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  • VERNIERS Gilles (8)
  • DIECKHOFF Alain (8)
  • GAYER Laurent (7)
  • KOHLI Atul (3)
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in Institut Montaigne Publication date 2020-08-27
THAKKER Hemal
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The world’s 5th economy, India, is also the third biggest emitter of CO2. Its vast territory and solar capacity makes it a formidable place for the development of new technologies to reduce the country’s carbon emissions. Yet, the challenge is big due to the numerous political and economic obstacles. Does the current government comply with the country’s target for the Paris Agreement? Is solar power expected - and able - to replace coal in the near future? Christophe Jaffrelot, Senior research fellow at CERI-Sciences Po/CNRS, and Hemal Thakker, Student of International Relations and Environmental Studies at the Paris School of International Affairs, Sciences Po thoroughly answer our questions.

in Contemporary South Asia Publication date 2020-08-20
VERNIERS Gilles
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The rise of the BJP in national and state politics is often associated with a representation skewed toward traditional elite groups and the marginalisation of groups associated with other parties, such as minorities and various dominant OBC groups. This article examines the transformation of the sociological composition of the Lok Sabha over time and seeks to assess its elitist character, by providing descriptive statistics on five socio-demographic and economic variables: caste, religion, gender, dynasticism, wealth and occupation. Data suggests that political representation in India has by and large always been skewed toward the elites, but the composition of these elites has changed over time. For instance, the recent surge in the representation of the upper caste in the Lok Sabha pre-dates the rise of the BJP in 2014, and the marginalisation of minorities and women is a long-standing phenomenon. Since 2014 however, the BJP has contributed to enhancing a particular form of elite – those rooted in local and regional business networks.

in Contemporary South Asia Edited by JAFFRELOT Christophe, VERNIERS Gilles Publication date 2020-08-20
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In this special issue, we explore different facets of the 2019 campaign, providing detailed analysis of its outcome in an attempt to connect these elections to larger questions regarding the transformation of India’s political regime. Jaffrelot and Verniers provide a detailed account of the BJP campaign and the factors that helped the BJP secure such a decisive victory. They examine in particular the crucial part played by the BJP’s extraordinary electoral machine, unprecedented in Indian politics, and the multiple competitive advantages secured by the BJP through its command over resources and control over the media, both social and traditional. Yamini Aiyar and Neelanjan Sircar argue that the absence of competition to the BJP at the national level has weakened the position of many regional parties vis-à-vis the Centre, both in electoral terms as well as in bargaining power. This situation has accentuated the divergence between national and state politics, and helped the BJP further centralize powers in the hands of the executive. Neelanjan Sircar, in a separate contribution, develops a model of the politics of vishwas (trust/belief) as a form of personal politics in which voters prefer to centralize political power in a strong leader, and trust the providential leader to make the right political or policy decisions. He explains further how this model of politics is consonant with the unitary aspirations of the BJP and therefore normatively sustains its efforts to centralize powers. Oliver Heath delves into constituency-level data to explore the connections between turnout and various socio-economic and socio-demographic characteristics of constituencies. He examines in particular the impact of social cleavages related to the level of urbanization, poverty and literacy within a constituency, as well as its religious and caste profile. Carole Spary examines the outcome of this election with regard to women’s participation and representation. This exercise helps demonstrate that, despite unusual counter-examples in the states of Odisha and West Bengal, these elections show much continuity with regard to women’s representation among both candidates and elected representatives. Finally, Verniers and Jaffrelot provide an analysis of the outcome of the 2019 elections through an examination of the sociological profile of the new Lok Sabha, thanks to original data collected before and during the campaign by the Trivedi Centre for Political Data and members of the SPINPER project. This exercise reveals that the forms of elitism associated with the BJP are enduring, predating its recent rise on the national stage.

in Contemporary South Asia Publication date 2020-08-20
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This article is part of a Book Forum review of Shandana Khan Mohmand’s book Crafty Oligarchs, Savvy Voters (2019). The Book Forum consists of individual commentaries on this text by three interested scholars, followed by a response by the author. The article may be read individually or alongside the other contributions to the Forum, which together constitute a comprehensive discussion of the themes and arguments in the book.

