Nash Equilibrium and Indian Politics

By Anand Pandey (Anand Pandey <>)

The fundamental concept of an “equilibrium” in a game comes from the work of John Nash. The concept, known as Nash equilibrium, can be applied in Politics for any democratic election.

If you have studied economics, you can easily remember Prison’s dilemma example where two criminals have only one Nash equilibrium where both un-cooperate and defect.

For non-economic students, John Forbes Nash was an American mathematician widely famous in economics. Nash did Ph.D. in 1950 from Princeton University with only 28-page dissertation on non-cooperative games. Nash was Nobel Prize awarded and one Hollywood movie on his life was made called “A beautiful mind”. I suggest you to please review Nash Equilibrium & background for more details before you proceed with this article (Wiki & Movie).

In the Indian election context, let us take one example and certain assumptions for simplicity before we analysed the all possible equilibrium and Nash equilibrium. This article is an attempt to answer certain prevailing drawbacks in Indian democracy and why politics reform is almost impossible for candidates being on honest path unless you believe in some miracle.

Let us consider that there is a Lok Sabha election in 2019 at some constituency, say, Gandhinagar. There are two main contestants for two national major parties. E.g. BJP (“B”) & Congress (“C”). There is one more very good potential independent candidate (“I”) based on his social career and interested to continue his social service by joining politics but not by joining political party. Let us recognize them by the first letter: B, C and I. There are other candidates but those are not very significant to win the election.

During election time, all three candidates have two paths:

H:  Being honest on their own social profile so far and make genuine promises if they win the election (say, “H”)

DH: Dis-honest on their own social profile, share false allegations on other candidates, make ungenuine big promises & freebies with people if they win the election (say, “DH”)

For simplicity, let us assume that “B” and “C” candidates opt for the honest & dis-honest path together. It means, “BC” either choose honest path or dishonest path but there is no possibility that one opts for honest and another for dis-honest path at the same time.  Another assumption is that, it is well known that “I” is good candidate and willing to join politics to continue his social services being in the services.

In the above example, all possible strategies can be shown in the matrix as below:

Honest Dis-Honest
Honest BC-H, I-H BC-DH, I-H
Dis-Honest BC-H, I-DH BC-DH, I-DH


We can analyse all four scenarios from the above matrix to see the best equilibrium for contested candidates:

Scenario-1 (BC-H, I-H): This is an ideal scenario for any democracy when all candidates “B”, “C” and “I” are honest on their social profiles and making honest promises to the people what can be done if they win the election. This scenario is unlikely as any one candidate can opt for dis-honest path and take the advantages by making false promises with people. Why people will choose candidates who are promising less than the candidate who making promises for everything?

Scenario-2 (BC-DH, I-H): This scenario is realistic scenario when any ideal or honest person wants to enter into the politics with honesty but other candidates from traditional parties are dishonest and making false promises such as big hospitals, schools, jobs etc. to lure the people votes. Candidate “I” knows limit of the MP Funds & tenure and strict to the genuine promises. People again decide either candidate “B” or “C” based on If-Then kind of promises rather than realistic fewer promises by “I”.  This scenario is a realistic scenario (not very frequent) but always disappointing for honest candidates.

Scenario-3 (BC-H, I-DH): This is bit unrealistic scenario when candidates “B” or “C” from national parties with many years of experiences are fully honest on their social profiles & promises and one independent candidates based on dishonesty can make advantages to lure the people votes. This is also unrealistic in the sense that candidate “B” or “C” will talk about their own social profile rather than talking about own party, central leadership face etc. This scenario is also ruled out and cannot be best equilibrium in Indian politics.

Scenario-4 (BC-DH, I-DH): Considering the above scenarios where any candidate on honest path cannot be stable or unrealistic scenario, this is most prominent scenario in Indian politics when everyone dis-honest on their own social profile, make false allegations on other candidates and do big false promises like big hospitals, schools, jobs etc to the people to win the elections. In this scenario, candidates “B” or “C” will have advantage of party funds and party volunteers for campaign but candidate “I” has no other option except be dishonest and fight the election with his own resources & money.

