• Saturday, May 25, 2024

INDIA

India elections 2024: What we learned this week

Nearly a billion people will be eligible to vote in India elections, which will be held in seven phases from April 19 to June 1.

While Modi is seeking a record-equalling third straight term, the opposition’s INDIA bloc is trying their best to stop BJP’s winning run. (Photo: Getty Images)

By: Vivek Mishra

It is just one week before India goes for general elections, the world’s largest polls, and the campaigning is at its peak now. The tussle between the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party-led government and the opposition has intensified with promises, accusations, and controversial statements being made from both sides.

Nearly a billion people will be eligible to vote in India’s Lok Sabha (lower house of parliament) elections, which will be held in seven phases from April 19 to June 1, and the counting of votes will be done on June 4.

While Prime Minister Narendra Modi is seeking a record-equalling third straight term, the opposition’s INDIA (Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance) bloc is trying their best to stop BJP’s winning run.

Here’s a look at the key election developments this week:

BJP announces 10th list of candidates

The BJP on Wednesday (April 10) announced its 10th list of candidates for the elections. The party fielded Neeraj Shekhar, son of former Prime Minister Chandrashekhar, from the Balia Lok Sabha seat in Uttar Pradesh state and named its sitting MP SS Ahluwalia as the candidate from the Asansol seat in West Bengal.

BJP supporters hold a party flag during rally of Modi in Chennai. (Photo: Getty Images)

The BJP, in its 10th list, announced candidates for a total of 9 Lok Sabha seats, seven in Uttar Pradesh, one each in Chandigarh and West Bengal.

According to the list, Paras Nath Rai will contest the Lok Sabha election from the Ghazipur seat in Uttar Pradesh.

Opposition alliance seals poll pact in Maharashtra

The opposition alliance in Maharashtra state, Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA), on Tuesday (April 9) announced its seat-sharing formula for the polls, with the Shiv Sena (UBT) getting the major chunk of 21 seats, while the Congress will contest 17 seats and the NCP (SP) 10.

The Congress gave up its claim on the contentious Sangli and Bhiwandi seats, which will now be contested by the Sena (UBT) and the NCP (SP), respectively, reported PTI.

The opposition alliance in Maharashtra has announced its seat-sharing formula. (Photo credit: Getty Images)

While the Sena (UBT) said the goal of the alliance was to defeat the BJP, the Congress said it has decided to be “large-hearted” to achieve this objective.

Nomination process for Phase 3 begins

The nomination process for the third phase of the elections, to be held in 94 constituencies across 12 states on May 7, began on Friday (April 12).

A notification was issued by the Election Commission of India on behalf of the President. April 19 is the last date for filing papers.

The states and union territories included in the third phase are Assam, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu, Goa, Gujarat, Jammu and Kashmir, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, and West Bengal.

Congress party supporters shout slogans and hold placards during a roadshow for Mansoor Ali Khan, candidate for Bengaluru central. (Photo: Getty Images)

‘Animals’ encourage people to vote

From ‘Gendu’ to ‘Baghu’, this election season, the animals of Bengal are encouraging people to vote. The District Elections Sections across the state are using various mascots to draw voters to the polling booths, and most of them are animals.

The Alipurduar district in the state has come up with ‘Gendu’, inspired by the rhinoceros of Dooars (a region in the state), while in Cooch Behar district, it is ‘Mohanbao’, a turtle who guides people at the polling booths, reported PTI.

Bengal tiger ‘Baghu’ is urging the people of South 24 Parganas district, the home to Sunderbans, not to miss their chance to participate in the electoral process, and in the Darjeeling hills, a red panda is doing the job.

Indian voters want jobs and lower prices

Just a few days before the polls in India, a survey has shown that unemployment and inflation are the main concerns of Indian voters. According to the survey, Modi’s rising global stature will likely help him secure a third term as prime minister.

Unemployment was the primary concern of 27 percent of the 10,000 voters surveyed by Lokniti-CSDS, with rising prices coming second at 23 percent, the Hindu newspaper reported. Nearly two-thirds, or 62 percent, of those surveyed said finding jobs had become more difficult in the last five years.

A survey has shown that unemployment and inflation are the main concerns of Indian voters. (Photo credit: Getty Images)

Twenty-two percent of people said the construction of a grand Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Ram was Modi’s government’s “most liked action.”

QUOTE OF THE WEEK

“Enemies took advantage and terrorism spread whenever there were weak and unstable governments in the country. But under a strong Modi government, our forces are killing terrorists on their own turf,” Modi said during an election rally.

ELECTION TRIVIA

Tamil Nadu’s K Padmarajan, who proudly calls himself the ‘Election King,’ urges people not to vote for him, so he can retain his tag of being ‘the most unsuccessful candidate,’ a feat also registered in the ‘Limca Book of Records.’

Padmarajan claims to have lost Rs 80 lakh so far in security deposits in elections so far. (Photo credit: Getty Images)

The 65-year-old tire repair shop owner’s name also features in the Guinness Book of World Records for the candidate with the most contested elections, reported PTI. He claims to have lost Rs 80 lakh so far in security deposits.

Padmarajan is gearing up for his 239th attempt and has filed his nomination from Thrissur in Kerala and Dharmapuri in Tamil Nadu this time.

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