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The institutionalized recognition of diversity within India’s federal system has been crucial for democratic consolidation. Substantial decentralization since the 1990s has made state governments central actors in shaping economic activity and national-election outcomes. However, since his rise to national office in 2014, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has projected an image of strong, central leadership. He has made political use of drama and crisis to reach a national audience, echoing a politics last seen under Indira Gandhi. As in that earlier period, federalism remains a critical arena for checks and balances in India’s democracy, especially as concerns grow about majoritarian nationalism.