While the world’s attention has been focused on leadership elections and selections in countries like China, Israel, Japan and the United States, recent political developments in the world’s largest democracy also warrant attention. Although national elections will not take place in India until 2014, recently there have been crucial state elections and party leadership changes, and elections in ten states are due over the next year. Rahul Gandhi has been elevated to the position of vice president of the Congress party, further stoking discussions about his role in the party and government. The potential impact of the recent Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) presidential elections on the party’s direction over the next few years is still being debated. Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi’s third electoral victory in state elections has once again sparked questions about his prime ministerial aspirations and chances. Speculation also continues about the national political prospects of others like Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan.
On February 14, the India Project at Brookings hosted a discussion on these recent political dynamics in India, as well as their potential impact on the policy debate and political developments over the next year. Panelists included Sadanand Dhume, resident fellow at American Enterprise Institute, and Milan Vaishnav, an associate in the South Asia program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Brookings Fellow Tanvi Madan, director of the India Project, moderated the discussion.