A possible 161.4 million Indians, or one out of every six eligible voters nationwide, will head to the polls this month to choose new legislatures in five of India’s 28 states. The first rounds of voting are already underway in two of the five states.
What’s the big deal? Four of the five states heading to the ballot box are currently governed by opposition parties, so analysts will of course be scouring the results for clues about the Indian general election next year (did we mention 2024 is The Year of the Election™️?).
But all politics is local, especially India’s:
- Voters in the far northeast state of Mizoram are worried about unemployment as well as the recent ethnic violence in neighbouring Manipur, which has led at least 12,000 people to flee into Mizoram.
- Authorities inChhattisgarh in Central India recorded a high turnout in the first round of their elections on Tuesday, despite calls for boycott and reports of violence by Naxalite–Maoist groups.
- Further south in Telangana, the current IT Minister is highlighting a recent deal with Foxconn (reportedly the company’s biggest India investment) to aid his campaign and solidify Hyderabad’s reputation as a national tech hub.
- A decades-old tradition of switching government every five years in the northwestern state of Rajasthan suggests that voters will choose the BJP this year, but some analysts think that for the first time in ~30 years, the Congress Party might retain power in the State Assembly.
Interestingly, vote counting in all five states won’t happen until 3 December with the results declared shortly thereafter.
Intrigue’s take: A strong showing by opposition parties in Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh could help change the narrative set by opinion polls which suggest Prime Minister Modi will win a third straight term in power next year.
With that said, in a country as diverse as India we’d caution against drawing any concrete conclusions from the results on 3 December.
Also worth noting: