Populist political forces have played significant roles in Indian politics, and have varied in their vision of political community, in the social groups they targeted, in the policies they pursued, and in their impact on democracy. The Indian National Congress had populist aspects in the interwar period, and then again under Indira Gandhi's leadership from the late 1960s to the late 1970s. Movements and parties that represented particular language and caste groups also employed populist rhetoric and methods of mobilization, and pursued populist policies. The nature of the populist organizations influenced the effect of populism on democracy. While Indira Gandhi's populism weakened Indian democracy, leading to a period of authoritarian rule, the populism of many of India's language and caste parties strengthened democracy. Populism is likely to continue in Indian politics, and is particularly significant currently in the mobilization of the lower castes.


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pp. 81-91
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