The world's largest election begins in India this week.Here's what you need to know

Indians head to the polls on Friday. The world's largest democratic electionnearly one billion voters will choose the next government and decide whether to hand over the prime minister. narendra modi Third term in office.

of 2024 general election It will be rolled out in seven phases over six weeks starting April 19th.

Voters will decide who will fill the seats in India's lower house of parliament for the next five years. Of the two houses of parliament, the National Assembly is the more powerful.

Whichever party or coalition wins a majority will lead the government and choose the next prime minister. Analysts widely expect Mr. Modi's Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party to win another landslide in the next election.

This is why elections in India are important.

India's meteoric rise

Under the Modi government, the Indian economy expanded to new heights. Currently, it is the world's fifth largest economy with a GDP of $3.7 trillion, and has set the following goals: Become the world's third largest economy By 2027.

This city is home to 1.4 billion people, most populous country in the world it is fastest growing economy in the world. The economic growth rate for 2022-2023 was 7.2%. 2nd highest among G20 countries.

of International Monetary Fund project India's economy is projected to grow by 6.8% in 2024 and 6.5% in 2025, while China's projected growth rate is 4.6% in 2024 and 4.1% in 2025.

That's not all.

indian stock market overtook Hong Kong In December, it became the world's fourth largest economy, and its value is now over $4 trillion.

Analysts expect Mr. Modi to win a fifth consecutive term and further propel India's growth trajectory.

“The growth story is not over yet. But private and foreign investment has been very subdued and exports have also declined,” Suyash Rai, deputy director and fellow at Carnegie India, told CNBC. told. “So I feel like there's a buildup of weakness.”

Chieteji Vajpayee, senior South Asia fellow at Chatham House, said India has deepened ties with the West over the past year and Modi's re-election could further strengthen the U.S.-India relationship. .

He said India is seen as a “bulwark against China” as the Biden administration continues to encourage US companies to move electronics and technology manufacturing from China to friendly countries such as India.

“If there are two countries that are agreed upon at the highest level, it is China as a long-term strategic rival and India as a long-term strategic partner. That remains the case,” Vajpayee said. he said.

leading candidates

There are 543 seats up for grabs in the lower house, and the party or coalition that wins at least 272 votes will form a government.

The two main candidates are the Bharatiya Janata Party-led coalition known as the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) and the opposition coalition known as the Indian National Development Alliance (INDIA).

The Opposition Coalition was formed last year by bringing together more than 40 opposition parties. It is led by the Indian National Congress, whose leader Rahul Gandhi is the son of Rajiv Gandhi, the grandson of Indira Gandhi, and the great-grandson of Jawaharlal Nehru, all of India's He is the person who served as Prime Minister.

The National Congress party, which has ruled the country for most of the country since independence, suffered painful defeats in elections in 2014 and 2019.

In 2019, BJP won a total of 303 seats.. Together with the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance, it won 352 seats. That year, the opposition Indian National Congress won 52 seats.

This time, the Bharatiya Janata Party's coalition bloc is widely expected to once again defeat the opposition and win a historic third term, analysts said, thanks to the political stability of the past decade.

“Policy coherence and political stability are deeply interconnected, so one would hope that the incoming government would be able to maintain it,” said Amitendu Palit, a senior fellow at the Institute of South Asia at the National University of Singapore. Told.

“This is going to be an important year for India,” he told CNBC. “My feeling is that no matter who the Indian government is, the direction of foreign policy and the direction of economic policy will remain pretty much the same. ” he said.

prime minister modi reportedly In March, he said he was confident that the BJP and NDA could secure a combined 400 seats.

Chatham's Vajpayee said it was a “foregone conclusion” that Prime Minister Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party would come to power again this year, but “what is unclear is the scale of the victory.”

“The Bharatiya Janata Party does not need to lose for the opposition to win. All they have to do is prove that the Modi brand has weakened if they do not perform as well as last time.” emphasized.

voter concerns

According to a study conducted by the Center for Research on Developing Societies, Unemployment was the biggest concern 27% of 10,000 people surveyed.

more than half Additionally, 62% of those surveyed said it had become more difficult to find a job in the past five years of Modi's second term.

“A large part of the population remains in poverty and there are huge disparities across the country,” Vajpayee said.

Rising costs were the second-biggest concern, with 23% of voters surveyed saying it was their top concern. Approximately 35% of respondents said: quality of life was declining In the last 5 years.

About 13% said their biggest concern was the country's development, and 8% said corruption was their biggest concern.

Elections in numbers

It was India's largest election ever, with about 968 million people registered to vote, 48% of whom are women, according to the Council on Foreign Relations.There is also 18 million According to Reuters, these are people voting for the first time.

Considering the huge number of voters, the seven-phase election will last for 44 days from April 19 to June 1 in 554 constituencies, according to the Election Commission of India.

The six-week election is expected to be more expensive than the 2020 US presidential election, which cost $14.4 billion, according to a Washington-based research firm. open secret.

According to the company's data, India spent $8.6 billion in the 2019 general election, $2.1 billion more than in the 2016 US presidential election.

Results will be announced on June 4th.

election rules Because a polling place must be within 2 kilometers of every registered voter, the election will be monitored by about 1 million polling stations, 5.5 million electronic voting machines, and 15 million staff and security personnel, it said. I am. data This was announced by the Election Commission.

https://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/india-kicks-worlds-largest-elections-week-s-need-know-rcna148327 The world's largest election begins in India this week.Here's what you need to know

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