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Milan Vaishnav
Articles by Milan Vaishnav

Looking back before looking ahead in 2024

Three things stood out during the election campaign: Rising unemployment, divisive political rhetoric, and the decline of institutions.

New Delhi, India - June 3, 2024: BSF jawan stand infront of Parliament on the eve of result of General Lok Sabha election in New Delhi, India, on Monday, June 3, 2024. (Photo by Arvind Yadav/ Hindustan Times)(Hindustan Times)
Published on Jun 05, 2024 01:09 AM IST

Foreign policy shift may shape Lok Sabha polls

As Indian voters prepare to go to the polls, foreign policy will be a hallmark of the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) campaign

According to a 2023 Pew survey, nearly seven in 10 Indians believed that their country’s global influence was getting stronger.
Published on Apr 15, 2024 07:51 AM IST

Ideas for India: The CPR saga is a cautionary tale

CPR is the chosen partner of officials with a penchant for intellectual curiosity, who are willing to follow the data wherever it may lead.

Office of the Centre for Policy Research at Diplomatic Enclave in New Delhi. (Vipin Kumar/ HT Photo)(HT_PRINT)
Published on Mar 27, 2024 11:29 PM IST

On electoral bonds, a short-lived celebration

India’s political finance regime reverts to a shadowy place where the best-intentioned laws are honoured more in the breach than in the observance

Five-judge bench of Supreme Court delivers landmark judgment on electoral bonds scheme case
Published on Feb 17, 2024 10:00 PM IST

What may shape the 2024 elections

With just months left for the LS polls, the BJP appears to have an edge over Opposition. Factors ranging from caste to welfare likely to influence the outcome

In an earlier era of Indian politics, scholars detected an unmistakable relationship between state and national elections. (AP)
Published on Dec 18, 2023 11:53 AM IST

What may shape the 2024 Lok Sabha elections

Just months ahead of the LS polls, the BJP appears to have an edge over Oppn. Five factors, ranging from caste to welfare, are likely to influence the outcome

The BJP appears to have an edge over the Opposition(File Photo)
Published on Dec 18, 2023 11:30 AM IST

In 2023, a new road map for India’s Opposition

Nine assembly elections will take place next year, leading up to the 2024 general polls. For the Congress, AAP, and regional powers, a united front best linked to public service delivery may be the only way to put forward an affirmative agenda to counter the BJP

Any realistic assessment of the next national polls must begin with the premise that the BJP is exceptionally well placed. And at long last, there are signs of creative destruction underway in the Opposition ranks. (Raj K Raj/HT Photo)
Published on Dec 17, 2022 07:33 PM IST

For the Opposition, it is a moment of reckoning

Eight years after the BJP’s rise in politics, we are finally seeing a churn in the national Opposition. This ‘creative destruction’ will be key for the health of democracy

The 2022 assembly results, in which the BJP triumphed in four of five states, indicate that its dominant position has consolidated further. (Sameer Sehgal/HT Photo)
Published on Mar 19, 2022 05:54 PM IST

The dismal functioning of democracy in Indian states

In states, from day-to-day governance to the functioning of assemblies and courts, illiberal and authoritarian practices are on the rise. This requires urgent reversal

In a diverse polity like India, a focus on national developments should not obscure the backsliding transpiring in the states. That would be a disservice to both federalism and freedom. (Shutterstock)
Published on Mar 05, 2022 05:30 PM IST

How Pulwama shaped 2019

It helped the BJP frame a larger national security narrative. But in areas which saw deaths and funeral processions, the party’s vote share dipped

Army personnel and people pay tribute to the mortal remains of Major Vibhuti Shankar Dhoundiyal, who lost his life in Pulwama encounter, Dehradun, February 19, 2019 (Vinay Santosh Kumar / Hindustan Times)
Updated on Nov 07, 2021 06:34 PM IST
ByJamie Hintson and Milan Vaishnav

Are voters delivering more decisive mandates?

