This article examines the appeal of Hindu right-wing social service organizations, which try to use welfare provisions to entrench themselves in urban slums across India. However, in South India, their welfare provision is not as successful in Tamil Nadu as in Karnataka. I explain this spatial variation by arguing that these communal organizations fail to entrench themselves in those slums where preexisting civic associations closely linked to party officials and local administrators function as efficient patronage networks, providing welfare needs to the urban poor and reducing the need for non-state actors such as right-wing groups.

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