India Decides: Making Sense of the 2019 General Election


Asia: Beyond the Headlines

Indian vendor selling flags for Republic Day.

A vendor waits to sell Indian flags ahead of India's Republic Day celebrations (SAJJAD HUSSAIN/AFP/Getty Images).

Reception to follow

In 2014, Narendra Modi and his Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) came to power on the back of an electoral wave — the first single-party majority in 30 years. His appeal to a particular form of nationalism and promises of governance and economic reforms brought him and his party enormous popularity. Yet the past year has dealt the BJP several setbacks in both politics and policy, indicating potential electoral vulnerability this time. Whether or not opposition parties will unite effectively is an open question, and the impact of increased tensions with Pakistan on public opinion is yet to be determined. The stakes are high, and results will be announced on May 23rd.

Join Asia Society, in collaboration with Hunter College’s Department of Political Science, for a discussion on the election results, and their implications for India, its economic and foreign policies, and the future of its democratic institutions.


Kanchan Chandra

Kanchan Chandra is Professor of Politics at New York University. She is the lead author of Democratic Dynasties: State, Party, and Family in Contemporary Indian Politics (2017) and Constructivist Theories of Ethnic Politics (2012), and author of Why Ethnic Parties Succeed: Patronage and Ethnic Headcounts in India (2004).

Menaka Guruswamy

Menaka Guruswamy is a Senior Counsel at the Supreme Court of India. She is also B.R. Ambedkar Research Scholar and Lecturer at Columbia Law School. Amongst other cases, she has successfully litigated the overturning of India's colonial era sodomy law section 377 in Navtej Singh Johar v Union of India (2018). She is also the Supreme Court of India's amicus curaie in a case of 1528 alleged extra judicial killings in Manipur.

Tanvi Madan

Tanvi Madan is both Director of the India Project and Fellow in the Project on International Order and Strategy in the Foreign Policy program at the Brookings Institution. Her forthcoming book Fateful Triangle: How China Shaped US-India Relations During the Cold War will be published this fall. Previously she was a Harrington doctoral fellow and teaching assistant at the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin.

Milan Vaishnav

Milan Vaishnav is Senior Fellow and Director of the South Asia Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, and author of When Crime Pays: Money and Muscle in Indian Politics (2017), which was awarded the Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay New India Foundation book prize for the best non-fiction book on contemporary India published in 2017. He is also co-editor of Costs of Democracy: Political Finance in India (2018) and Rethinking Public Institutions in India (2017). 

Robert Jenkins

Robert Jenkins (moderator) is Professor of Political Science at Hunter College and the Graduate Center, City University of New York. He is co-author of Politics and the Right to Work: India’s National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (2017), and co-editor of Power, Policy, and Protest: The Politics of India’s Special Economic Zones (2014).

This program is made possible through the generous support of the Nicholas and Sheila Platt Endowment for Public Policy and Hunter College’s Department of Political Science.

Event Details

Wed 29 May 2019
6:30 - 8 p.m.

Asia Society
725 Park Avenue
New York, NY 10021

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