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Making Sense of the House: Explaining the Decline of the Indian Parliament amidst Democratization


  • Rahul Verma

    (Rahul Verma is a Graduate student, Department of Political Science, University of California, Berkeley, United States. E-mail:

  • Vikas Tripathi

    (Vikas Tripathi is Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science and Public Administration, Dr. H.S. Gour University, Sagar, Madhya Pradesh, India. E-mail:


Although the Indian Parliament has witnessed progressive democratization in terms of representation of various sections of society, it has declined as an effective institution of accountability. Unlike in Western democracies, the decline of Indian parliament is not due to strengthening of the executive. Ironically both the executive and the parliament in India have remained weak during the ‘democratic upsurge’ era, while some non-parliamentary institutions have succeeded in asserting their autonomy. We find that existing literature on Indian parliament fails in explaining the paradox of declining parliamentary performance amidst its democratization. In this article, we highlight five such paradoxes. We bring in political parties as the main explanatory variable and argue that the changing character of political parties during the ‘democratic upsurge’ era in India lies at the heart of this debate: the emergence of new players representing sectional interests though increased representation of various sections of society, yet adversarial politics among these parties led to parliament’s decline.

Suggested Citation

  • Rahul Verma & Vikas Tripathi, 2013. "Making Sense of the House: Explaining the Decline of the Indian Parliament amidst Democratization," Studies in Indian Politics, , vol. 1(2), pages 153-177, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:sae:indpol:v:1:y:2013:i:2:p:153-177

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