10 Books to Read About Elections 2024

In anticipation of the Loksabha Elections results that are scheduled to be announced on 4 June 2024, marking a critical juncture in the nation’s democratic trajectory, the political landscape of India brims with anticipation, apprehensions, and speculation. As the nation gears up for yet another pivotal moment in its democratic journey, understanding the intricacies and dynamics shaping the electoral discourse becomes paramount. In this pursuit, a curated list of compelling reads emerges, meticulously selected by Storizen Magazine, offering profound insights into the myriad facets of Indian democracy and the impending electoral saga. From illuminating accounts of transformative journeys, such as the Bharat Jodo Yatra led by Rahul Gandhi, to incisive critiques of the current political milieu, exemplified in Sanjay Jha’s “2024: India in Free Fall,” each book delves deep into the heart of Indian democracy. Whether scrutinizing the deceptive underpinnings of modern electioneering in Herjinder’s “The Deception Industry” or unraveling the ideological battlegrounds in “Modi And India: 2024 and the Battle for Bharat” by Rahul Shivshankar and Siddhartha Talya, these narratives collectively offer a panoramic view of the evolving political narrative. As India stands at a crossroads, poised on the brink of profound change, these ten books serve as indispensable guides, illuminating the path ahead and provoking introspection on the essence of democracy itself.

Bharat Jodo Yatra by Pushparaj Deshpande and Ruchira Chaturvedi

1. Bharat Jodo Yatra by Pushparaj Deshpande and Ruchira Chaturvedi

This book offers a definitive account of the Bharat Jodo Yatra, a remarkable 4,000-kilometer journey across India from September 2022 to January 2023, led by Rahul Gandhi, Member of Parliament (Lok Sabha) and former President of the Indian National Congress. It provides an in-depth exploration of the motivations, logistics, and execution of this monumental endeavor. Beyond mere symbolism, the book captures the aspirations and reflections of the participants and organizers, as well as the distinguished Indians who joined the Yatra from Kanyakumari to Kashmir. Through this narrative, it seeks to embrace and understand India’s immense diversity. The book delves into the multifaceted significance of the Yatra. “Bharat Jodo” held different meanings for different people, encompassing a range of social, economic, political, and cultural interpretations. A distinguished group of India’s leading academics, activists, politicians, and citizens from various backgrounds contribute their perspectives. Yet, what unites these diverse viewpoints is the Yatra’s fundamental call to all patriots to reclaim our shared humanity and, in doing so, the very soul of India.

2024 India in Free Fall by Sanjay Jha Book Cover

2. 2024: India in Free Fall by Sanjay Jha

During Narendra Modi’s decade-long leadership as Prime Minister of India, the nation has garnered international attention for establishing a majoritarian regime that has aggressively suppressed press freedom, dismantled civil liberties, fueled religious polarization, perpetuated caste discrimination, weakened institutions, and engaged in demagoguery, contributing to a notable decline in democratic principles. The world’s largest democracy appears to be veering toward disorder and instability. Could it be that the political legitimacy granted to authoritarian populists, paradoxically through their popular mandates, poses the greatest threat to democracy? In 2024, former Congress spokesperson Sanjay Jha contended that India is experiencing a dramatic decline. As the nation prepares for another round of elections, he highlights pressing concerns—from the marginalization of Muslim minorities and the erosion of citizens’ rights and homes to the covert undermining of the judiciary and the unchecked rise of crony capitalism and plutocracy, exacerbating income inequality. Urgent and insightful, this is an essential read for anyone invested in the country’s future and their own.

