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.
The eyes of the world are on India’s general elections and the days leading to counting of the votes are filled with nervousness. The Indians settled abroad are also rooting for Modi.
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.
Conventional wisdom has it that the current polls will not produce a clear-cut result as in 2014. The reason is that there is no definite trend for or against any party at the national level although such tendencies are there in some states such as Tamil Nadu.
India has gone on high security alert ahead of the start of its marathon elections that will continue for nearly 40 days in April and May, with some 900 million people eligible to vote in 543 parliamentary seats.
It should come as no surprise that the potency of the heady mix of money power and criminal elements in the higher echelons of power keeps rising every Lok Sabha elections in India? (“Richest take on poorest in Telegana,” April 10, Gulf Today).
As India goes through a general election, the outcome of which may determine its future as a secular democracy, unseemly developments have cast long shadows over two constitutional institutions.
Unlike 2014, the economy is no longer the focal point of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) campaign. While five years ago, the party’s emphasis was on a market-driven pursuit of across-the-board economic growth ‘sabka saath, sabka vikas’, the focus has now shifted to nationalism.
If Indira Gandhi had won the 1977 general elections, it would have been a popular endorsement of her Emergency regime. Why would Narendra Modi’s return after the elections be seen differently from Indira Gandhi’s after the Emergency? There is a list of failures — the economy, rural distress, record unemployment