Elections in India: One billion people and democracy

Lars Willnat, Annette J. Aw

Research output: Chapter in Book/Entry/PoemChapter

4 Scopus citations


India’s 2004 parliamentary election was one of the largest democratic exercises the world has seen ever. On 13 May, 2004, the ruling Hindu-nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) conceded defeat after an unexpectedly strong showing by the Indian National Congress (INC), which was able to put together a majority under the direction of Sonia Gandhi, the Italian-born widow of former Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. Most opinion polls suggested that Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, campaigning on the slogan “India Shining” which celebrated the country’s 8% growth rate, would win a third successive term. In the end, millions of impoverished Indians, angered over being left out of their country’s economic boom, handed the opposition INC party a stunning victory. However, Gandhi surprised many political observers by declining to become the new prime minister, citing the division that her rule would bring. Members of Vajpayee’s BJP had demonstrated against the possibility of a foreign-born prime minister, pledging to boycott Gandhi’s swearing-in were she named prime minister. Instead, Gandhi asked former Finance Minister Manmohan Singh, a well-respected economist, to take control of the new government.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Handbook of Election News Coverage around the World
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)0203887174, 9781135703455
ISBN (Print)0805860363, 9780805860375
StatePublished - Jan 1 2009
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Arts and Humanities
  • General Social Sciences


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