India election 2024: What you need to know

India election 2024: What you need to know

India election 2024: What you need to know

Expect the 2024 general election in India to be one of the nation’s largest and most extended in history. Nevertheless, there are minimal expectations for political change as the ruling BJP is currently ahead in the polls.

India is gearing up for the world’s largest election, set to begin on Friday. With a staggering 970 million registered voters, this mammoth seven-phase poll will span six weeks, starting on April 19.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is seeking a third consecutive term as voters choose 543 members of the Lok Sabha, India’s lower house of parliament.

The National Election Commission officially recognizes only a few parties among the 6 national, 57 state, and 2,597 smaller parties on the ballot.

However, the real showdown will be between India’s two major political parties: the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the opposition Indian National Congress (INC).

Looking ahead to 2024, the Congress party is leading a 28-party alliance, known as the “Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance,” or INDIA, in an effort to present a united front against the BJP and Modi.

Read Also: High Polling for Germany’s Far-Right AfD Despite Legal Scrutiny

Modi and BJP Maintain Strong Popularity Among Voters

India election 2024: What you need to know

Modi and the BJP continue to enjoy immense popularity among voters. Surveys and opinion polls widely anticipate Prime Minister Modi and his Hindu nationalist party to emerge victorious in the 2024 election.

Modi’s appeal lies in his strong leadership and his focus on addressing the concerns of India’s Hindu majority, which constitutes 80% of the population. Additionally, he has implemented various economic growth initiatives and set ambitious goals for India to become the world’s third-largest economy by 2029.

In the 2019 election, the BJP secured a resounding victory with 303 seats and formed a coalition that now controls a total of 353 seats. In contrast, the Congress party won 52 seats and gained an additional 91 seats with the support of its allies.

With the BJP having been in power for a decade and the possibility of securing another five years, critics argue that the Modi government is undermining India’s long-standing commitment to multiparty democracy and secularism.

Since the BJP’s reelection in 2019, tensions between Hindus and India’s Muslim minority have escalated, raising concerns among various sections of society.

India election 2024: What you need to know

While the BJP’s aggressive Hindu nationalist agenda has proven effective in securing votes in the past, political opponents argue that the party’s ultra-nationalist rhetoric poses a threat to the foundational principles of India’s constitution, particularly secularism.

Syeda Hameed, a women’s rights activist and a former member of India’s Planning Commission, expressed concerns about the potential alteration of the constitution if the BJP emerges victorious in the upcoming general election.

She informed The Diplomat News that India could transition into a theocratic state if the majority modifies the constitution openly.

Hameed further emphasized, “This is a genuine fear we hold that the constitution might be amended, leading to a heightened atmosphere of oppression.

The opposition parties have been criticizing the BJP government for undermining democracy, while also highlighting issues such as unemployment and rising prices during the crucial election campaign.

Read Also: Six Peru Ministers Resign Amid Dina Boluarte Corruption Probe

The Globe’s Most Extensive Voting Population

India boasts the world’s largest electorate, with 497 million male voters and 471 million female voters. The number of voters has increased by 6% since the last general election in 2019.

Over 20 million young voters aged 18 to 29 are actively participating in the electorate.

According to BJP politician G. V. L. Narasimha Rao, the youth are showing a new voting trend by focusing more on leaders than just political parties.

Rao emphasized that the image of the leaders and candidates plays a crucial role in the decision-making process for young voters compared to older generations.

Indian elections typically see high turnouts, with 66% of voters participating in the 2019 elections, as reported by the Election Commission of India (ECI).

Read Also: Trump posts $175 million bond in New York civil fraud case

How does the election work?

India conducts a general election every five years to elect members of the 18th Lok Sabha, the lower house of parliament. The first election after independence took place from October 1951 to February 1952.

The Election Commission of India (ECI) oversees national elections and deploys election observers to maintain transparency during the six-week voting period.

The Election Commission of India staggers the voting by region over six weeks, basing the schedule on factors like state population and potential disruptions or security issues.

Voters will cast their ballots on June 1, and authorities will announce the results on the same day after counting. A party or coalition must secure 272 seats in parliament to form a majority.

Staggered voting by region also allows election officials, observers, and security personnel to move between areas and prevent any misconduct.

The Election Commission of India (ECI) has implemented a model code of conduct, a set of guidelines for the behavior of political parties and candidates during elections, with strict penalties for violators.

The primary objective of the code is to prevent ruling parties from abusing their power for unfair advantages, while also aiming to prevent corrupt practices.

Central armed police forces have deployed approximately 340,000 security personnel to support state police forces, arranging transportation by rail.

Prior to the voting process, India’s chief election commissioner, Rajiv Kumar, urged political parties to maintain civility, especially in light of issues such as hate speech and misinformation gaining prominence during the campaign.

“We are dedicated to promoting ethical political discourse. I urge all parties to uphold decorum and refrain from engaging in personal attacks or abusive language,” Kumar stated during a media briefing.

Billions allocated for election campaign expenses

According to electoral regulations, it is required that a polling station be accessible within a 2-kilometer (1.2-mile) radius of every residence. In the upcoming 2024 elections, voters will have the opportunity to cast their votes at over 1.25 million polling stations, utilizing 5.5 million electronic voting machines (EVMs) that will be deployed across India’s 28 states and nine union territories.

India has been utilizing secure EVMs since 1999, and in 2014, the introduction of printers that generate a physical copy of each ballot, known as a “Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail,” added an extra layer of security.

During the previous 2019 election, it was estimated that political parties and candidates collectively spent around $8.7 billion (€8.02 billion). However, this time around, the expenditure has significantly increased. The Centre for Media Studies, based in New Delhi, forecasts that political parties and candidates will exceed $14.4 billion in campaign spending for the upcoming elections.

2 thoughts on “India election 2024: What you need to know

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *