Library Header Image
LSE Theses Online London School of Economics web site

Legislators in India: A comparison of MLAs in five states.

Chopra, Virinder Kumar (1994) Legislators in India: A comparison of MLAs in five states. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

Download (11MB) | Preview


This study, encompassing five of India's twenty-five states with 42.4% of its population, is the first comparative evaluation of India's state-level legislators (MLAs). So far research on MLAs has resulted in a series of studies in individual states largely focused on their changing socio-economic background and political socialization. The present enquiry extends this to examine their activities, effectiveness, role perceptions, and attitudes particularly in relation to national issues. The selected states were chosen to represent the diversity of India along regional, ethnic and linguistic lines and also to represent five different political parties in India which display different sub-cultures and ideologies: Uttar Pradesh - Hindi heartland, India's most populous state (population 139 million, 1991, ruling party BJP, 1991/2); Maharashtra - Western region, India's commercial capital (79 million, Cong.I); West Bengal - Eastern region, a longstanding and flourishing leftist government (68 million, CPI(M) led Left-front); Tamilnadu - Southern region, ruled by regional parties since 1967 (56 million, DMK); and Haryana - Northern region, a prosperous agricultural state (16 million: Janata Dal, 1990). The research is based upon face to face interviews of at least an hour's length with MLAs in these five states. The data reported are largely quantitative but rest upon qualitative and inter-active contents. The findings are three fold: first, provincial legislators, whether in Hindi heartland or elsewhere, have a commitment to the concept and unity of India; second, in the light of the secondary literature on legislative roles, MLAs in India are on balance closer to the "errand-boy" model than to the Westminster model of legislators holding, at least theoretically, the executive to account; third, there are significant variations in terms of socio-economic backgrounds and the perceptions of various state level and national issues between different states and different parties. MLAs, irrespective of their state or party and by virtue of their strategic position in the middle strata between the apex and base of society, are a vital and sensitive link in the process of political integration in India. These intermediate elites are largely "politically bilingual" with a capability to relate to both the elite above and the "masses" below. This makes them not only effective channels of communication but also an influential mediating linkage between the two. India's current population is over 850 million and this populous democracy is ultimately articulated by 545 MPs at national level. But the author argues that some 4000 provincial legislators, as an important component of India's intermediate elite, are crucial to the stability of India.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Political Science, General, South Asian Studies
Sets: Collections > ProQuest Etheses

Actions (login required)

Record administration - authorised staff only Record administration - authorised staff only


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics