker of Legislative Assembly:

•            Maintain order and decorum in assembly for conducting its business

•            Final interpreter of:

o            Constitution of India

o            Rules of procedure and conduct of business of assembly

o            Legislative precedents within the assembly

•            Adjourns assembly or suspends meeting in absence of quorum

•            Does not vote on first instance but can use his/her vote in case of tie

•            At request of leader of assembly, allow secret sitting of the assembly

•            Decides whether a bill is money bill

•            Decides on cases of disqualification of members on ground of defection under X Schedule

•            Appoints Chairman of all committees of assembly and supervises their working

•            Himself is the Chairman of:

o            Business Advisory Committee

o            Rules Committee

o            General Purpose Committee

•            First Speaker of Rajasthan Assembly: Narottam Lal Joshi

Deputy Speaker of Rajasthan Vidhan Sabha

•            Like the Speaker, the Deputy Speaker us also elected by the assembly itself from its members. The election for deputy speaker takes place after the election of Speaker has taken place.

•            Article 180: Power of the Deputy Speaker or other person to perform the duties of the office of, or to act as, Speaker.

•            While the office of Speaker is vacant, the duties of the office shall be performed by the Deputy Speaker or, if the office of Deputy Speaker is also vacant, by such member of the Assembly as the Governor may appoint for the purpose.

•            The Speaker nominated from the members a panel of chairman. Any one of them can preside over the assembly in absence of both speaker and deputy speaker.

Pro-term Speakers of Rajasthan Vidhan Sabha

•            Pro-tem, is a Latin phrase which best translates to “for the time being” in English. Legislative bodies can have one or more pro tempore for the post of presiding officer.

•            As per the Constitution, the Speaker of the last Assembly vacates his office immediately before the first meeting of the newly- elected assembly.

•            Therefore, the Governor appoints a member of the assembly as the Speaker Pro-tem. Usually, the senior most member is selected for this.

•            The Governor himself administers oath to the Speaker Pro Tern.

Functions of Pro-Term Speaker:

•            He presides over the first sitting of the newly elected assembly.

•            His main duty is to administer oath to the new members.

•            He also enables the blouse to elect the new Speaker. When the blouse elects the new speaker, the office of the Speaker Pro Tern ceases to exist.

•            First Pro-term Speaker of Rajasthan Assembly: Maharav Sangram Singh

Powers and Functions of the State Legislature

•            Each State Legislature exercises law-making powers over the subjects of the State List and the Concurrent List.

•            In case a state has only Legislative Assembly, all the powers are exercised by it.

•            However, even in case it is a bicameral state legislature with both Vidhan Sabha and Parishad, the Vidhan Sabha exercises almost all the powers.

•            The Vidhan Parishad plays only a secondary, advisory and minor role.

Legislative Procedure in State Legislature


•            The Governor of the Rajasthan summons the House from time to time keeping in mind that the intervening period between the last sitting in one session and first sitting in next session does not exceed six months.

•            As per the Rules, Rajasthan Legislative Assembly shall have at least three sessions in a calendar year. The business of the House is decided by the House on the recommendation of the Business Advisory Committee.

Procedural Devices:

There are two types of procedural devices available. One is Questions and others are Motions.

•            Questions: There are three categories of questions, Starred Questions, Unstarred Questions and Short Notice Questions. It is essential to give questions in the prescribed form with 14 clear days’ notice for starred and unstarred questions and shorter than 10 clear days’ notice for Short Notice Questions.

•            Motions: Besides questions, the members may raise the matters of urgent and current public importance before the House through the devices like Half an Hour Discussion, Calling Attention Motion, Notice Under Rule 295 (Special Mention Procedure) for Short Duration Discussion, Adjournment Motion etc.


•            All the legislative proposals are to be brought in the form of Bills before the legislature.

•            These can either be Government Bills or Private Members Bills.

•            Government Bills are prepared and drafted by the Law Department of the State government.

Process of Passing of Bill:

There are three readings (stages) for passing a Bill.

•            First Reading: The first reading means motion for leave to introduce a Bill and its adoption.

•            Second Reading: The second reading consists of discussion on the principles of the Bill and clause by clause consideration.

•            Third Reading: The third reading is completed when a motion for passing a Bill is adopted by the House.

•            After the House passes a Bill, it is presented to the Governor/ President for assent. With such assent and its publication in the official gazette, it becomes law of the State.

•            Money Bill can be introduced in State Assembly only after recommendation of the Governor and can only be introduced by a Minister.

Assent of the Governor:

Every bill, after it is passed by the assembly, is presented to the Governor. There are four options before the Governor:

•            May give his assent to the Bill

•            He withholds his assent

•            May return the Bill to the Legislative Assembly for reconsideration.

•            May reserve the Bill for the consideration of the President

•            If the Governor gives his assent to the Bill then it becomes an Act.

•            If the Governor withholds his assent to the Bill then bill does not become an act.

•            If the Governor returns the bill to assembly and the assembly again passes the bill, with or without amendments, then Governor has to give assent to the Bill.

Assent of the President:

When the Governor reserves the Bill for consideration of the President, then President can either:

•            Give his assent to the bill

•            Withhold his assent to the bill

•            Return the bill for reconsideration of assembly

•            When bill is returned to the assembly by President, it must reconsider it within 6 months. After it is passed by Assembly again, with or without amendments,


•            Legislative Committees can be divided into two categories – the Standing Committees and the Ad-hoc Committees.

•            In Rajasthan Legislative Assembly, there are 18 Standing Committees out of which four are financial and the rest relates to various other subjects.

