Why has the opposition to the Congress in Maharashtra always been so weak?

The Maharashtra elections results can’t be explained by Raj Thackeray alone, as I argue in this opinion piece in today’s Indian Express. The larger question is why the opposition to the Congress in Maharasthra has historically been so lame. Another question, which my piece doesn’t answer, is why certain states (Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh for instance) have a historic legacy of the Congress being associated with certain dominant castes (Marathas and Reddys respectively) that gives them such a head start. Any thoughts?

Written by
Vinay Sitapati
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  • Hi Vinay,

    Interesting article in the Express. I don't have any theories about your two questions as far as they relate to Maharashtra, but this EPW article by K Balagopal, written back in 2004, gives some background to the Reddy-Congress association in AP.


    From the article:

    "The typical village faction was that of the village headman, called reddy in Rayalaseema. That appellation today refers to a dominant caste which is present all over the state, and men of the caste tag on reddy behind their names. But that is a phenomenon of recent decades, more particularly the latter three-quarters of the 20th century. The word has a complex history, one moment of which is that it designated the village headman in the Rayalaseema districts, in the days when village administration was presided over by the institution of hereditary headmen."