The Deception Industry by Herjinder

3. The Deception Industry: The Art, Craft and Science of Hacking the Electorate by Herjinder

In an era when technology advances at breakneck speed and social media’s influence is ubiquitous, the core of democracy faces a pivotal moment. “The Deception Industry: The Art, Craft, and Science of Hacking the Electorate” delves into this critical intersection, exploring the essential tools that have transformed contemporary election campaigns. From the ubiquitous mobile phone, now central to political maneuvering, to the covert troves of voter data that can sway political stories, the initial section sets the foundation for understanding the dynamics of influence. The narrative unfolds to reveal a complex web spun by powerful entities, with social media crafting the storylines. The strategic spread of fake news is exposed as a deliberate ploy, while the dark side of messaging apps and the coordinated efforts of digital operatives are brought to light, showing their significant role in molding public opinion. Beyond the tools and key players, the book offers a deep examination of the deception industry itself, scrutinizing the election business and its ethically dubious practices. “The Deception Industry” not only breaks down these deceptive strategies but also prompts readers to grapple with the ethical dilemmas of employing such tactics to secure electoral victories.

Modi And India: 2024 and the Battle for Bharat by Rahul Shivshankar and Siddhartha Talya

4. Modi And India: 2024 and the Battle for Bharat by Rahul Shivshankar and Siddhartha Talya

The year 2014 marked a pivotal moment for both the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and India. Will 2024 carry similar significance? Is the upcoming election about halting Narendra Modi’s ascent and his purported reshaping of India’s foundational ideals, or does it signify the dawn of a dharma-driven ‘second republic’? In 2014, under Modi’s leadership, the BJP secured a decisive majority in the Lok Sabha elections. The victory of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) ended nearly twenty-five years of predominantly unstable coalition governments. By 2019, the BJP further strengthened its position, solidifying its parliamentary dominance and enabling the passage of transformative laws and policies. The Modi-led NDA has primarily focused on establishing Bharat as a ‘Vishwa Guru’—a model of moral integrity, a pluralistic democracy guided by dharma, and drawing from the timeless principles of Hindu universalism. However, this embrace of India’s Hindu heritage has led the Opposition and many commentators to express concerns about the rise of a ‘second republic’—a ‘Hindu Rashtra’ anchored in rigid ultra-nationalist and majoritarian ideology. The INDIA bloc has framed the 2024 election as the final chance to thwart the rise of Modi and his vision for India. Modi and India: 2024 and the Battle for Bharat is an evocative, anecdotal, argumentative, and deeply researched chronicle of the emergence of, and the struggle over, a new republic in the making.

India's Experiment with Democracy by S.Y. Quraishi

5. India’s Experiment with Democracy by S.Y. Quraishi

Since its inception as a republic, India has stood as the world’s largest democracy, often hailed as a model due to its foundational principles like an impartial Election Commission and a culture of open dialogue and debate. Key aspects of its democratic framework include the fair management of diversity, a commitment to an equitable society, and a deep respect for the Constitution. However, the interplay between historical realities and theoretical ideals has sometimes disrupted the social contract, with conflicts hindering the full realization of democracy. In his work, “India’s Experiment with Democracy,” former chief election commissioner S.Y. Quraishi delves into the critical questions facing India today: What essential principles should define our concepts of nationhood, citizenship, and democracy? How can we revitalize our national discourse with renewed inquiry and imaginative thinking, allowing for necessary adjustments? Ultimately, this book advocates for reasoned debate, objective inquiry, secularism, civil liberties, and compassion as vital components of a thriving democracy.

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The Indian Reality by Ram Madhav Book Cover

6. The Indian Reality: Changing Narratives, Shifting Perceptions by Ram Madhav

Dr. Madhav’s latest installment, “The Indian Reality: Changing Narratives, Shifting Perceptions,” delves into the evolving landscape that now defines nations and their people. As societies undergo multifaceted transformations, there arises a pressing need for fresh insights and dialogues. India, too, finds itself swept up in this tide of change, marked by a decade of seismic shifts across every facet of national life. Dr. Madhav’s penetrating essays explore the evolving agendas of society, the dynamics of contemporary Hindutva, lessons drawn from history, the essence of effective governance, and India’s evolving global engagement. In doing so, he not only chronicles this journey of change but also sketches a visionary portrayal of a society in motion. A compelling read for those seeking a panoramic glimpse into the themes that will captivate the world as the twenty-first century unfolds.