The financial committees are –

•            Public Accounts Committee

o            Examine the Secretaries to Government on various irregularities in their Departments as pointed out in the Report of the Comptroller and Auditor General

•            Public Undertakings Committee

o            Public Undertakings Committee is required to go into the functions of the various pubic undertakings and is expected to examine the Undertakings on various irregularities pointed out by the Report of the Comptroller and Auditor General under their control

•            Two Estimates Committees

o            Report as to what economies can be effected and what improvements in particular organisation may be made and also to suggest alternative policies in order to bring about efficiency and economy in administration, as also changes in the form of budget estimates.

•            The financial committees are elected on the basis of proportional representation through single transferable vote and the rest are nominated by the Speaker.

•            The Chairmen for all these committees are nominated by the Speaker from out of the members of these committees.

Besides the above mentioned four financial committees, the Rajasthan Legislative Assembly has following other 17 standing committees.

1.           Committee on Subordinate Legislation

2.           Committee on Welfare of Scheduled Tribes

3.           Committee on Welfare of Scheduled Castes

4.           Business Advisory Committee

5.           House Committee

6.           Rules Committee

7.           Library Committee

8.           Committee on Petitions

9.           Committee on Privileges

10.        Committee on Government Assurances

11.        General Purposes Committee

12.        Question & Reference Committee

13.        Committee on Welfare of Women & Children

14.        Committee on Welfare of Backward Classes

15.        Committee on Welfare of Minorities

16.        Committee on Local Bodies and Panchayat Raj Institutions

17.        Committee on Environment

General features of the Committees:

•            These committees are constituted from the members of the ruling as well as opposition parties generally in proportion to their strength in the House.

•            The term of office of the members of the committee is generally one year.

•            No minister can be a member of the committee except in the case of Select Committees on Government Bills.

•            Normally, the Chairman of the Committees presents the Reports of these committees to the House but in inter-session period the Chairman may submit the Report to the Speaker.

Origin & Growth of Rajasthan Vidhan Sabha

•            Though the Rajasthan Vidhan Sabha came in to existence in March 1952, the people of Rajasthan had experienced some kind of a parliamentary democracy even under the princely rule.

•            The Maharaja Ganga Singh of Bikaner was one such progressive king who gave the House of Representatives to the people of Bikaner State in 1913.

•            Maharaja Ummed Singh of Jodhpur accepted the principle of people’s participation in the administration in the 1940s and accorded his approval to the setting up of the Central and District Advisory Boards.

•            In Jaipur State, a Vidhan Samiti consisting of both official and non-official members was created in 1923. Later, Maharaja Mansingh constituted a Central Advisory Board in 1939 with a view to eliciting public opinion through representatives on matters of public interest and importance.

•            Under the pressure of changed political situation in Udaipur, a Reforms Committee headed by Shri Gopal Singh was constituted in May, 1946. The Committee consisted of official and non-official members including five representative of the Praja Mandal. The Maharana eventually agreed to the setting up of an Executive Council in October, 1946, to which he appointed Shri Mohan Lai Sukhadia and Shri Hira Lai Kothari as the representatives of the Praja Mandal and Shri Raghubir Singh as the representative of the Regional Council.

•            Maharaja Ishwar Singh of Bundi set up the ‘Dhara Sabha’ on 18 October, 1943. The members of the Tehsil Advisory Boards and the Town Council elected members to the ‘Sabha’. The Dhara Sabha had the power to ask questions to the Government and to adopt Resolutions on matter of Public interest.

•            The Maharaja of Banswara formed a ‘Rajya Parishad’ on 3 February, 1939. All the 32 members of the Council were nominated members, which included seven employees and eight ‘Jagirdars’. The ‘Rajya Parishad’ had the power to put questions, adopt Resolutions and enforce laws with the assent of the Maharaja.

•            At time of Independence, Rajputana included twenty-two small and big Princely States. Though these Princely States were declared to have been annexed to the Union of India on 15th August, 1947, the process of merger and their unification became complete only in April, 1949, in five phases.

•            The process of the creation of Legislative Council had started during the final phase of the formation of Rajasthan. This process continued upto the beginning of 1952.

•            The First Rajasthan Legislative Assembly (1952-57) was inaugurated on 31 March 1952 and had strength of 160 members.

Strength of Rajasthan Legislative Assembly:

•            The strength was increased to 190 after the merger of the erstwhile Ajmer State with Rajasthan in 1956.

•            The Second (1957-62) and Third (1962-67) Legislative Assemblies had a strength of 176.

•            The Fourth (1967-72) and Fifth (1972-77) Legislative Assembly comprised 184 members each.

•            The strength became 200 from the Sixth (1977-1980) Legislative Assembly onwards.

Strength & Constituencies of Rajasthan Vidhan Sabha:

•            The strength of the Rajasthan Legislative Assembly, which is determined by Delimitation Commission, was 160 in 1952.

•            Currently, there are a total of 200 Assembly constituencies in Rajasthan, which are represented by 200 MLAs or Members of Legislative Assembly.

•            At present, 34 constituencies are reserved for the candidates belonging to the Scheduled castes and 25 are reserved for the candidates belonging to the Scheduled tribes.

15th Assembly of Rajasthan: Important Persons

Speaker             C. P. Joshi, INC              

Chief Minister                Ashok Gehlot, INC       

Deputy Chief Minister               Sachin Pilot, INC

Leader of the Opposition         Gulab Chand Kataria, BJP

Deputy Leader of the Opposition        Rajendra Singh Rathore, BJP

Party-wise Members in the 15th Assembly (2018)

Party                                                                            Seats

Indian National Congress                                    107

Bharatiya Janata Party                                         72

Rashtriya Loktantrik Party                                    3

Communist Party of India (Marxist)                  2

Bharatiya Tribal Party                                             2

Rashtriya Lok Dal                                                     1

Independents                                                           12

Independent                                                             1

Total Seats                                                                 200


In the democratic setup of India, there are three main types of Elections.

