Gurpreet Mahajan
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Cementing emotions
The new reasoning of majoritarian politics
in Passionate politics
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Whether it is the frustration and anger expressed by the protesting farmers and other marginalised groups or the righteous indignation that was expressed when forty CRPF personnel were killed in a suicide-bomber attack in Pulwama, emotional politics seems to be the order of the day. After India executed an air strike against ‘terrorist camps’ across the border, passions ruled the public arena without restraint. Even though people stood solidly behind the government’s decision, many sections of the media (print, electronic and social media) whipped up popular sentiment in a way that condemned anyone who questioned the official narrative. As emotional politics took over, the space for debate and discussion shrank. In this environment, the irresistible urge is to explain the current phase of Indian politics and the electoral victory of the BJP through the lens of emotions. However, all such accounts, invoking a simple and rather indefensible binary between emotions and reason, remain myopic. They fail to recognise the deeper shifts that are occurring in the political discourse – changes that often lie hidden under the effervescence of emotions. In particular, the manner in which the BJP is challenging the preceding consensus around the politics of difference remains unnoticed. While we confront the present nature of emotional politics, it is equally important to reflect on the new reasoning that majoritarian politics is employing in India and many other parts of the world.

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Passionate politics

Democracy, development and India’s 2019 general election



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