7. Modi’s Northeast Story by Tuhin A. Sinha and Aditya Pittie

A groundbreaking anthology emerges, capturing the singular evolution of India’s northeastern states since 2014. Scarred by the fallout of the 1962 war with China and marginalized by decades of governmental neglect, the region found renewed hope under the visionary leadership of Prime Ministers Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Narendra Modi, particularly through the latter’s Act East Policy. A decade of concerted efforts has yielded tangible results, with seamless road networks, expanded air transportation, and extensive railway infrastructure redefining travel across the Northeast. Concurrently, a decline in insurgency and resolution of inter-state conflicts have fostered an unprecedented era of peace, igniting a boom in tourism and revitalizing the local economy. “Modi’s Northeast Story” amplifies the voices of those intimately involved in this transformative journey, offering firsthand perspectives on the power of political will to effect profound change.

Why Bharat Matters by S. Jaishankar Book Cover

8. Why Bharat Matters by S. Jaishankar

In a world fraught with challenges and uncertainties, characterized by the upheaval wrought by COVID-19, conflicts in regions like Ukraine and West Asia, climate-related disasters, as well as the specter of radicalization and terrorism, complexity reigns. Geopolitical dynamics are in flux, with China’s ascendancy, shifts in U.S. foreign policy, Russia’s strategic maneuvers, the effects of globalization, and the transformative power of emerging technologies all playing pivotal roles. Amidst this backdrop, India endeavors to chart its course, aspiring to maintain its trajectory towards becoming a leading global force. As a “Vishwa Mitra,” it aims not only for its own advancement but also for the welfare of the Global South, contributing to the greater good of humanity. India’s prominence on the global stage is increasingly evident, as it stands poised to shoulder new responsibilities and seize emerging opportunities. With the dawn of the “Amrit Kaal” (the auspicious era), India envisions a future marked by growth and progress, all while staying rooted in its rich traditions and heritage.

Every Vote Counts by Navin Chawla

9. Every Vote Counts by Navin Chawla

Navin Chawla offers a firsthand perspective on Indian elections, having overseen the historic 2009 general election and numerous state elections during his tenure as Chief Election Commissioner. Every Vote Counts delves into the intricate process of managing the world’s largest electoral exercise, drawing insights from Chawla’s extensive experience. From grappling with the challenge of conducting fair elections amidst a backdrop of law-breaking lawmakers to navigating complexities in conflict-ridden regions like Maoist-affected areas and Jammu and Kashmir, the Election Commission faces multifaceted hurdles. Questions arise about the effectiveness of the model code of conduct, the reliability of electronic voting machines, and the feasibility of implementing compulsory voting. Additionally, the book explores the potential impact of synchronized elections for the Lok Sabha and state assemblies. Every Vote Counts offers a captivating narrative, providing readers with a comprehensive understanding of the electoral machinery in India. As the 2024 elections loom ahead, it becomes an essential reading for every concerned citizen.

The Verdict by Prannoy Roy and Dorab R. Sopariwala

10. The Verdict by Prannoy Roy and Dorab R. Sopariwala

What are the pivotal elements that determine electoral outcomes in India? How does India’s democratic machinery operate, and what factors influence its efficacy? Is the era of anti-incumbency drawing to a close? Can opinion polls and exit polls be deemed trustworthy? To what extent does apprehension influence voter behavior? Is the female electorate a significant force? Do the choices of candidates impact electoral results? Is there a trend towards greater democratization or a regression? Is there potential for tampering with electronic voting machines (EVMs)? Can Indian elections be characterized as a system of improvisation (‘jugaad’)? In anticipation of India’s upcoming general elections, “The Verdict” delves into these inquiries using meticulous psephology, original investigations, and undisclosed revelations, spanning India’s electoral journey since its inaugural polls in 1952. With a keen eye on 2019, it offers insights to gauge the prospects of the incumbent government. Authored by Prannoy Roy and Dorab R. Sopariwala, celebrated for their adeptness in unraveling electoral intricacies, this book is indispensable for those intrigued by Indian politics and electoral dynamics.

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