India, Sri Lanka, and the Majoritarian Danger

Issue Date January 2015
Volume 26
Issue 1
Page Numbers 128-140
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This essays considers the prospects that—in light of the electoral victory of the Hindu-nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party—India, the world’s largest democracy, will follow the path of Sri Lanka toward majoritarianism. How effectively movements or leaders with majoritarian leanings are constrained depends on constitutionally embedded structures, the political attitudes of citizens, and what type of demands civil society and political society, respectively, make or fail to make. Among the highest priorities in this regard is fresh leadership for India’s Congress party.