•            First, election to the Parliament – MP’s

•            Second, election to legislative assembly – MLA’s

•            Third, election to Local Bodies – PRI’s & ULB’s

•            While first and second elections are conducted by Election Commission of India (Constitutional Body article 324), election to local bodies are conducted by State Election Commission (again Constitutional body)

Elections conducted by Election Commission of India

•            Under Article 324(1) of the Constitution of India, the Election Commission of India, is vested with the power of superintendence, direction and control of conducting the elections to both Houses of Parliament.

•            Detailed provisions are made under the Representation of the People Act, 1951 and the rules made there under this Act.

•            Additionally, Article 324 (1) also vests in the Election Commission of India with the powers of superintendence, direction and control of the elections to the State Legislature.

•            Detailed provisions of these elections are also made under the Representation of the People Act, 1951 and the rules made there under this Act.

Organizational Structure:

•            At present, the Election Commission of India is a three-member body, with one Chief Election Commissioner and two Election Commissioners.

•            At State level, the Chief Electoral Officer of the State supervises the election work under the overall superintendence, direction and control of the Election Commission.

•            At District level, the District Election Officer (DEO) supervises the election work of a district.

•            At Constituency level (Parliamentary or Assembly), the Returning Officer of a parliamentary or assembly constituency is responsible for the conduct of elections.

•            On a Polling Station within the Constituency, the Presiding Officer with the assistance of polling officers conducts the poll.

•            Additionally, Under section 20B of the Representation of the People Act 1951, the Election Commission of India nominates officers of Government as Observers (General Observers and Election Expenditure Observers) for parliamentary and assembly constituencies.

Electoral Rolls:

•            The Electoral Registration officer (ERO) is responsible for the preparation of electoral rolls for a parliamentary / assembly constituency.

Parliamentary Constituencies in Rajasthan:

Lok Sabha Constituencies:

•            There are 25 Lok Sabha Constituencies in State of Rajasthan.

A picture containing text, map

Description automatically generated

Rajya Sabha Seats from Rajasthan:

•            There are 10 Rajya Sabha seats from Rajasthan.

•            Members to Rajya Sabha are elected by the Legislative Assembly of States and Union territories by means of Single transferable vote through Proportional representation.

Elections conducted by State Election Commission

•            The State Election Commission constituted under the Constitution (Seventy-third and Seventy-fourth) Amendments Act, 1992 for each State / Union Territory are vested with the powers of conduct of elections to the Corporations, Municipalities, Zilla Parishads, District Panchayats, Panchayat Samitis, Gram Panchayats and other local bodies.

•            It is independent of the Election Commission of India.

•            The SEC is a single member Commission headed by the State Election Commissioner.

•            It has a Secretary who is also the Chief Electoral Officer for the State.

•            The Commission discharges its Constitutional duty by way of preparing electoral rolls and holding elections for Panchayati Raj Institutions as well as for Municipal bodies.

List of Chief Ministers of Rajasthan:

S.NOChief MinsterTook officeLeft officePartyTenure
1Heera Lai Shastri07-Apr-4905-Jan-51Congress639 days
2C. S. Venkatachari06-Jan-5125-Apr-51110 days
3Jai Narayan Vyas26-Apr-5103-Mar-52313 days
4Tika Ram Paliwal03-Mar-5231-Oct-52243 days
#3Jai Narayan VyasOl-Nov-5212-Nov-54742 days (total 1055 days)
5Mohan Lai Sukhadia13-Nov-5413-Mar-674503 days
P1(President’s rule)13-Mar-6726-Apr-67N/A 
#5Mohan Lai Sukhadia26-Apr-6709-Jul-71Congress1535 days (Total 6380 days)
6Barkatullah Khan09-Jul-71ll-Aug-73765 days
7Hari Dev Joshi11-Aug-7329-Apr-771389 days
P2(President’s rule)29-Apr-7722-Jun-77N/A 
8Bhairon Singh Shekhawat22-Jun-7716-Feb-80Janata Party970 days
P3(President’s rule)16-Feb-8006-Jun-80N/A 
9Jagannath Palladia06-Jun-8013-Jul-81Congress403 days
10Shiv Charan Mathur14-Jul-8123-Feb-851320 days
11Hira Lai Devpura23-Feb-8510-Mar-8516 days
#7Hari Dev Joshi10-Mar-8520-Jan-881046 days
#10Shiv Charan Mathur20-Jan-8804-Dec-89684 days (total 2004 days)
#7Hari Dev Joshi04-Dec-8904-Mar-9091 days (total 2526 days)
#8Bhairon Singh Shekhawat04-Mar-9015-Dec-92BJP1017 days
P4(President’s rule)15-Dec-9204-Dec-93N/A 
#8Bhairon Singh Shekhawat04-Dec-9329-Nov-98BJP1821 days (total 3808 days)
12Ashok Gehlot01-Dec-9808-Dec-03Congress1834 days
13Vasundhara Raje08-Dec-0311-Dec-08BJP1831 days
#12Ashok Gehlot12-Dec-0813-Dec-13Congress1822 days
#13Vasundhara Raje13-Dec-1316-Dec-18BJP1829 days
#12Ashok Gehlot17-Dec-18“Incumbent”Congress 

State Politics of Rajasthan

•            The predominant political parties in Rajasthan are the Indian National Congress and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

•            Other parties of Rajasthan include Communist Party of India (Marxist),Bahujan Samaj Party, Indian National Lok Dal, Janata Dal (United),Lok Jan Shakti Party, Rajasthan Samajik Nyaya Manch.

•            In the post-1990 phase, electoral politics in the state of Rajasthan has been marked by routine oscillation of power between the two principal contenders: Indian National Congress (INC) and the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP).

•            The Rajasthan Vidhan Sabha or the Legislative Assembly was formed in 1952 and is situated in the capital city of Jaipur. There is a total number of 200 MLAs and 200 seats are there, of which 33 are reserved for Scheduled Caste and 24 for the Scheduled Tribes. The tenure of the Vidhan Sabha is for 5 years.

