The Spectral Presence of Business in India’s 2019 Election

Aseema Sinha*, Andrew Wyatt

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
174 Downloads (Pure)


Shifts in the balance of India’s economy towards private production have re-opened a debate over the role of the business in its polity. Business interests have found new ways to influence the state at different levels and through multiple institutions. This paper concentrates on the composition of the 17th Lok Sabha and its porosity towards business (around 28.4% of these MPs have self-reported business careers). A growing of number of ‘industrialists’ and entrepreneurs have branched out into a legislative career; they complement a fast-emerging group of entrepreneurial politicians, who already use their legislative and institutional location to develop business interests for themselves and their families. We find that the influence and power of business has become diffuse and central at the same time; it has seeped into every aspect of the election campaign and voting process: political recruitment, finance, issues, and policies—in tangible and intangible ways. This spectral presence of business is shaping Indian elections, parties, and democracy and in turn consolidating India’s economic reforms and pro-business polity.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)247-261
Number of pages15
JournalStudies in Indian Politics
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 30 Dec 2019


  • developmental state
  • pluralism
  • political finance
  • political recruitment
  • entrepreneurial politicians
  • porous state


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