Reuters interview on crime, money, and Indian politics

I had the chance to exchange views with Doug Busvine, New Delhi bureau chief for Reuters, the other day about my new book. We spoke about the twin themes of the book–money and serious criminality–and their relation to demonetization, upcoming state assembly elections, and Prime Minister Modi’s record in office.

Here’s a snippet:

Q: What’s the read-across from your research for the forthcoming round of state elections – especially Uttar Pradesh?

A: No matter which party wins elections in the pivotal state of UP, rest assured that the crime-politics nexus is not going anywhere anytime soon. Our best estimates suggest that fewer than 10 percent of UP state legislators elected in 1984 were the subject of ongoing criminal cases. That proportion has skyrocketed to 45 percent in the last election in 2012. The underlying drivers of criminality — costly elections, weak rule of law, and deep social cleavages — are available in spades in UP. The good news is that voters seem hungry for a chief minister at the top who is willing to invest in development and governance to improve the state’s image. But, at the end of the day, voters are also realistic: they understand that until the government in Lucknow is able to project its power into the far reaches of the state, they will need a local “guardian” to look after their interests.

You can read the entire interview here.