Chapter 3 focuses on the representational role of elected politicians in India—how they work, and whom they try to work for. It starts with an account of the daily work-routines of Indian politicians, describing how SC politicians differ from their non-SC colleagues in their political work. Turning to how SC politicians describe their representational role, the chapter shows how they respond to the incentives of the electoral system and pressures from their political parties, noting that they generally see their role as acting as representatives of their parties, not as agents for the interests of their specific group. The chapter ends by examining which political parties have been elected in SC-reserved constituencies, finding that SC politicians have been elected for a similar set of parties as other politicians, and that parties running on a specifically SC-focused platform have not done particularly well in SC-reserved constituencies.
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