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New NCERT Class 11 textbook: Vote bank politics associated with ‘minority appeasement’,


Vote bank politics in India is associated with “minority appeasement” and this means political parties “disregard the principles of equality of all citizens and give priority to the interests of a minority group”.

This is what the revised NCERT Class 11 Political Science textbook has to say in a section on “vote bank politics”.

This is different from the section in the 2023-24 version of the textbook, which did not include “minority appeasement”.

The chapter on secularism in both versions of the textbook has two paragraphs on ‘vote bank politics’ in a section on “criticism of Indian secularism”.

In this section, both the 2023-24 and 2024-25 textbook versions say: “If secular politicians who sought the votes of minorities also manage to give them what they want, then this is a success of the secular project which aims, after all, to also protect the interests of the minorities.”

Both versions of the textbook then ask the same questions: “But what if the welfare of the group in question is sought at the cost of the welfare and rights of other groups? What if the interests of the majority are undermined by these secular politicians? Then a new injustice is born.”

The answer to these questions varies in the two versions of the textbook.



The older version reads: “But can you think of such examples? Not one or two but a whole lot of them such that you can claim that the whole system is skewed in favour of minorities? If you think hard, you might find that there is little evidence that this has happened in India. In short, there is nothing wrong with vote bank politics as such, but only with a form of vote bank politics that generates injustice. The mere fact that secular parties utilise vote banks is not troublesome. All parties do so in relation to some social group.”

The longer, revised version reads: “Can you think of such examples? In theory, there may not be anything wrong with vote bank politics but only when vote bank politics leads to the mobilisation of a social group to vote en masse for a particular candidate or political party during elections, this distorts electoral politics. Here, the important feature is that the whole group works as a single monolithic unit during voting. Despite the diversity within the unit, the party or leader pursuing such vote bank politics tries to artificially construct a belief that the interest of the group is one. In effect, by doing this, the political parties’ priorities short- term electoral gains over the long- term development and governance needs of society.”

It added: “In India it has been observed that political parties neglecting substantive issues have often focused on emotive issues for electoral gains, neglecting genuine problems faced by the community. Competitive vote bank politics has the potential to exacerbate social division by portraying different groups as rivals vying for limited resources. In India, the vote bank politics is also associated with minority appeasement. This means that the political parties disregard the principles of equality of all citizens and give priority to the interests of a minority group. Ironically, this has led to further alienation and marginalization of the minority group. As vote bank politics fails to acknowledge diversity within the minority group taking up issues of social reform within these groups has also proved difficult.”

According to the NCERT, the rationale behind the revision is that the section in the older version “only intends to justify vote bank politics”, and that the revision makes the section a “relevant criticism of Indian secularism”.

In the revised Class 12 Political Science textbook, in a chapter on recent developments in Indian politics, a paragraph on “multi-cornered” political competition and “divergence of political ideologies” has been deleted from a section on the 2004 Lok Sabha election. The NCERT says it was not “relevant in present context”.

The now-deleted paragraph read: “The political processes that are unfolding around us after the 1990s show the emergence of broadly four groups of parties — parties that are in coalition with the Congress; parties that are in alliance with the BJP; Left Front parties; and other parties who are not part of any of these three. The situation suggests that political competition will be multi-cornered. By implication the situation also assumes a divergence of political ideologies.”

This is the fourth round of revisions of NCERT textbooks since 2014.

© The Indian Express Pvt Ltd

First uploaded on: 17-06-2024 at 08:11 IST



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