Conflict, not consensus
Sandipto Dasgupta argues against an excessive normativisation of the Constituent Assembly Debates – treating their outcome as a coming together of ideas – and suggests that we need to play closer attention to the social relations of those who drove the political process within the assembly. His chapter outlines the three major “fractures” of the political economy of transition that provide an analytical framework for the constitution-making process. The first was a fractured social condition, where differential levels of development and property regimes existed side by side. The second was a fractured political coalition, generated by the inability of the failure of the nationalist movement to produce a hegemonic consensus among the masses regarding the new social and political order. The third was a fracture among the elites themselves, caused by the presence of three dominant groups in society, none of which could claim a commanding position either socially or politically. These were the state managerial elite, the industrial capitalists and the rural landowning elites. Dasgupta argues that these fractures explain why the assumption of any ideological consensus regarding the constitution-making process is necessarily flawed.