What it takes to Enter Elections? The political-economy of candidate nomination in Indian Elections
- Sarthak Bagchi
- Wednesday 20 September 2017
2311 CT Leiden
Free & fair and periodic elections have been a hallmark of the functioning of world's largest democracy, India. However, over a period of last two decades, contesting elections has become an increasingly expensive phenomena. While the periodically held free and fair elections are supposed to affect the quality of governance and accountability positively, the increasing costs of contesting elections, raises certain important questions on the quality of legislators or law makers being elected in India. A significant surge of wealthy and cash-rich candidates can be seen across political parties in Indian states. 'Money power' has come to play a decisive role in candidate selection procedures, but enough money may not be 'enough' for aspiring politicians to become successful candidates. This gives rise to important questions related to the process of candidate selection in India - "What is the extent of money in candidate selection process?"; "What are the factors needed for successful transition from an aspiring politician to a successful candidate?" and finally, "what it takes to enter elections in India?". In this paper, I analyse a database of more than 15000 candidates contesting elections at the state level in two large Indian states of Bihar and Maharashtra and combine it with my ethnographic fieldwork of assembly elections in these two states in 2014-15 to describe and analyse this understudied aspect of candidate selection in Indian elections.
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