This is the scenario when no other candidate can be better by choosing any alternate path. Then such a scenario in Indian politics is called Nash Equilibrium.

Honest Dis-Honest
Honest BC-H, I-H BC-DH, I-H
Dis-Honest BC-H, I-DH BC-DH, I-DH



This article demonstrates the best optimal strategy in Indian politics and why it does not allow any good independent candidates to enter into the politics and win the election. It does not mean that only way to win the election is being dis-honest but it definitely says that what are the realistic & sustainable strategy to win the election in Indian democracy. This paper does not discourage good people to enter into the politics but explains why honest people can not win the election easily. If purpose is to serve the country and do social services, there are other way to do without entering into the politics and has not been covered in this paper.


Written by Anand Pandey, Founder – FARF (

Please write your suggestion & comments at


WHY RURAL INDIA FAILS TO PROSPER-II: “Significant factors Other than lack of Open Meetings?”

In continuation of our earlier blog on the same topic, we are trying to understand the various factors other than the lack of open meetings causing rural India fails to prosper as expected? Though lack of open meetings in villages are major causes for non-development but there are various other inter-link causes for hampering the growth in rural India. In this blog, we may not able to cover each factor in details, but we can list down the significant factors as root cause and we can provide details of each factors in later blogs.

Open Meeting at Village
Open Meeting at Village

Agriculture or Farmers are most popular words in democracy like India because more than half of the population (~65%) belong to Rural India. For rural India, Indian Government has all the schemes to support farmers, pension for poor old age/widow/handicapped under social welfare schemes, free education in Government school (under Right to Education), Food security system under Public Distribution System (PDS) to provide food and non-food items to India’s poor, 100 days of wage employment under MNREGA schemes (Right to Work), houses for homeless people, financial support in toilet construction, Handpump repair etc. Then why Rural India still fails to suffer?

Let’s go step by step starting from children to old age by each age categories in life. Each village has primary school & secondary school with free education for children. Government provides support for books, school dress, meal etc but why all most of the children from middle class still prefer to go to the private school. Is it lack-of proper infrastructure, unhealthy environment or non-quality in teaching because of non-proficient teachers?

Let’s look the age of youth came out from college. As we discussed above, most of the middle-class family who can afford fee, enrol their children in private school (or exceptional Government Navodaya / model school). Students passed out from Government primary & secondary school (say, type-1 students) are always behind in the race of competitiveness to get good colleges for engineering, medicals etc. Students from private school in rural India are those who really go out for professional courses or competitive exams in majority. These are the students who secure seats to some extent either in reputed professional colleges by clearing competitive exams (say, type-II students) or getting admission in private colleges on paid seats (say, type-III students). Since majority of the students in rural India are of type-I & type-III, they later struggle for getting good job. Type-III students still get low skill job in the metros/big cities, but their struggle generally continue whole life because of low salary package in their job. What about Type-I students? Will they be used by politician, or they become forced non-skill farmers, will they get MNREGA jobs etc?

Now we reach at the age of working class in rural India where mostly those youth are left who were not able to secure good job in big companies, administrative jobs etc because of their poor education in young age. Now, these youths are mostly misguided or used by the political party based on the casteism, polarised ideology etc. Exceptional are always there, but do they have courage to help villages to prosper by speaking truth, participating in Government imitativeness without being biased, standing up for their rights in villages?

Now let’s look the age of old age, widows or handicapped who are in Rural India and need to be covered under the social welfare scheme. Government has made pension schemes online so that anyone with eligibility criterion can apply online itself? Then where is the problem if it is so simple. Problem lies in the complex system where you need to submit documents like Income certificates, handicapped certificates, family registration proof etc but none of the documents, in general, can be made freely without paying bribe to officer or hefty fee to Common Service Centre who deal with officer on people behalf.

