India’s 2009 Elections: The Problem of Corruption

Issue Date October 2009
Volume 20
Issue 4
Page Numbers 89-92
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For democrats everywhere, the news coming out of India in the spring of 2009 seemed unalloyedly good: The country had held yet another in what has become a long string of consistently fair and largely peaceful national elections, with the result that the incumbent Congress party and its coalition had won a clear mandate to govern. Yet over the years Indians have come to trust their political leaders less and less. A huge share—nearly a quarter—of the MPs elected to parliament in 2004 were under investigation or actually facing criminal charges. This presents a paradox: While there is overwhelming support for democracy in India the level of trust felt toward political parties and politicians is low, perhaps dangerously so.