SPINPER analyses the social profile of the elected representatives of the “world’s largest democracy” and its evolution between 1962 and 2019.
These lawmakers form the elite of the Indian polity, not only because they play a key role in the country’s parliamentary system, but also because heads and members of the governments come from this milieu, at the national as well as the state level.
To emphasize the state level is relevant here because India, as a federal regime, has decentralised power, and because the Members of the Legislative Assemblies (the states’ lower houses) offer a larger sample of the Indian political personnel than the Members of Parliament.
The trend towards more inclusiveness that had started in the late 1980s, with the election of low caste members in the assemblies, has been reversed across the country. The come back of forward caste, urban “middle class” Hindu males at the expense of rural low caste, female and Muslim representatives has been amplified by the rise to power of the BJP, whose Hindu ethno-religious populism has helped the elite groups to regain power.
SPINPER also shows that the assemblies’ inclusiveness also diminished because of the growing importance of political families known as “dynasties” in India, not only at the national level, but at the state level too.
This analysis relies on the biographical data of about 70,000 elected representatives. The data collection phase combining data scraping and web mining for the information available on line and systematic fieldwork for the others and the phase of data processing have both associated Sciences Po-based research units (CERI, CDSP and Médialab) and the Ashoka University-based Trivedi Center for Political Data. The phase of data analysis will result in several publications that this web site will announce too.