Summary of No Country for Strongmen

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In spring 2019, India’s 900 million registered voters will have the opportunity to cast their vote on who will govern the world’s largest democracy for the next five years. The two main contenders, the incumbent Bharatiya Janata Party and the Indian National Congress offer two radically different visions for the country: a singular Indian identity versus a celebration of the country’s multi-ethnic character. But regardless of who wins, writes India expert Ruchir Sharma, India’s democracy is robust enough to withstand any attempt by a ruling party to shift the country toward autocratic rule. His analysis provides first-hand insight into India’s complex political dynamics.

About the Author

Ruchir Sharma is Head of Emerging Markets and Chief Global Strategist at Morgan Stanley Investment Management and the author of Democracy on the Road: A 25-year Journey Through India (2019). 



India’s national elections, slated for spring 2019, will feature a tight race between the incumbent Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and India’s main opposition party, the Indian National Congress. Though the BJP won just 31% of the popular vote in 2014, until recently, the ruling party seemed the clear forerunner for 2019. But the BJP’s losses in three state elections this past December have leveled the playing field.  

In India, elections are decided by its impoverished provincial areas...

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