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India 2019: A Transformative Election?

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India's 2019 general election returned Prime Minister Narendra Modi, leader of the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), to a second term in office. The BJP increased its parliamentary majority and expanded beyond its core regions. Its victory was all the more impressive given the economy's mediocre performance during Modi's first five years in office and serious signs of political disaffection, including BJP losses in important state-level elections, just months before the national campaign commenced. Modi's ability to turn things around is a testament to his personal popularity as well as the BJP's well-funded and organized political machine. But it also reflects the party's willingness to stoke nationalist passions, target minority groups, harass civil society, politicize national security, and undermine institutions of accountability. Despite the BJP's impressive showing, and some of the methods by which it was achieved, claims that the 2019 election represents a transformation in the nature of Indian politics should be treated with caution.
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Keywords: DEVELOPMENT; ELECTIONS; ILLIBERAL DEMOCRACY; INDIA; NATIONALISM

Document Type: Miscellaneous

Publication date: September 1, 2019

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