The Indian elections that kicked off on Thursday are a democratic exercise the likes of which the world has never seen. In the world’s largest democratic practice, around 900 million voters – more than the combined population of all the European countries, across 543 constituencies will cast their votes to decide the fate of political parties.
In India it’s known as the dance of democracy. After many months of bitter and acrimonious campaigning and in spite of some missed beats on the day, the general election finally got into full swing on Thursday, with an estimated 93 million people casting their votes across 20 states and union territories.
The week when the polling began wasn’t a good one for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). For one, the party ran afoul of the Election Commission on Narendra Modi’s biopic and a TV channel named after the Prime Minister.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Andrew Yang might not even be aware of it, but the controversial economic ideas espoused by the two young US politicians are being tested in a national election thousands of miles away.
Although the latest poll surveys suggest that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) may not be able to get a majority of its own in the ongoing polls, the leaders of the mahagathbandhan (grand alliance), which has not been formed except in bits and pieces, are bound to regret their lost opportunity.
Spain is defying the grave-diggers of progressive liberal European politics. The election to the Cortes, far from seeing the right sweep into power with voters turning to the rightist VOX party produced the re-election of the young left socialist Pedro Sanchez who has brought back the Spanish socialist party, PSOE, from the wilderness.
The Election Commission has been a formidable institution. I remember the authority and respect it enjoyed during the tenures of Chief Election Commissioners T.N. Seshan and J.M. Lyngdoh.
Promises win power, performance its perpetuation. The ruling Indian dispensation would have done well to remember that in the interest of the country, the party and those forsaken by destiny and abandoned by politicians. But it didn’t because power sedates reason.
Ahead of European Parliament elections next month, far-right parties throughout Europe are joining forces, forming a new alliance under Steve Bannon’s wing.