Contrary to conventional wisdom, a comparative study of elections since 1980 indicates that verdicts are, if anything, getting less decisive and election wins are becoming narrower

Even if Indian voters are voting more strategically, this effect could be offset by other factors known to influence election outcomes, from anti-incumbency to a “honeymoon effect” (Parveen Kumar/Hindustan Times)
Published on Aug 07, 2021 06:16 PM IST
ByJonathan Kay and Milan Vaishnav

For the diaspora, ties that bind — and divide

Among Indian-Americans, criticism of India’s current trajectory is coupled with a deep commitment to the country’s success

Large majorities of both foreign and US-born Indian-Americans say being Indian is important to them (Shutterstock)
Updated on Jun 09, 2021 08:22 PM IST
BySumitra Badrinathan, Devesh Kapur, Jonathan Kay and Milan Vaishnav

For reforms, create a coalition of the willing

Instead of big bang measures announced from Delhi, PM Modi should use his stature to create a coalition of like-minded states to pursue economic reforms

Why has the government persisted with a highly centralised approach? One, the BJP 2.0 appears enthralled with the idea of One Nation, One India. Two, collaborating with state governments or opening legislation up to parliamentary debate requires more time, effort, and risk of failure than executive decree. Three, there is an issue with credit-claiming (PTI)
Updated on Mar 07, 2021 08:16 PM IST
ByMilan Vaishnav and Jonathan Kay

On India, a fracture in the diaspora

The Indian-American community is increasingly divided on political, religious, and generational lines. India will find that the more polarisation grows at home, the more its diaspora will become polarised, and one of the country’s strongest foreign policy assets will be increasingly less so.

Supporters-during-a-reception-organised-in-the-honour-of-Prime-Minister-Narendra-Modi-by-the-Indian-American-Community-Foundation-at-Madison-Square-Garden-in-New-York-on-Sunday-PTI-Photo
Updated on Feb 10, 2021 06:54 AM IST
BySumitra Badrinathan, Devesh Kapur, Milan Vaishnav

America’s democratic decay under Trump

January 6 was a result of weakened institutional norms, limited democratic accountability, politics based on personality cult and a broken information system

Trump supporters gesture to US Capitol Police in the hallway outside of the Senate chamber after breaching the halls of the Capitol in Washington, January 6, 2021 (AP)
Updated on Jan 09, 2021 08:35 PM IST
ByMilan Vaishnav

US: The end of a corrosive chapter

There is enormous relief at Donald Trump’s exit, but the elation is muted given the challenges

The desire to turn the page is palpable. Women, ethnic and racial minorities, and urban and suburban dwellers turned out in historic numbers to put an end to the Trump presidency(AP)
Updated on Nov 09, 2020 06:41 AM IST
ByMilan Vaishnav

Indian-Americans are with Democrats | Analysis

An overwhelming segment of the Indian diaspora supports Biden. Delhi should take note

Many in India seem convinced that an inexorable migration of Indian-Americans toward the Republican Party is taking place. The reality is starkly different(AP)
Updated on Oct 15, 2020 10:50 AM IST
BySumitra Badrinathan, Devesh Kapur and Milan Vaishnav

The double-speak of parties on foreign funding | Opinion

Both the BJP and the Congress united to circumvent the law. Their barbs on China carry little meaning

In 2014, the Delhi High Court found both the BJP and the Congress guilty of accepting donations from several foreign corporations(REUTERS)
Updated on Jul 01, 2020 08:04 PM IST
ByMilan Vaishnav

It is time to resume political activity | Opinion

While open political contestation faces hurdles, the government needs to be held accountable

Given the diversity in economic realities, health systems and capacity, States must chart their own paths(Sunil Ghosh / Hindustan Times)
Published on Apr 28, 2020 06:36 PM IST
BySuyash Rai and Milan Vaishnav

From nation-state to state-nation

India must think hard before uprooting the framework that makes it the envy of the world

Religion is the only cleavage that can be reduced to a bipolar majority-minority contest in India(Hindustan Times)
Published on Dec 18, 2019 06:35 PM IST
ByMilan Vaishnav

What the 2024 battle may look like

The BJP is preparing for a third term. The Congress is still reeling from its loss of 2014

The BJP is banking on nationalism and welfarism. The Congress’ only line of attack is a sinking economy(Hindustan Times)
Updated on Sep 18, 2019 07:56 PM IST
ByMilan Vaishnav

Modi owns the win and the aftermath

BJP has enjoyed the benefit of doubt, but the next five years will test the strength of institutions

Indian voters — like their counterparts across the democratic world — are yearning for a strong, centralising leader(Pratik Chorge/HT Photo)
Updated on May 23, 2019 10:34 PM IST
ByMilan Vaishnav

Lok Sabha elections 2024: Crisis of representation in India

States have grown at different rates, and seat allocation has not kept pace — leading to different sets of objections from the southern and northern states.

