Sat. Jul 13th, 2024

India Gears Up for Monumental Election: 960 Million Voters Await Modi’s Third Term Bid

India’s Election Commissioner declared the commencement of polls on April 19, setting the stage for a monumental electoral event in the world’s largest democracy. With an estimated 960 million eligible voters out of a population of 1.4 billion, the anticipated month-long polls are poised to shape the nation’s future.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is anticipated to secure another five-year term, amidst a backdrop of increasing religious polarization. The polling process will unfold over seven phases, culminating on June 1, with Indians casting their votes for 543 seats in the lower house of parliament, the Lok Sabha.

All votes, representing the country’s diverse 28 states and eight union territories, will be tallied on June 4, as announced by the commission in a New Delhi press conference. Under Modi’s leadership, India’s economic growth has positioned it as a potential 21st-century powerhouse. However, analysts express concerns over Modi’s tightening grip on democratic institutions, reminiscent of the authoritarian era of the 1970s.

The main opposition, Indian National Congress, formed an alliance last year, known as the Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance (INDIA), in an attempt to challenge Modi’s dominance. However, internal divisions within the alliance have delayed the announcement of their prime ministerial candidate, lacking the charismatic appeal attributed to Modi.

Modi’s international stature was bolstered by diplomatic visits to Australia and the United States, where he projected India as a burgeoning global power. In a significant milestone, India achieved a moon landing and launched its first spacecraft dedicated to solar research, underscoring its technological advancements.

Hosting the Group of 20 (G20) summit provided India with a platform to assert its leadership on the global stage amidst political upheavals. Modi’s inauguration of the Ram Janmabhoomi Mandir temple in Ayodhya in January marked a departure from India’s secular traditions, drawing both praise and criticism.

In the 2019 elections, Modi’s BJP secured a decisive victory, dealing a blow to the Congress party. With India surpassing China as the world’s most populous nation, the electorate’s size continues to grow, with nearly 969 million registered voters for the 2024 polls, reflecting a 6% increase from 2019.

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