One billion voters and an ‘ideological battle’: The key details ahead of India’s election

Tyler Mitchell By Tyler Mitchell Jun7,2024
Key Points
  • Almost one billion voters will head to polls for the world’s largest election.
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi is facing an alliance of two dozen opposition parties.
  • Surveys suggest Modi will easily win a majority even though voters have serious concerns.
India votes on Friday in the world’s largest election as Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeks a historic third term in office on the back of growth, welfare, his personal popularity and Hindu nationalism.
The vote pits Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party, widely considered a Hindu nationalist party, against an alliance of two dozen opposition parties.

The opposition parties are challenging him with promises of increased affirmative action, more handouts and what they say is the need to save democratic institutions from Modi’s dictatorial rule.

What do we know about the vote?

The gigantic exercise involving almost one billion voters will be spread over seven days across the world’s most populous country in the peak of the summer heat.

It ends on 1 June and votes will be counted on 4 June.

How significant is the election?

In the largest of the seven phases, 166 million voters in 102 constituencies across 21 states and territories will vote on Friday.

Surveys suggest that the BJP will easily win a majority even though voters have concerns about unemployment, inflation and rural distress in the world’s fastest-growing major economy, with the spotlight being on whether the BJP can improve on its 2019 victory and by how much.

“In the next five years, we will take our nation into the top three economies of the world, launch a final and decisive assault against poverty, open up newer avenues of growth … unveil the next generation of reforms, and take a number of pro-people decisions and actions,” Modi wrote in the BJP’s election manifesto.

What is Modi’s party promising?

The manifesto and the theme of the BJP campaign is titled “Modi Ki Guarantee”, or Modi’s guarantee to fulfil promises made to voters, underlining the unusual leader-centric, presidential-style pitch in a parliamentary system.
If he wins, Modi will be only the second Indian prime minister to be elected three times in a row, after post-independence leader Jawaharlal Nehru.

Modi says that his first two terms were appetisers and the main course will be served in the third term.

Leaders hold a press conference.

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi (left) and Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav at a joint press conference. Source: Getty / Hindustan Times

BJP hoardings across towns and cities highlight achievements including India’s historic landing on the moon’s south pole and fighting corruption to woo voters.

Hindu nationalism is a key theme.
Critics accuse Modi’s government and BJP of discriminating against India’s 200 million minority Muslims to please their hardline Hindu base. The party denies the accusations.

Sporadic violence between Hindus and Muslims continues to break out.

Who is running against Modi?

The opposition INDIA alliance says the election is an ideological battle being fought to stop the BJP from ending the constitution and democratic system.

Rahul Gandhi, leader of the main opposition Congress party, said the BJP always seeks to divert attention from major issues such as unemployment and price rise.

“Sometimes the PM goes underwater in the ocean and sometimes he is on a seaplane but does not talk about issues,” Gandhi said, referring to Modi’s widely publicised engagements in recent months.
“Today, there is an ideological battle taking place in India. On one side, there are the ideas of Periyar, social justice, freedom and equality. On the other side, are the ideas of the RSS, Narendra Modi and his government. Narendra Modi says – one nation, one leader, one language.”
“The Tamil language is no less than any other Indian language. There are many different languages and cultures in this country and all are equally important to us,” he added.
While the alliance has struggled to forge unity and field common candidates against the BJP, it has accused the government of denying it a level playing field by arresting opposition leaders in corruption cases and making huge tax demands ahead of the vote.

The government denies the accusations.

Tyler Mitchell

By Tyler Mitchell

Tyler is a renowned journalist with years of experience covering a wide range of topics including politics, entertainment, and technology. His insightful analysis and compelling storytelling have made him a trusted source for breaking news and expert commentary.

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2 thoughts on “One billion voters and an ‘ideological battle’: The key details ahead of India’s election”
  1. It is evident that Prime Minister Modi has a strong hold on the public sentiment and is likely to secure a third term, despite the opposition’s efforts. The concerns raised by voters about economic issues will undoubtedly play a crucial role in shaping the future trajectory of India’s politics.

  2. As an Indian citizen, I believe this election is crucial for our future. It’s concerning that while surveys suggest Modi will win, many voters are troubled by the current economic issues. I hope the elected government prioritizes the needs of the people and works towards a more inclusive society.

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