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India’s shrinking national parties

It is open to question whether India is really governable from the centre – New Delhi. It is already inaccurate to call the two main contenders – the governing Congress party and the Hindu revivalist Bharatiya Janata party – national parties. The species no longer exists. India’s political spectrum is so fragmented that this Congress government heads a coalition of 13 parties – until last year with external Communist support. It replaced a BJP that bounced around inside a 23-party coalition.

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