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Abstract

This thesis presents a historical case study of modern slum redevelopment policy in Mumbai, India. I investigate how three major political parties in Mumbai — the Shiv Sena, Bharatiya Janata Party, and Indian National Congress — have framed slum redevelopment over time using class-based appeals in relation to their political constraints and priorities. Complicating earlier explanations of parties’ political trajectories that underscore the historical longevity of their class-based support, I argue that parties’ class-based support bases have emerged and solidified after the middle class emerged as a powerful electoral constituency to rival the urban poor. As parties weighed the interests of the urban middle class, a group that views itself as having a personal stake in the development and preservation of the city, against those of the urban poor most directly impacted by slum policy, their class-based affiliations strengthened and became fundamental to their public-facing campaign strategies. This analysis offers a new perspective on the importance of urban governance and class relations to the long-term trajectories of political parties in India and the Global South.

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