India’s Watershed Vote: The Risks Ahead

Issue Date October 2014
Volume 25
Issue 4
Page Numbers 56-60
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As the accompanying essays by Eswaran Sridharan, Ashutosh Varshney, and Rajiv Kumar underscore, India’s sixteenth general election constituted a dramatic shift in the political fortunes of the two principal national political parties, the Indian National Congress (INC) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). With a firm BJP majority in the Lok Sabha (the lower house of Parliament), handpicked loyalists in key party positions, and an enfeebled parliamentary opposition, Prime Minister Narendra Modi now has considerable leeway to pursue his agenda. He must choose whether he will maintain his focus on growing the economy, creating jobs, and building infrastructure—improvements that would benefit all Indians—or if he will strive to transform India into a Hindu state.