•            The representatives belong to various political parties which are but groups of people with similar ideologies and interests. These political parties need to register with the election commission which assigns them a symbol to contest the polls with.

•            A party that holds sway in 4 or more states is called a national party while that having representation in 3 or less is called a state party.

Different phases of Political competition in Rajasthan

•            Rajasthan’s politics has mainly been dominated by two national parties Bhartiya Janta Party and Indian National Congress. The earlier politics were dominated by the Congress party. The main opposition party was the Bharatiya Jansangh, headed by Rajasthan’s most popular leader Bhairon Singh Shekhawat and the Swatantra party headed by former rulers of Rajasthan. The Congress rule was untouched till the year 1962.

•            But in 1967, Jansangh headed by Shekhawat and Swatantra party headed by Rajmata Gayatri Devi of Jaipur reached the majority point, but couldn’t form a government. In 1972, the Congress won a landslide victory following the victory in the 1971 war. But after the declaration of emergency, Shekhawat became immensely popular, especially after he was forced to be arrested and was sent to Rohtak Jail in Haryana.

•            As soon as the emergency was lifted, a joint opposition Janata Party won a thundering landslide victory winning 151 of the 200 seats. Shekhawat became the Chief Minister. The government was dismissed by Indira Gandhi in 1980 after she restored power in Delhi. In the 1980 elections, the Janata Party split at the centre giving the Congress a victory in Rajasthan.

•            Indira Gandhi was assassinated in 1984, and in 1985, a sympathy wave let the Congress sail through in the elections. But in 1989, which could be called a Shekhawat wave, the BJP-JD alliance won all 25 Lok Sabha seats and 140 of 200 seats in the assembly. Shekhawat became the Chief Minister for the second term. Though Janata Dal took back its support to the Shekhawat government, Shekhawat tore apart the JD and continued to rule as the Chief Minister thus earning the title of master manipulator.

•            After the Babri Mosque demolition in Ayodhya, Shekhawat government was suspended by the P.M., Narsimha Rao and President’s rule was enforced in Rajasthan. Election took place in 1993 in which his party won even after the breaking of its alliance with the Janata Dal. But the then Governor Bali Ram Bhagat didn’t allow Shekhawat to form the government, but after immense pressure from Shekhawat, who reached the majority point after supports from independents crossed the majority line of 101 seats in the assembly. Shekhawat became the Chief Minister for the third term.

•            This time he ran a successful third term. This was perhaps the diamond phase for Rajasthan as it led to all-round development and Rajasthan also gained identity on the globe as a rapidly developing and beautiful state. Shekhawat introduced Heritage, Desert, Rural, Wildlife tourism to Rajasthan In 1998 elections, the BJP lost heavily due to the onion price rise issue. Ashok Gehlot ran a 5-year government. But he lost the Lok Sabha elections in 1999, only 6 months after its victory in the assembly elections.

•            Shekhawat became the Vice-President of India in 2002 so he had to leave Rajasthan politics and the BJP. He appointed Vasundhara Raje as his successor. She led the BJP in 2003 elections and led it to a victory. She was the Chief Minister of Rajasthan from 2003 – 2008.But the tables turned in December 2008, when the infighting within the BJP, Raje’s perceived autocratic and despotic rule, and the police excesses in the Gurjar-Meena agitation combined to overcome the incumbent Raje government’s development and growth planks, and the Congress emerged victorious with the support of some independent MLA’s. Ashok Gehlot was sworn-in as the new Chief Minister of Rajasthan.

•            In 2013, Bharatiya Janata Party won by very large difference. BJP got 163 seats and Congress got only 21 seats out of 200 seats. Vasundhara Raje became the Chief Minister for second time.

•            In 2018, Congress again came to power, with 107 seats. Ashok Gehlot was sworn in as the Chief Minister for the third time.

Panchayati Raj in Rajasthan

  • After Independence, Rajasthan was the first state to establish Panchayati Raj.
  • The scheme was inaugurated by then Prime Minister Nehru on October 2, 1959 in Bagdari village of Nagaur district.
  • Panchayati Raj in India aims to build democracy at grass-root level and signifies the system of rural self-government. Panchayats are an effective vehicle for people’s participation in administration, planning and democratic process and so organisation of village Panchayats has been made a Directive Principle of State Policy (Article 40).
  • After the 73rd Constitutional Amendment Act of 1992, these institutions have received Constitutional status.


Significance of the Act:

•            The act has given a practical shape to Article 40 of the Constitution which says that

‘The State shall take steps to organise village panchayats and endow them with such powers and authority as may be necessary to enable them to function as units of self-government’.

•            The act gives a constitutional status to the panchayati raj institutions. It has brought them under the purview of the justiciable part of the Constitution. The state governments are under constitutional obligation to adopt the new panchayati raj system in accordance with the provisions of the act.

•            Additionally, neither the formation of panchayats nor the holding of elections at regular intervals depends on the will of the state government anymore. The act transfers the representative democracy into participatory democracy. It is a revolutionary concept to build democracy at the grass-root level in the country.

Major Features of the Act:

•            This act has added a new Part-IX to the Constitution of India. It is entitled as ‘The Panchayats’ and consists of provisions from Articles 243 to 243-0. Additionally, the act has also added Eleventh Schedule to the Constitution which contains the 29 functional items of the panchayats.

•            The provisions of the act can be grouped into two categories-Compulsory and Voluntary.

o            The compulsory (mandatory or obligatory) provisions of the act have to be included in the state laws creating the new panchayati raj system.

o            The voluntary provisions, on the other hand, may be included at the direction of the states.

