Public Choice

, Volume 180, Issue 3–4, pp 505–509 | Cite as

Milan Vaishnav, When crime pays: money and muscle in Indian politics. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2017. xxiii + 410 pages. USD 40.00 (cloth)

  • Shruti RajagopalanEmail author
Book Review

In India, one in three Members of Parliament face criminal charges. These are not always criminal charges related to political activity and civil disobedience, usually associated with politicians. One in five Members of Parliament face serious criminal charges like kidnapping, intimidation, extortion, murder, etc. Why do so many criminals stand for election in India, and why does the Indian electorate vote these criminals into office? These are the main questions explored masterfully in Milan Vaishnav’s book, When Crime Pays: Money and Muscle in Indian Politics

India is the world’s largest democracy with over 800 million eligible voters. And aside from 22 months of emergency in the 1970s, India has an extraordinary record of conducting free and fair elections on a scale seen nowhere else in the world. This is even more peculiar if one looks at how poorly democracy has fared in the rest of the South Asian region. Despite India’s excellent record in elections, however, there is an...



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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.State University of New York-PurchasePurchaseUSA

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