General Political Environment & Its Impact.
Democracy is well entrenched within India’s political system, but is complicated by tensions over religion, ethnicity and a deep-rooted patronage system. The extreme diversity within India’s socio-economic environment is highlighted in the varied political cultures and ideologies across the country. The legislative environment from state-to-state differs considerably as states enjoy significant autonomy. Coalitions led by either the Indian National Congress (Congress) or the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) have traditionally dominated federal level politics. The surprising strong electoral success of the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) in 2009 alleviated some of the concerns observers had raised over regional fragmentation within India’s political environment. The UPA which had been in power since 2004, secured a near majority in the legislature in 2009. It further strengthened its position by several electoral successes at state assembly elections. The opposition coalition led by the BJP finished a distant second. The UPA was expected to implement important and much anticipated reform programs given its strong position; however large-scale reforms have been elusive due to the complex nature of Indian coalition politics. Furthermore, the government has had to spend a considerable amount of time and energy managing the political fallout over several high profile corruption scandals and controversial pieces of proposed legislations including attempts to reduce subsidies through much of 2010. India’s much talked about corruption woes were put on the world stage due to high profile investigations and arrests related to irregularities concerning the 2010 Commonwealth Games and auctioning of 2G wireless spectrum. These scandals have tarnished the government’s image and emboldened the BJP-led opposition groups to challenge the government. For example, calls for a joint parliamentary investigation into...
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