•            Gram Sabha:

o            The act provides for a Gram Sabha as the foundation of the Panchayati Raj system. It is a body consisting of all the registered voters in the area of the panchayat.

o            A Gram Sabha may exercise such powers and perform such functions at the village level as the Legislative of a State may, by law, pro-vide. (Article 243A).

o            There shall be at least two meetings of the Gram Sabha every year.

o            The quorum for a meeting of the Gram Sabha shall be one-tenth of the total number of members

•            Three-Tier System:

o            The act provides for three-tier system of Panchayati Raj in every state with Panchayats at village, intermediate and district level. In Rajasthan nomenclature used is:

Level of PanchayatName used
District PanchayatZila Parishad
Intermediate PanchayatPanchayat Samiti
Village PanchayatGram Panchayat

•            Elected members & chairpersons:

o            All members of the Panchayats at village, intermediate and district level shall be elected directly by the people.

o            Sarpanch of Gram Sabha is elected directly adult voters.

o            Chairpersons of panchayats at intermediate & district level shall be elected indirectly – by and from amongst the elected members. Manner of election of Chairpersons at village level is decided by State legislative assembly.

•            Elections to the Panchayats :

o            The superintendence, direction and control of preparation of electoral rolls for, and the conduct of, all elections to the Panchayats shall be vested in a State Election Commission.

•            Duration of Panchayats:

o            Every Panchayat shall continue for five years from the date appointed for its first meeting and no longer.

•            Reservations of Seats:

o            Seats shall be reserved for-

(a)         the Scheduled Castes and

(b)         the Scheduled Tribes, in every Panchayat in ratio of population

o            Not less than one-third of the total number of seats to be filled by direct election in every Panchayat shall be reserved for women and such seats may be allotted by rotation to different constituencies in a Panchayat.

•            Exempted Areas:

o            The Act did not apply to Jammu & Kashmir and certain scheduled areas in some states. However, the act provided power to Parliament to extend the Act to these scheduled areas with certain special provisions.

o            Under which, Parliament passed “The Provisions of the Panchayats (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act, 1996 or PESA Act”.

o            Rajasthan passed its conformity legislation in accordance with PESA on 30th Sept. 1999.

•            Finance Commission:

o            The Finance Commission shall be constituted under Article 243-I to review the financial positions of Panchayati Raj Institutions and make recommendations to the Governor.

Panchayats in Rajasthan:

Rajasthan has a three-tier system of Panchayati Raj with

  • 33 Zila Parishads (District level)
  • 343 Panchayat Samities (Block level) and
  • 11,152 Panchayats (Village level, comprising of a village or a group of villages)

Additional Rules for PRI’s in Rajasthan:

•            Rajasthan was the first state to impose the two-child norm as a bar to standing for elections and as a disqualification for occupying a Panchayat elected seat.

•            Rajasthan is also the first State in the country to fix a minimum educational qualification for contesting elections to the Panchayati Raj Institutions.

The Assembly passed the Rajasthan Panchayati Raj (amendment) Bill, 2015, which makes Class VIII pass mandatory for the post of sarpanch — except in tribal reserved areas, where the minimum qualification is Class V — and Class X for Zila Parishad or Panchayat Samiti elections.

The amendments to Section 19 of the Rajasthan Panchayat Raj Act, 1994 also make a functional toilet mandatory in the house of a contestant.

•            Fifteen States, including Rajasthan, have enacted legislation for 50% reservation of women in PRI’s.

Composition of Panchayats in Rajasthan:

Gram Panchayat:

•            A Sarpanch, and directly elected Panchas from as many wards as are determined.

•            The Sarpanch is assisted by Gram Sevak & Clerk Grade II.

Panchayat Samiti:

•            Directly elected members from as many territorial constituencies.

•            All members or the Legislative Assembly of the State representing constituencies which comprise whole or partly the Panchayat Samiti area.

•            Chairpersons of all the Panchayats falling within the Panchayat Samiti

•            The Pradhan is assisted by Block Development Officer who has an Assistant Engineer, Assistant Account Officer and Block Primary Education Officer at his disposal.

Zila Parishad:

•            Directly elected members from as many territorial constituencies as are determined.

•            All members of the Lok Sabha and of the State Legislative Assembly representing constituencies which comprise wholly or partly the Zila Parishad area.

•            All members of the Rajya Sabha registered as electors within the Zila Parishad.

•            Chairpersons of all Panchayat Samities falling within the Zila Parishad area.

XI Schedule

Eleventh schedule of Indian Constitution contains 29 functional items placed within the purview of the Panchayats:

1.           Agriculture including agricultural expansion

2.           Land improvement, implementation of land reforms, land consolidation and soil conservation.

3.           Animal husbandry, dairying and poultry

4.           Fisheries industry

5.           Minor irrigation, water management and watershed development

6.           Social forestry and farm forestry

7.           Small scale industries in which food processing industry is involved

8.           Minor forest produce

9.           Safe water for drinking

10.        Khadi, village and cottage industries

11.        Rural housing

12.        Fuel and fodder

13.        Rural electrification, including distribution of electricity

14.        Road, culverts, bridges, ferries, waterways and other means of communication

15.        Education including primary and secondary schools

16.        Non-conventional sources of energy

17.        Technical training and vocational education

18.        Adult and non-formal education

19.        Public distribution system

20.        Maintenance of community assets

21.        Welfare of the weaker sections of the society, in particular of the Schedule Castes and Schedule Tribes

22.        Social welfare, including welfare of the handicapped and mentally retarded

23.        Family welfare

24.        Women and child development

25.        Markets and Fairs

26.        Health and sanitation including hospitals, primary health centres and dispensaries

27.        Cultural activities

28.        Libraries

29.        Poverty Alleviation Programmes

Implementation of PESA in Rajasthan

Rajasthan passed its conformity legislation in accordance with PESA on 30th Sept. 1999. The details of notified FSA/ PESA areas in the State of Rajasthan as under:

•            Number of PESA District (Fully & Partly covered): 8

  • PESA District (Fully covered): 3 (Banswara, Dungarpur and Pratapgarh)
  • PESA District (Partly covered): 5 (Udaipur, Rajsamand, Chittorgarh, Pali and Sirohi)

Urban Local Government

•            The term Urban local Government in India signifies the governance of urban area by people through elected representatives.

