South Asian Studies Brown Bag Series: When do parties reform, and when does reform succeed? Evidence from India’s Congress Party, Shikhar Singh

Event time: 
Thursday, February 15, 2018 - 12:00pm to 1:30pm
Rosenkranz Hall (RKZ ), 241 See map
115 Prospect Street
New Haven, CT 06511
Event description: 

Since the 1970s there has been a steady de-institutionalization of the Congress party. Drawing on prior work by Myron Weiner and Atul Kohli, and my own fieldwork in those districts, I show the extent and intensity of this organizational decay, try and understand the role of local politicians and party workers in the process, and their receptivity to reform. I focus on the party leadership’s decision to hold primaries (institutionalize candidate selection) in 2014, which was widely resisted by mid-level leaders and the rank-and-file, and considered a failure. Why was such a reform attempted by the leadership, and resisted by the cadres? In this presentation, I evaluate both the causes and responses to reform, specifically changes in candidate quality and selection. I use my field notes, interviews, and an empirical analysis of candidate affidavit data to study the question; and examine it in a comparative perspective by sharing preliminary findings from a study of nomination reform in early-20th century American parties.

Shikhar Singh, Department of Political Science, Yale University