Corruption, unemployment, rising inflation, a faltering economy, women’s safety and national security are some of the key issues in 2014 elections in India slated to be held over few days from April 7th to May 12th and the counting process for votes starting on May 16th. USA Today reports that India, once a much admired center of economic growth, India has fallen down on new jobs and investment. Foreign corporations have pulled back activities amid bureaucratic corruption and poor government handling of utilities, transportation and education.
Considering India’s size and population of nearly a billion, it is considered the biggest voting event in the world and BBC reports that more than 800 million Indians are going to the polls over six weeks to elect a new government. India’s lower house of parliament, the Lok Sabha, has 543 elected seats. Any party or coalition needs a minimum of 272 MPs to form a majority government. Some 814 million voters, 100 million more than the last elections in 2009 are eligible to vote at 930,000 polling stations, up from 830,000 in 2009. The entire process will be overseen by the Election Commission of India.
Congress Party, BJP (Bhartiya Janata Party) and AAP (Aam Aadmi Party or Common Man’s Party) are the main contenders besides smaller regional parties. Congress Party has enjoyed its stay politically since the birth of India, its independence in 1947. Nonetheless it has not enjoyed a majority in recent years. Congress party has more or less remained in the hands of the Nehru-Gandhi family with Rahul Gandhi as its vice-president. AAP recently made important inroads and ran on a very strong anti-corruption theme. It shocked everyone by its victory in New Delhi. BJP is an old hand at playing regional and caste politics but then most politics in India are colored by those as well. Recent polls show that Narendra Modi of the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is likely to win big, possibly an outright majority in a country where the parties usually have to join coalitions to take over the government and the reason appears to be as with all voters worldwide ‘disillusionment with the direction’ of the country!