India’s Democracy at 70: The Federalist Compromise

Issue Date July 2017
Volume 28
Issue 3
Page Numbers 64-75
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The institutionalized recognition of diversity within India’s federal system has been crucial for democratic consolidation. Substantial decentralization since the 1990s has made state governments central actors in shaping economic activity and national-election outcomes. However, since his rise to national office in 2014, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has projected an image of strong, central leadership. He has made political use of drama and crisis to reach a national audience, echoing a politics last seen under Indira Gandhi. As in that earlier period, federalism remains a critical arena for checks and balances in India’s democracy, especially as concerns grow about majoritarian nationalism.

About the Author

Louise Tillin is senior lecturer in politics and deputy director of the India Institute at King’s College London. She is the author of Remapping India: New States and Their Political Origins (2013).

View all work by Louise Tillin