•            There are eight types of urban local governments currently existing in India:

1.           Municipal Corporations

2.           Municipality

3.           Notified area committee

4.           Town area committee

5.           Cantonment board

6.           Township

7.           Port trust

8.           Special purpose agency

Historical Background of Urban Local Government

•            The origin of Municipal Administration in India dates back to 1687 when a Municipal Corporation was set up in Madras.  In 1726, Municipal Corporations were setup in Bombay and Calcutta.

•            Lord Ripon issued a resolution for local self-government that continued to influence the development of local self-government in India till 1947.

o            He is thus called as ‘father of local self-government in India’.

•            After Independence, Rajasthan Town Municipalities Act was promulgated in 1951 by repealing the existing princely States’ municipal laws.

•            Subsequently, due to reorganisation of the State of Rajasthan, all the existing municipal laws, including the Act of 1951 were replaced by the Rajasthan Municipalities Act, 1959 (Act).

•            Constitution (74th Amendment) Act, 1992 inserted new Articles 243-P to 243-ZG providing for the legislature to endow certain powers and the duties to the municipalities relating to 18 matters mentioned in Twelfth Schedule.

Urban Local Government: Constitutional Provisions

•            The Constitution (74th Amendment) Act, 1992 inserted new Part- IX A to the Constitution of India. It is entitled as ‘The Municipalities’ and consists of Articles 243-P to 243-ZG .

•            Additionally, the act has also added Twelfth Schedule that contains IS functional items of municipalities.

Significance of the Act:

•            Earlier, State Governments were free to manage their local bodies as they wished.

•            The Amendment made statutory provisions for the establishment, empowerment and functioning of urban local self- governing institutions.

Salient Features of the Act:

•            Three types of Municipalities: It provides for the constitution of 3 types of Municipalities depending upon the size and area namely:

o            Municipal Corporation – for a larger Urban area.

o            Municipal Council – for smaller Urban area

o            Nagar Panchayat – (by whatever name called) for a transitional area

•            Composition of Municipal Bodies:

o            All seats shall be filled by direct elections from the territorial constituencies known as wards.

o            The Member of the Rajasthan Legislative Assembly representing a constituency which comprises wholly or partly the area of a Municipality.

o            Three persons or ten percent of the number of elected members of the Municipality, whichever is less, having special knowledge or experience in municipal administration, to be nominated by the State Government by notification in the Official Gazette

o            The Member of the House of the People representing a constituency which comprises wholly or partly the area

•            Wards Committees:

o            The Act provides for the constitution of Ward Committees, consisting of one or more wards, within the territorial area of a Municipality, with a population of 3 lakhs or more.

•            Reservation of seats:

o            In order to provide for adequate representation of Scheduled Caste/ Scheduled Tribe (SC/ST) and of women in the Municipal Bodies, provisions have been made for reservation of seats in every Municipality.

•            Duration of Municipalities:

o            The Municipality has a fixed term of 5(five) years from the date appointed for its first meeting.

•            Elections:

o            The State Election Commission of Rajasthan discharges its constitutional duty by way of preparing electoral rolls and holding elections for Municipal bodies under Article 243ZA.

o            The manner of election of Chairperson of Municipalities has been left to be specified by the State Legislature.

•            Finance Commission:

o            The Finance Commission constituted under Article 243-I to review the financial positions of Panchayati Raj Institutions shall also review the financial position of the Municipalities and will make recommendations to the Governor.

•            Committee for District Planning:

o            There shall be constituted in every State at the District level a District Planning Committee to consolidate the plans prepared by the Panchayats and the Municipalities in the District and to prepare a Draft Development Plan for the District as a whole.

•            Metropolitan Planning Committees:

o            It is provided in Article 243-ZE of the Constitution that there shall be constituted in every Metropolitan area a Metropolitan Planning Committee to prepare a Draft Development Plan for the Metropolitan area as a whole.

Major Features of the Act:

•            The main provisions of this Act can be grouped under two categories – compulsory and voluntary.

•            Some of the compulsory provisions which are binding on all States are:

(i)          Constitution of Nagar panchayats, municipal councils and municipal corporations in small, big and very big urban areas respectively

(ii)         Reservation of seats in urban local bodies for Scheduled Castes / Scheduled Tribes roughly in proportion to their population

(iii)        Reservation of seats for women up to one-third seats

(iv)        The State Election Commission, constituted in order to conduct elections in the Panchayati Raj bodies (see 73rd Amendment) will also conduct elections to the urban local self- governing bodies

(v)         The State Finance Commission, constituted to deal with financial affairs of the Panchayati raj bodies also looks into the financial affairs of the local urban self-governing bodies

(vi)        Tenure of urban local self-governing bodies is fixed at five years and in case of earlier dissolution fresh elections are held within six months

•            Some of the voluntary provisions which are not binding, but are expected to be observed by the States are:

(i)          Giving voting rights to members of the Union and State Legislatures in these bodies

(ii)         Providing reservation for backward classes

(iii)        Giving financial powers in relation to taxes, duties, tolls and fees, etc

(iv)        Making the municipal bodies autonomous and devolution of powers to these bodies to perform some or all of the functions enumerated in the Twelfth Schedule added to the Constitution through this Act and/or to prepare plans for economic development.

Urban Local Government in Rajasthan

•            In Rajasthan, urban local bodies are called Municipalities, Municipal Councils and Municipal Corporations.