We have covered the issues with open questions in rural India by looking stages of life as children, students, working class, old age etc. We, behalf of FARF (Fundamental Action & Research Foundation) after working at ground level since 2015 in rural India (mostly in Bhadohi, Uttar Pradesh), we have findings based on our experiences to the certain extent. We will provide the details of each finding in the series of this blog “WHY RURAL INDIA FAILS TO PROSPER” but significant factors of each above issues are as below:

  • Government’s primary & secondary school are not efficient because of non-trained teacher without advance technology usage. These teachers have degree but either their degrees are itself question mark or there is no proper monitoring system in schools to force them to be sincere while teaching in class. Most of teachers have very casual approaches in terms of attendance, professional teaching etc.
  • Not good job opportunity for type-I & type-III students in rural India because of no proper effective implementation of skilled India in rural places, no proper industry, no effective English communication program in Rural India so that they can easily get job in Metros/big cities or can do online services, rural BPO job etc.
  • Most of the Government schemes in rural Indian like Social welfare schemes, PDS system, MNREGA, Pradhan Mantri Awaas Yojana etc are failed because there is rarely any skill people left in the villages who can raise the questions in right manner with right authority and can-do proper follow up. People who migrated from village to town or cities, they either nor getting time or not interested to solve the problems at rural India. Though exceptional are everywhere, few NGOs, individuals have recently started moving back for villages but is that percentage enough to solve Rural Indian problems? Answer is NO unless education people & urban educated people do support the rural Indian problems. This is the era of Digital India where anyone can support by various means by residing in any part of the world. But, big question is that do they really want so? Everyone think that why should I bother for others?

India cannot change without rural development and Rural Development cannot happened without our contribution as a responsible citizen.

Open Meeting in Bhikharirampur (09-Oct-2017)


We pay taxes and make Government accountable for work. Govt allocate budgets, make some policies and think that bureaucrats will implement. Then where things get failed.

Lets take one example. Each Village gets budget in crore per annum for development. Policy is that there will be one Gram Panchayat head “Pradhan”/”Sarpanch” elected by people and there will be around 11-13 other elected members (depending on number of wards) to pass any proposal and one will be Govt servant called Secretary. Policy is that there should be regular open meeting in each villages and any proposal should be finalized when majority of the members passed that proposal. Now where is the problem?

Lets go more deeper. In most of the villages, elected Gram Panchayat “Pradhan” manipulate these members. Most of these members are uneducated, poor and elected from each ward of the villages. It is always easy to influence them by making one or two offers, e.g. one solar light, handpump, underground drainage etc. Open Meeting are never called in villages but always maintained on register for showing to senior district officers, RTI reply etc. Then what?

Then the all problem goes on and on. Every five years, new Government elected but poor farmer & villagers suffer more or less in same manner. Budget comes to the villages, sometime half of the budget might be used also with low quality work but mostly it gets distributed from Village Pradhan, Secretary and higher officers (and sometime local politicians also take commission on certain tender/contracts).

Lets move to the positive side. We as a FARF organization, adopted few villages to start rural development work. In all village, we demanded that open meetings are not happening and it should be done. First reply we got from authority that meetings are happenings on timely manner and recorded in register. We again asked for the details of meetings (details, timing, proposals etc) and also asked why not the budget/expenditure has been displayed on public places as per rule. Later, meeting was scheduled in one of the adopted village called “Bhikharirampur”. Meeting was cancelled because no villagers were informed but since our FARF team members were there in the meeting, it was rescheduled again. Second time, same thing happened again. Meeting rescheduled again for third time,This team, our team member took the responsibility to inform everyone in the village. Finally, we made one such history and successfully organized one open meeting on 9th October, 2017. Meeting was so successful that all participants told us that such meeting never happened in their village. Long way to go!

India cannot change without rural development and Rural Development cannot happened without our contribution as a responsible citizen.