There is little question that the founders of the Indian republic envisaged it as a democratic, secular, and plural polity. Indeed, after adopting its constitution in 1950, India emerged as a working democracy with a clear-cut commitment to free and fair elections, with a respect for the expectations of political liberalism and adherence to the rule of law. Yet it would amount to historical amnesia to suggest that the first two decades of the republic were the halcyon days of Indian democracy. Even in those initial days, the country departed from stated constitutional principles and saw its share of political scandals. State governments that were at ideological odds with the national government were removed on dubious constitutional grounds, and even cabinet-level officials were implicated in corrupt practices. These lapses aside, it can be argued that despite colossal and seemingly insuperable challenges, India managed to enshrine democratic norms, procedures, and institutions....

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