April 2024

4 PM - 6 PM IST

019, Exhibition Hall
GICT Building


Understanding Political Finance in India

Social Sciences Divisional Seminar Series
Sarthak Bagchi

Sarthak Bagchi

Assistant Professor
School of Arts and Sciences
Ahmedabad University

Elections in India are not only the world's largest democratic exercise but also the most expensive. To emphasise the rising costs of elections, political and campaign finance has been all over the news recently. However, much before the Supreme Court ruled on the constitutionality of the electoral bonds scheme, political scientists have long been studying the role that money plays in politics, especially how the nature of political finance has far-reaching consequences for democracy in different countries. This talk provides a historical overview of the legal and regulatory framework for political finance by looking at the political funding mechanism in India. Going over the different phases of evolution of the legislations and rules governing political finance in India, the talk will analyse the influence that different political regimes have had on the issue of political finance leading up to the Electoral Bonds. Finally, the talk will explain electoral bonds and the nature of quid pro quo that this kind of political funding mechanism entails.


Sarthak Bagchi

Sarthak Bagchi is an Assistant Professor at the School of Arts and Sciences, Ahmedabad University. He teaches courses on Democracy, Indian Political Processes, Populism, Research Methods, Economy and Society and India's democratic transformation. His research is primarily focused on clientelism and patronage politics, comparative politics, Indian state politics, Populism, Informal Politics and Identity Politics. He has also conducted research to understand politics in other countries such as Turkey, Indonesia and the Netherlands. Prof Bagchi is currently working on an NWO funded project called 'Costs of Democracy: The Political Economy of Campaign Finance' that aims to study the role of money power in elections in India and Indonesia.