•            There are a total of 196 Urban Local Bodies in Rajasthan:

o            10 Municipal Corporations (Nagar Nigam)

o            34 Municipal Councils (Nagar Parishad)

o            152 Municipalities (Nagar Palika)

Update 2020:

Six new Nagar Nigams were formed:

•            Jaipur Heritage and Jaipur Greater

•            Jodhpur North and Jodhpur South

•            Kota North and Kota South


Each Municipality has three authorities:

•            The Council

o            The Council is deliberative & Legislative wing,

o            It consists of Councillors directly elected by people.

o            Council is headed by Chairman. He presides over all meetings of the council.

•            The Standing Committees

o            Standing Committees are created to facilitate working of council,

o            They deal with public works, taxation, health, finance etc.

•            The Chief Executive Officer

o            CEO is responsible for day-to-day administration,

o            He / She is appointed by State government.

XII Schedule

List of 18 items under the ULB’s are as follows:

1.           Regulation of land use and construction of land buildings.

2.           Urban planning including the town planning.

3.           Planning for economic and social development

4.           Urban poverty alleviation

5.           Water supply for domestic, industrial and commercial purposes

6.           Fire services

7.           Public health sanitation, conservancy and solid waste management

8.           Slum improvement and up-gradation

9.           Safeguarding the interests of the weaker sections of society, including the physically handicapped and mentally unsound

10.        Urban forestry, protection of environment and promotion of ecological aspects

11.        Construction of roads and bridges

12.        Provision of urban amenities and facilities such as parks, gardens and playgrounds

13.        Promotion of cultural, educational and aesthetic aspects

14.        Burials and burials grounds, cremation and cremation grounds and electric crematoriums

15.        Cattle ponds, prevention of cruelty to animals

16.        Regulation of slaughter houses and tanneries

17.        Public amenities including street lighting, parking spaces, bus stops and public conveniences

18.        Vital statistics including registration of births and deaths

Identity Politics in India: Caste, Religion, Language And Ethnicity


•            Identity Politics has become a prominent subject in the Indian politics in the past few years. Rise of low castes, religious identities, linguistic groups and ethnic conflicts have contributed to the significance of identity politics in India.

•            The discourse on Identity, many scholars feel, is distinctly a modern phenomenon. This is primarily a modern phenomenon because some scholars feel that emphasis on identity based on a central organising principle of ethnicity, religion, language, gender, sexual preferences, or caste positions, etc, are a sort of “compelling remedy for anonymity” in an otherwise impersonal modern world.

•            Nonetheless, the concerns with individual and collective identity that simultaneously seeks to emphasise differences and attempt to establish commonality with others similarly distinguished, have become a universal venture.

Identity Politics

•            Identity Politics is said to “signify a wide range of political activity and theorising founded in the shared experiences of injustice of members of certain social groups”.

•            As a political activity it is thus considered to signify a body of political projects that attempts a “recovery from exclusion and denigration” of groups hitherto marginalised on the basis of differences based on their determining characteristics like ethnicity, gender, sexual preferences, caste positions, etc.

•            Identity politics thus attempts to attain empowerment, representation and recognition of social groups by asserting the very same markers that distinguished and differentiated them from the others and utilise those markers as an assertion of selfhood and identity, based on difference rather than equality.

•            The proponents of identity politics assign the primacy of some “essence” or a set of core features shared only by members of the collective and no others.

•            The adherents of identity politics utilise the power of myths, cultural symbols and kinship relations to mould the feeling of shared community and subsequently politicise these aspects to claim recognition of their particular identities.

•            Identity Politics as a field of study can be said to have gained intellectual legitimacy since the second half of the twentieth century, i.e., between 1950s and 1960s in the United States when large scale political movements of the second wave-feminists, Black Civil Rights, Gay and Lesbian Liberation movements and movements of various Indigenous groups were being justified and legitimated on the basis of claims about injustices done to their respective social groups.

Identity Politics in India

•            In India we find that despite adoption of a liberal democratic polity after independence, communities and collective identities have remained powerful and continue to claim recognition.

•            It was probably this claim for and granting of recognition of particular identities by the post-independence state of India that led many scholars to believe that a material basis for the enunciation of identity claims has been provided by the post-independent state and its structures and institutions.

•            In other words, the state is seen as an “active contributor to identity politics through the creation and maintenance of state structures which define and then recognise people in terms of certain identities”.


•            Caste-based discrimination and oppression have been a pernicious feature of Indian society and in the post-independence period its imbrications with politics have not only made it possible for hitherto oppressed caste-groups to be accorded political freedom and recognition but has also raised consciousness about its potential as a political capital.

•            Actually, the Mandal commission can be considered the intellectual inspiration in transforming caste-based identity to an asset that used as a basis for securing political and economic gains.

•            The caste system, which is based on the notions of purity and pollution, hierarchy and difference, has despite social mobility, been oppressive towards the Shudras and the outcastes who suffered the stigma of ritual impurity and lived in abject poverty, illiteracy and denial of political power.

•            The origin of confrontational identity politics based on caste may be said to have its origin on the issue of providing the oppressed caste groups with state support in the form of protective discrimination. This group-identity based on caste that has been reinforced by the emergence of political consciousness around caste identities is institutionalised by the caste-based political parties that profess to uphold and protect the interests of specific identities including the castes.

•            Consequently, we have the upper caste dominated BJP, the lower caste dominated BSP (Bhaujan Samaj Party) or the SP (Samajwadi Party), including the fact that left parties have tacitly followed the caste pattern to extract mileage in electoral politics.

•            The cumulative result of the politicisation can be summarised by arguing that caste-based identity politics has had a dual role in Indian society and polity. It relatively democratised the caste-based Indian society but simultaneously undermined the evolution of class-based organisations.

•            In all, caste has become an important determinant in Indian society and politics, the new lesson of organised politics and consciousness of caste affiliations learnt by the hitherto despised caste groups have transformed the contours of Indian politics where shifting caste-class alliances are being encountered.

