Harsh and I have co-authored a piece on which political parties gain and lose from India’s economic liberalization:
…Indians are not politically free. Those wielding power and influence can manipulate and coerce their fellow citizens with impunity because of the abject poverty that plagues the vast majority of Indians. It is commonplace for politicians to dole out freebies at election time that include everything from loan waivers to colour televisions and laptops. That citizens unthinkingly barter their vote for short-term material benefits reflects their economic weakness, makes them susceptible to coercion and degrades democracy.The use of money and muscle power during election time is well documented—the media, which is also heavily dependent on government advertisements, has been known to be paid off to manipulate the public discourse by certain political parties and candidates for public office.