How Indian Democracy works, with Mukulika Banerjee

May 25, 2019, 05:27 AM

Patrick French talks to Mukulika Banerjee, the Director of the South Asia Centre at LSE, about why India votes, why the 2019 elections were radically different, how our voting system could be improved, whether India is part of the global trend of rising populist nationalism that can be seen in other liberal democracies, EVMs, electoral bonds and much more.

On Thursday, the BJP-led government under Prime Minister Narendra Modi swept back to power for a second consecutive term. This episode of Stepwell, which was recorded on 20th April while polling was still on, provides an insight into why the 2019 general election was radically different from any other.

In the episode, Patrick French talks to Mukulika Banerjee, the Director of the South Asia Centre at the LSE, about why Indians come out to vote (5:37) and why voting itself could be seen as a reinforcement of formal citizenship (9:59). Banerjee discusses EVMs and ways the voting system could be improved (13:05), how political parties have used and misused booth-wise polling data (17:05) and why the 2019 elections were radically different for multiple reasons, including WhatsApp and electoral bonds (18:30). Using her observations in the field, Mukulika accurately predicts why the BJP would make substantial gains in West Bengal (24:10). Finally, they dissect whether India is part of a global trend of rising populist nationalism that can be seen in other liberal democracies such as the USA and UK. (28:10)