Asia Research Institute

India's 2019 Elections: Majoritarianism, Pluralism, and Democracy

University of Bristol
Tuesday 11th (12:30) - Wednesday 12th June 2019 (13:00)

The workshop will assess the 2019 Indian General Election as a democratic exercise.  

The 2019 election is a critical one. The Hindu nationalist government has weakened the plural and democratic character of the political system since 2014.  Verbal and physical assaults on minorities have been tolerated. Populist rhetoric has become common place. Politics has become polarised over certain topics. Social cleavages been opened up and ethnic tensions encouraged by politicians competing for office. Participants will assess India’s political trajectory since 2014 and refer to longer term trends in democratic development. The campaign itself has highlighted issues of division, governance and institutional integrity. Foreign and security policy issues have been especially prominent and further tested the rules under which India’s elections are run.

As well as scrutinising the election process contributors will interpret the outcome of the election. A return to office by Prime Minister Modi may push India in the direction of a hybrid regime. Alternatively, a hung parliament might reverse some of the weakening in Indian democracy or produce a short-term coalition before another round of elections. The foreign policy and security implications of the election and the new national government will be debated. Longer term issues, including the skewed gender and occupational profile of candidates and legislatures will be profiled and interpreted. The growing salience of economic issues and developmental rhetoric will be discussed. 

Organised in collaboration with the Politics of South Asia Specialist Group of the PSA and the University of Bristol.

India’s 2019 Elections: Majoritarianism, Pluralism, and Democracy

Tuesday 11 June – Wednesday 12 June 2019

Arrival. Registration and lunch.


Panel 1: The 2019 Election and its Consequences

  • James Chiriyankandath (London), ‘Beleaguered national institutions? The Election Commission and the Supreme Court and the 2019 election campaign’
  • Rekha Diwakar (Sussex) ‘2019 results:  Implications for party system and democracy in India’
  • Oliver Heath (RHUL) ‘The stabilization of the Indian electorate? Volatility and vote swing in the 2019 Lok Sabha’

Tea and coffee

Panel 2: Nationalist and Majoritarian Politics

  • Katharine Adeney (Nottingham) ‘Growing evidence of majoritarianism in India’
  • Pradeep Chhibber (UCB) and Adnan Naseemullah (Kings’s College London), ‘Breaking the Moral Contract: Corruption and the Success of Right-Wing Politics in India (and Pakistan)’
  • Dishil Shrimankar (Nottingham) ‘Nationalist rhetoric and right-wing parties: Evidence from India’

Election Roundtable

  • Vignesh Rajahmani (King’s College London)
  • Rashmi Singh (Cambridge)
  • Aseema Sinha (Claremont McKenna College and Benjamin Meaker Visiting Professor Bristol)
  • Andrew Whitehead (Nottingham)

Workshop dinner 7.30pm


Wednesday 12 June

Panel 3: Campaigning Identity and representation


  • Amogh Sharma (Oxford), ‘Election Campaigns and the Congress Party’ [Full title TBC]
  • Aseema Sinha (Claremont McKenna College and Benjamin Meaker Visiting Professor Bristol) and Andrew Wyatt (Bristol), ‘Business & the 2019 election’
  • Carole Spary   (Nottingham) ‘Gender politics and the 2019 Indian general election’


Panel 4: Elections, Security and International Politics

  • Ann George (Leicester), ‘A consistent foreign policy: India’s multialignment and the role of ideational elements’
  • Kate Sullivan de Estrada (Oxford), ‘Indian foreign and security policy before and after the 2019 elections: Have structures ‘fought back’?’

Closing discussion

Lunch and close
Workshop co-sponsored by the IAS-University of Bristol, University of Nottingham Asia Research Institute and the Political Studies Association.

Asia Research Institute

Law and Social Sciences building
University of Nottingham
University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD

telephone: +44 (0)115 828 3087