Grand Tamasha

The Economist on Modi and Rahul Verma on Ideology in Indian Politics

Episode Summary

Do the risks of a Modi-led BJP outweigh the rewards? And how does ideology play into Indian politics?

Episode Notes

First, Max Rodenbeck and Alex Travelli of the Economist South Asia bureau join Milan to discuss the newspaper’s recent editorial arguing that while BJP Prime Minister Narendra Modi “has been neither as good for India as his cheerleaders foretold, nor as bad as his critics…imagined,” the risks associated with a Modi-led BJP still outweigh the rewards. The three discuss the Economist’s editorial line, the nature of the 2019 campaign, and what’s at stake for India. Alex and Max also dispel the notion that coalition government is bad for governance in India.

Then, Milan speaks with Rahul Verma of the University of California-Berkeley and the Centre for Policy Research in New Delhi. Rahul is the co-author, with Pradeep Chhibber, of a fascinating new book on Indian politics, Ideology and Identity: The Changing Party Systems of India. Rahul’s new book busts the myth that Indian politics is non-ideological simply because it does not adhere to the traditional left-right spectrum that characterizes Western politics. Milan and Rahul discuss how status politics and the role of the state in social life animate party competition in India and how these two factors are changing over time. Rahul also weighs in on the cracks that are emerging within the BJP’s core ideological coalition and the risks this fracture poses for the party’s future.