in Contemporary South Asia Publication date 2020-08-20
VERNIERS Gilles
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Defying many odds, the BJP has held on to the political space it conquered five years ago and succeeded in expanding its territorial imprint. It did so through a campaign that was substantially different from the 2014 General Election campaign, which was marked by the rejection of the Congress and an enthusiastic embrace of the BJP’s promise of development for all. Five years later, much has changed in India with regard to the political system, which has become more centralized and less liberal. Since the 2019 election, the second Modi-led government has pushed the transition from a de facto Hindu majoritarian state towards a de jure Hindu majoritarian state through the adoption of controversial policies affecting some of the basic normative tenets of India’s old constitutional order, so much so that the BJP’s rise to power has transformed not only the party system, but also the political system itself. This is reflected in India dropping several ranks in most indices of democracy. At the same time, Indian national and state politics have followed divergent paths: the BJP dominates the national stage unchallenged by any rival, but is finding it increasingly difficult to sustain its sway in state elections – leaving the question of the Hindu nationalist hegemony open.

in Contemporary South Asia Publication date 2020-08-20
VERNIERS Gilles
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Five aspects of the BJP's election campaign contributed to its success in 2019. The first is the personal appeal of the prime minister, which again played a major role, like it did in 2014, as Narendra Modi led a hyper-personalized campaign. Second, this campaign focused on security-related themes which were especially relevant in the context of the India-Pakistan tensions. Third, the BJP campaign strategy was backed by the most formidable election campaign machinery assembled by any party in India since Independence. Fourth, the BJP saturated the public space with the prime minister's image, adroitly using the traditional mainstream media as well as social media. The party used religious appeal to address its core base of supporters while projecting the prime minister's image as a protector and sentinel. Fifth, the latter three aspects of the BJP's campaign were fuelled by unprecedented levels of campaign expenditure and by the opacity of political funding in India, which the BJP had made more impenetrable through the introduction of electoral bonds. The combination of these factors show that the 2019 elections were not business as usual; their singularity largely due to the decline of institutions regulating the electoral process, including the Election Commission of India.

in Institut Montaigne Publication date 2020-06-18
DUCHATEL Mathieu
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Le grave incident de la nuit du 15 juin sur le frontière disputée entre l’Inde et la Chine dans l’Himalaya a causé la mort de 20 soldats indiens et d’un nombre indéterminé de soldats chinois. Il représente une escalade soudaine des tensions accumulées en plusieurs points de la frontière depuis le début du mois de mai. La Chine et l’Inde semblent avoir un intérêt à la dé-escalade, mais cette éruption de violence complique un processus diplomatique déjà chaotique. Mathieu Duchâtel et Christophe Jaffrelot analysent les enjeux pour la Chine et l’Inde de leur affrontement le plus meurtrier depuis 1967. Trois questions à Mathieu Duchâtel et Christophe Jaffrelot

In his new policy brief: From slowdown to lockdown, India’s economy and the Covid-19 shock, Christophe Jaffrelot assesses the impact of the Covid-19 crisis on the Indian economy. He argues that the lockdowns are aggravating the slowdown that India was already experiencing as a result of structural trends and policy decisions. The Indian government faces the additional difficulty of having limited resources to launch an ambitious relief package, which will make it more difficult to address the social cost of the Covid-19 crisis, thus raising questions about the political consequences of the current situation. Three questions to Christophe Jaffrelot

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The Indian economy that is facing the COVID-related crisis today was already badly affected by an under reported slowdown for more than one year. This state of things complicates the government’s response - that is not, today, proportionate to the challenge.

On 28 May 2020, the South Asia Democratic Forum (SADF) hosted in its Webinar Series Dr Christophe Jaffrelot, one of the most renowned names in the field of South Asian Studies and member of SADF’s Board of Advisors, who gave a talk on ‘The Covid-19 crisis – long-term trends in India’. The webinar was presented by Mr Paulo Casaca and moderated by Hannah Madatali.

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