If federalism is the glue that has kept the world’s largest democracy together, there are growing signs that this adhesive is becoming unstuck.(Sonu Mehta/HT PHOTO)
Updated on Sep 19, 2023 07:00 PM IST
ByMilan Vaishnav and Jamie Hintson

Uttar Pradesh, the make-or-break state, set for a thriller in Lok Sabha elections

In the 2014 general election, the BJP won 71 of UP’s 80 parliamentary seats. But, as campaigning for 2019 soon begins in earnest, this dominance also has a downside: unless it can run the table in UP for a second consecutive election, the BJP will struggle to replicate, even approximate, its majority.

Whether the BJP can replicate its 2014 LS polls success in UP will depend on the party’s ability to stave off an increasingly confident, unified opposition.(Raj K Raj/HT Photo)
Updated on Feb 07, 2019 10:21 AM IST
ByMilan Vaishnav and Jamie Hintson

BJP’s other look east policy: Eye on polls, party looks to make inroads in India’s east coast

Whether the BJP will be able to make up ground on India’s east coast will hinge on a few crucial factors. First, the BJP is unlikely to find a coalition ally in Andhra Pradesh before the 2019 polls. Second, the party must walk a fine line in Odisha and might have to bring the BJD on board as a post-election ally.

A BJP supporter wears a mask depicting Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and drapes himself with flags of BJP's symbol at a traffic signal in Bhopal.(REUTERS File)
Updated on Jan 15, 2019 09:41 AM IST
Hindustan Times, New Delhi | ByMilan Vaishnav and Jamie Hintson

Will women decide India’s 2019 elections?

Once Indian women enter the electoral fray, they tend to perform fairly well. Since 1962, women have occupied a higher percentage of seats in the Lok Sabha than one would predict based solely on their share of candidates. Nevertheless, female representation in the Lok Sabha is meagre and only surpassed 10% for the first time in 2009. Today, women make up a paltry 11.6% of directly elected members of Parliament.

While female representatives remain few and far between, ordinary female voters are playing an increasingly outsize role in India’s democracy.(PTI File Photo)
Updated on Nov 12, 2018 09:19 AM IST
ByMilan Vaishnav and Jamie Hintson

What’s fuelling BJP’s dominance in Indian politics?

In electoral terms, the BJP has become the central pole around which politics revolves. The decisive majority it earned in 2014 — coupled with an impressive string of state election triumphs over the past four years — arguably represents a critical juncture in the evolution of India’s party system.

The BJP’s emerging hegemony should not be conflated with electoral invincibility. As recent elections have demonstrated in states such as Bihar, Delhi and Karnataka, the party is fallible.(AFP File Photo)
Updated on Oct 08, 2018 12:05 PM IST
Hindustan Times, New Delhi | ByMilan Vaishnav, Jayaram Ravi and Jamie Hintson

House must act, but the courts cannot absolve themselves

The Supreme Court ruled on Tuesday that it did not have the authority to disqualify political candidates charge-sheeted with crimes — including sitting MPs and MLAs — from contesting elections.

The Supreme Court, however, lamented the growing criminalisation of politics in India.(Reuters/Picture for representation)
Updated on Sep 25, 2018 11:28 PM IST
ByMilan Vaishnav

Incumbency in India: More curse than blessing?

History suggests that incumbency tends to hurt ruling party politicians in the country more than it helps. To the extent that this trend holds in the next Lok Sabha elections, the BJP’s recent political dominance would appear to harm its prospects of retaining its majority.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi speaks in the Lok Sabha on no-confidence motion during the Monsoon Session of Parliament.(PTI File Photo)
Updated on Aug 14, 2018 07:35 AM IST
ByMilan Vaishnav and Matthew Lillehaugen

The path to reforms: Ensure enforcement, bring clarity

Election Commission of India (ECI) is outgunned when it comes to confronting those who circumvent existing campaign finance rules and lacks power to sanction candidates.

ECI is outgunned when it comes to confronting those who circumvent existing campaign finance rules and lacks power to sanction candidates.(AFP File Photo)
Updated on Jul 27, 2018 10:03 AM IST
ByDevesh Kapur, E Sridharan and Milan Vaishnav
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