•            The net effect of these mobilisations along caste-identities have resulted not only in the empowerment of newly emerging groups but has increased the intensity of confrontational politics and possibly leading to a growing crisis of governability.


•            Another form of identity politics is that effected through the construction of a community on the shared bond of religion.

•            In India, Hinduism, Islam, Sikhism, Christianity, and Zoroastrianism are some of the major religions practised by the people.

•            Numerically the Hindus are considered to be the majority, which inspires many Hindu loyalist groups like the RSS (Rashtriya Swayam Sevak Sangh) or the Siva Sena and political parties like the BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party) or the Hindu Mahasabha to claim that India is a Hindu State.

•            These claims are countered by other religious groups who foresee the possibility of losing autonomy of practise of their religious and cultural life under such homogenising claims.

•            This initiates contestations that have often resulted in communal riots. The generally accepted myths that process the identity divide on religious lines centre on the ‘appeasement theory’, ‘forcible religious conversions’, general ‘anti-Hindu’ and thus ‘anti-India’ attitude of the minority religious groups, the ‘hegemonic aspirations’ of majority groups and ‘denial of a socio-cultural space’ to minority groups.

•            Historically, the Hindu revivalist movement of the 19th century is considered to be the period that saw the demarcation of two separate cultures on religious basis—the Hindus and the Muslims that deepened further because of the partition.

•            This division which has become institutionalised in the form of a communal ideology has become a major challenge for India’s secular social fabric and democratic polity.

•            The rise of religion-based national assertiveness, politics of representational government, persistence of communal perceptions, and competition for the socio-economic resources are considered some of the reasons for the generation of communal ideologies and their transformation into communal disturbances.

•            The rise of majoritarian assertiveness is considered to have become institutionalised after the BJP, that along with its ‘Hindu’ constituents gave political cohesiveness to a consolidating Hindu consciousness, formed a coalition ministry in March 1998.

•            However, like all identity schemes the forging of a religious community glosses over internal differences within a particular religion to generate the “we are all of the same kind” emotion. Thus differences of caste groups within a homogenous Hindu identity, linguistic and sectional differences within Islam are shelved to create a homogenous unified religious identity.

•            In post-independence India the majoritarian assertion has generated its own antithesis in the form of minority religions assertiveness and a resulting confrontational politics that undermines the syncretistic dimensions of the civil society in India.


•            Identity claims based on the perception of a collectively bound together by language may be said to have its origin in the pre-independence politics of the Congress that had promised reorganisation of states in the post-independent period on linguistic basis,

•            But it was the “JVP” (Jawaharlal Nehru, Vallabhbai Patel and Pattabhi Sitaramayya) Committee’s concession that if public sentiment was “insistent and overwhelming”, the formation of Andhra from the Telugu-speaking region of the then Madras could be conceded.

•            Ironically, the claim of separate states for linguistic collectivities did not end in 1956 and even today continues to confront the concerns of the Indian leadership.

•            But the problem has been that none of the created or claimed states are mono-ethnic in composition and some even have numerically and politically powerful minorities.

•            This has resulted in a cascading set of claims that continue to threaten the territorial limits of existing states and disputes over boundaries between linguistic states have continued to stir conflicts, as for instance the simmering tensions between Maharashtra and Karnataka over the district of Belgaum or even the claims of the Nagas to parts of Manipur.

•            The linguistic divisions have been complicated by the lack of a uniform language policy for the entire country. Since in each state the dominant regional language is often used as the medium of instruction and social communication, the consequent affinity and allegiance that develops towards one’s own language gets expressed even outside one’s state of origin.

•            For instance, the formation of linguistic cultural and social groups outside one’s state of origin helps to consolidate the unity and sense of community in a separate linguistic society.

•            Though it is generally felt that linguistic states provide freedom and autonomy for collectivities within a heterogeneous society, critics argue that linguistic states have reinforced regionalism and has provided a platform for the articulation of a phenomenal number of identity claims in a country that has 1,652 ‘mother tongues’ and only twenty-two recognised languages.

•            They argue that the effective result of recognition for linguistic groups has disembodied the feelings of national unity and national spirit in a climate where ‘Maharastra for Marathis, Gujrat for Gujratis, etc” has reinforced linguistic mistrust and defined the economic and political goods in linguistic terms.


•            There are two ways in which the concept of ethnic identity is used; one, it insiders the formation of identity on the basis of single attribute – language, religion, caste, region, etc; two, it considers the formation of identity on the basis of multiple attributes cumulatively.

•            However, it is the second way formation of identity on the basis of more than one characteristics – culture, customs, region, religion or caste, which is considered as the most common way of formation of the ethnic identity.

•            The relations between more than one ethnic identities can be both harmonious and conflictual.

•            Whenever there is competition among the ethnic identities on the real or imaginary basis, it expressed in the form of autonomy movements, demand for session or ethnic riots.


•            Identity has become an important phenomenon in the modem politics. The identification of a members of the group on the basis of sharing common attributes on the basis of all or some of the attributes, language, gender, language, religion, culture, ethnicity etc. indicates the existence or formation of identity.

•            The mobilisation on the basis of these markers is called identity politics. Identity politics gained legitimacy in the 1950s and 1960s in the United States and Europe.

•            In India, the identity politics, has become an important aspect of politics.

•            The rise of the Dalit politics, especially the BSP and backward class politics following the implementation of the Mandal Commission Report; linguistic organisation of Indian states from the 1950s, and rise of the BJP, and the active role of the organisations like the RSS; and the ethnic conflict, insurgency and autonomy movements in several parts of the country Eire examples of the identity politics in India.

•            The democratic political system in India enables various groups to organise and assert on the basis the common attributes which they share. Identity politics has both negative and positive roles in Indian politics.