With Pradeep K. Chhibber. Oxford University Press, forthcoming 2024.
Righteous Demagogues: Populist Politics in South Asia and Beyond explores the causes, dynamics and consequences of populist politics, in South Asia and beyond. It argues that populist mobilizations are rooted in crises of representation, and populism is a symptom not an underlying cause of democratic malaise. Populist leaders, in framing their appeals, evoke the moral contract – that states are obligated to redress certain types of inequality – and promise its restoration, in ways that resonate with voters across lines of partisanship and social divisions, leading party system change. Depending on how broadly populist appeals resonate, different types of populism emerge, with consequences ranging from the rejection of populists to varying forms of democratic backsliding.