1st Edition

Indian National Congress From Dominance to Decline or Hibernation?

By M. P. Singh, Rekha Saxena Copyright 2024
    122 Pages
    by Routledge India

    This book presents a systematic analysis of the rise and decline of the Indian National Congress since 1980s, using the frame dominance to hibernation. The Indian National Congress (INC or Congress Party) originated in the national movement for India’s freedom and has since been the centrepiece of postindependence multi-party system for nearly four decades. However, the Congress has been experiencing a phase of serious decline since the 2014 and 2019 general elections.

    Analysing years of political history and contemporary developments, this volume brings to the fore important issues and key themes such as

    • Evolution of the party system in India, the contemporary dynamics and movements
    • Indian National Congress under Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi
    • Ideological and policy reorientation of the party in the 1990s under P.V. Narasimha Rao
    • Revival of mass membership and organizational elections in the party
    • Indian National Congress in the 2000s, under the leadership of Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi
    • The 2019 debacle and change in the leadership

    A comprehensive work on the history of the Congress Party in India, this volume will be an essential read for scholars and researchers of political science, party politics, Indian politics, sociology, modern Indian history, political sociology, public administration, public policy, South Asian studies, and governance studies.

    List of tables vi

    Preface vii

    Acknowledgements viii

    1 The party system in India 1

    2 The Indian National Congress in the 1980s 28

    3 The Indian National Congress in the 1990s 59

    4 The Indian National Congress since 2000 79

    Conclusion 92

    Bibliography 101

    Index 107


    M.P. Singh, M.A. (Patna), Ph.D. (Alberta), is a former Professor and Head of the Department of Political Science at the University of Delhi and a former Editor of the Indian Journal of Public Administration (IIPA/SAGE Publications) and presently a National Fellow of the Indian Institute of Advanced Study, Shimla, working on a two-year research project on Indian Federalism in a Comparative Perspective with Special Reference to Judicial Federalism. He is also co-editor of the IIAS’s biannual journal Studies in Humanities and Social Sciences. He was the country coordinator for India for the Global Dialogue on Federal Systems commissioned by the Forum of Federations, Ottawa, leading to a book Intergovernmental Relations in Federal Systems: Comparative Structures Dynamics edited by Johanne Poirier, Cheryl Saunders, and John Kincaid already published by the Oxford University Press, New York, 2016. Professor Singh is a leading Indian scholar in the fields of party systems and governmental institutions with special reference to federalism and judicial behaviour in India. His latest publications include chapters on Indian Federalism and the Supreme Court of India in the Max Planck Encyclopedia of Comparative Constitutional Law, Oxford University Press, New York, 2017, 2018.

    Rekha Saxena has been a full Professor in the Department of Political Science, University of Delhi, for more than 12 years. She is the honorary Vice-Chairperson of the Centre for Multilevel Federalism in New Delhi that is a member of The International Association of Centers for Federal Studies (IACFS). She is also the Honorary Senior Advisor to the Forum of Federations, Canada. She was awarded a doctoral fellowship by Shastri Indo-Canadian Institute where she was affiliated with Queen’s University Canada (1999–2000). She was also the recipient of the Shastri Indo-Canadian Institute’s Faculty Research (2003), and Faculty Enrichment (2011) Awards to visit Canada, where she was affiliated with the Department of Political Studies and IIGR at Queens University, the University of Toronto, and McGill University. Rekha Saxena has published over a dozen books. Her recent publications include New Dimensions in Federal Discourse in India, Routledge (2021, edited), The Value of Comparative Federalism, Routledge (2021, coedited), Varieties of Federal Governance: Major Contemporary Models, Foundation: Cambridge University Press, India (2010), The 2019 Parliamentary Elections in India (2022), Indian Judiciary: The changing Landscape (2014), and The Indian Judiciary: The Changing Landscape (2007, co-edited).