Areas of Interest

Indian Politics | Political History | Comparative Politics

Vinay Sitapati is a professor of political science and law at Shiv Nadar University, Chennai. He was previously associate professor of political science and legal studies at Ashoka University, near Delhi. Sitapati’s political science scholarship includes two books: Half-Lion: How PV Narasimha Rao Transformed India (Penguin/Oxford University Press) and Jugalbandi: The BJP Before Modi (Penguin/Hurst). The first was a biography of P.V. Narasimha Rao. Published in India (Penguin) and in the United States (OUP), it was translated into Hindi, Tamil, and Telugu. A best-seller, it was called ‘A Book Of The Year’ by The Economist and part of’s ‘100 books to read in a lifetime’. It is being made into a web-series of the same name. The second book, a political history of the BJP before Prime Minister Modi, has been published in India (Penguin), UK (Hurst) & US (Hurst, with distribution by OUP). It has also been a best-seller, and has been translated into Hindi, Telugu, and Marathi. 

His law scholarship includes articles in the Oxford Handbook of the Indian Constitution, Harvard BlackLetter Law Journal, and the Economic & Political Weekly. He has a law degree from National Law School Bangalore, and a master’s in law from Harvard Law School. Sitapati has a PhD from Princeton University’s politics department, where his doctoral dissertation was titled ‘After Judgment Day: Under What Conditions are Court Decisions Implemented’.


“The Impact of the Indian Supreme Court” 41(2) India International Centre Quarterly (2014)

“What Anna Hazare and the Indian Middle-Classes Say About Each Other”, 46 (30) Economic & Political Weekly (2011) 

“Doing a ‘Rashomon’ on the Hindutva Cases”, 43(10) Economic & Political Weekly (2008)

“Lessons Learned from Comparing the Application of Constitutional Law and Federal Antidiscrimination Law to African Americans in the U.S. and Dalits in India in the Context of Higher Education”, 24 Harvard Blackletter Law Journal 3 (2008) (co-authored with Kevin Brown)

“The Dalit Contract with India” Seminar 615 (2010)              

“Moral Rights [in copyright law] and Actors”, 38(14) Economic & Political Weekly (2003)

Jugalbandi: The BJP Before Modi (2020),  Penguin Random House India/Hurst Publishers

Half-Lion: How PV Narasimha Rao Transformed India (2016), Penguin Random House India/Oxford University Press

“Reservations”, chapter in Oxford Handbook of the Indian Constitution, (Sujit Choudhry, Madhav Khosla & Pratap Bhanu Mehta eds., Oxford University Press, 2016)

“The Anna Hazare Movement against Corruption”, chapter in Nonviolence: Challenges & Prospects (Bidyut Chakrabarty ed., Oxford University Press, 2014)

“From Vikas Vote” [Summary of series], The Indian Express, 29 May 2014   

“Healthier babies make not a whimper on campaign pitch” [Health & votes in Jharkhand], The Indian Express, 17 April 2014

“Dravidian majors take joyride on UPA’s flagship” [Job guarantee & votes in Tamil Nadu], The Indian Express, 24 April 2014

“Gujarat model built by many hands marketed with one face” [Electricity & votes in Gujarat], The Indian Express, 30 April 2014

“Where a teen cannot spell more schools cannot chase more votes” [Schools & votes in U.P.], The Indian Express, 9 May 2014

“Long bumpy road between development and votes” [Roads & votes in Bihar], The Indian Express, 12 May 2014

“An Indian Newspaper Finds Success by Going Hyperlocal”, International Herald Tribune-New York Times, 5 July 2013