People are divided for many reasons. We have to wait for a final outcome to see who people are voting for. Things are not predictable like before.
Exit polls by four leading television news channels – Republic, TimesNow, New Delhi Television and India today- projected a victory for the BJP and its allies with 287 to 339 seats out of 543 – far ahead of the 272 seats needed to form the next government whereas the Congress party and its allies are likely to win 122 to 128 seats.
While the election, which began April 11, was largely peaceful, West Bengal was an exception.
India ranks 77th among 190 nations in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Index. This is a marked improvement from 142nd place in 2014. Policies such as the financial inclusion initiative Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana have successfully integrated 310 million marginalized Indians into the banking system. The BJP government has also initiated notable technology interventions. The new national crop insurance portal captures real time information from farmers on harvest losses.
There hasn’t been an election so much about national security in three or four decades including the India’s retaliation against terrorist activities, such as the Pulwama attack in Kashmir and its robust response to Pakistan’s shenanigans.
Muslims, who comprise about 14 percent of the country’s 1.3 billion people, criticize Modi for his Hindu nationalist agenda. Apprehensions about the saffron brigade may consolidate the Muslim vote against the ruling party.
With the widening electoral acceptance of sectarian hate and assaults on liberty, reduced civil liberties and intolerance of minorities on rise in the country can not be ignored.
Reputations and lives have been ruined by the wrongful use of laws the most obvious example of extra-constitutional behaviour this decade has been the frequent arrest of people who merely share memes online, using a law struck down by the Supreme Court, Section 66A of the Information Technology Act.
With farming in crisis, unemployment on the rise and growing fears that India is heading for a recession, the economy is perhaps the biggest issue. A crop glut and declining commodity prices have led to stagnant farm incomes, leaving many farmers saddled with debt. Unemployment rose to 7.6 per cent in April, the highest since October 2016, and up from 6.71 per cent in March data from private think-tank the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy showed. Economists have also questioned the quality of the official economic data, saying the on-the-ground situation is far bleaker.
Some of Modi’s boldest policy steps, such as the demonetization of high currency notes to curb black-market money, proved to be economically damaging. A haphazard implementation of “one nation, one tax” – a goods and services tax – also hit small and medium businesses.
The counting of votes will begin at 8 am on May 23 and the results will be declared the same day. While trends should begin emerging by noon, a clearer picture will only be available late afternoon. The final official result will be declared by the Election Commission either late at night or on May 24 morning.