By March 12, 2024Uncategorized

Refereeing Electoral Competition: The Election Commission and India’s Democracy

About the talk

Besides the citizen-voter, political parties and civil society, it is the Election Commission of India that plays a crucial role in steering Indian democracy through its work of conducting elections in India, and for this reason its autonomy is crucial. Today when designs of ‘othering’, anti-Muslim violence, and curbs on dissent, often in the name of ‘nationalism’, are rampant, it is important that the Election Commission maintains its position as an autonomous constitutional institution. The Election Commission’s efforts at streamlining election procedures and electoral mobilisation in this contextual setting are important. This talk is based on Manjari Katju’s book, “Electoral Practice and the Election Commission of India: Politics, Institutions and Democracy” (2023), where she has focused on the Election Commission of India and its role in operating the colossal electoral machinery over a time span between 1990 (the year just before the 10th parliamentary elections of 1991) and 2019 (the year of the 17th parliamentary elections)

Manjari Katju

Manjari Katju is a professor at the Department of Political Science, University of Hyderabad, where she teaches courses on Indian and Comparative Politics. She received her doctoral degree from the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London in 1998, and thereafter she began her teaching career. She was the recipient of the Dr. D.C. Pavate Fellowship in 2001 to research at the Centre of International Studies, University of Cambridge, UK. She received the ICSSR Senior Research Fellowship in 2016 to study the functioning of the electoral administration of India. She has authored the books, “Electoral Practice and the Election Commission of India: Politics, Institutions and Democracy” (Cambridge University Press, 2023), “Hinduising Democracy: The Vishva Hindu Parishad in Contemporary India” (New Text, 2017) and “Vishva Hindu Parishad and Indian Politics” (Orient Longman, 2003).

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