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Election Drama Unfolds: India’s Democracy Hangs in the Balance

2 Mins read

As the world’s largest democracy counts its votes, India holds its breath. The outcome of the six-week-long election process, which saw over 640 million citizens exercise their right to vote, is expected to grant Prime Minister Narendra Modi a historic third term. If Modi emerges victorious, he will join the ranks of India’s first prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, as the only leaders to have retained power for three consecutive terms.

As the counting continues, early leads suggest that Modi’s Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is comfortably ahead of its main rival, the Congress party. With the BJP leading in 239 constituencies out of 542, and winning one uncontested race, the party’s supporters are ecstatic. Congress, on the other hand, is trailing behind, leading in 96 constituencies.

 Harish Tyagi/EPA

The election has been a grueling process, with voters braving extreme heat, temperatures soaring above 45 degrees Celsius (113 Fahrenheit) in some parts of the country. The chief election commissioner, Rajiv Kumar, acknowledged that the election should have been completed earlier, avoiding the scorching heat. Despite the challenges, the average turnout across the seven phases was an impressive 66%.

As the votes are being tallied, the atmosphere is tense yet festive. BJP workers outside the party’s office in New Delhi performed a Hindu ritual, while Congress supporters chanted slogans praising their campaign leader, Rahul Gandhi. The contrast between the two parties’ moods is palpable, reflecting the deep divisions that have emerged during Modi’s decade-long rule.

The Modi Enigma

Modi’s popularity has been a game-changer in Indian politics, transforming the parliamentary election into a presidential-style campaign. His supporters see him as a strong, self-made leader who has elevated India’s global standing and implemented pro-business policies that have propelled the economy to become the world’s fifth-largest. However, critics argue that his Hindu-first politics have fostered intolerance, hate speech, and attacks on minorities, particularly Muslims, who comprise 14% of the population.

ANI

The country’s economy, while growing rapidly, has become increasingly unequal under Modi’s leadership. While the wealthy few reap the benefits, youth unemployment has skyrocketed, and only a small portion of Indians have benefited from the economic boom. Critics also argue that India’s democracy is faltering, with the government using strong-arm tactics to suppress political opponents, independent media, and dissenting voices.

As the results unfold, India’s future hangs in the balance. Will Modi’s BJP secure a historic third term, or will the opposition alliance, led by the Congress party, manage to upset the applecart? One thing is certain – the outcome of this election will have far-reaching consequences for India’s democracy, economy, and social fabric.

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