Will the Indian billion become “golden” after the election?
Elections in India are the most massive in world history. Just imagine, 900 million people participate in them. This is more than the population of the United States and Europe, taken together. So the vote will be delayed for a whole month.
Interest is caused not only by the scale, but also by the voting procedure itself. Instead of the names familiar to the rest of the world, Hindus will choose by emblems. This is done because a quarter of the country's population cannot read and write. At the ruling party, the emblem is the lotus - a symbol of spiritual purity in Hinduism. The opposition has a palm, a sign of solidarity. There are also less intricate symbols - a clock, an elephant, a banana and even a bicycle.
Another interesting feature of the election is the red marks on the index fingers of voters. They are applied paint, which is not washed off for two weeks. So the authorities want to prevent the attempts of citizens to vote several times.
The main electoral contestants are the ruling Hindu People’s Party (Bharatiya Janata Party) premiere Narendra Modi and the Indian National Congress, led by Rahul Gandhi from the famous Nehru dynasty - Gandhi. The Modi Party stands on the positions of nationalism and defends the interests of the Hindu majority.
And his rival Gandhi is a secularist and cosmopolitan, advocates the separation of the state from religion and protects the rights of religious and national minorities.
Despite the different approaches to the national question, both parties promise to overcome poverty. In the case of India, this is a key issue, because 20% of the population lives on $ 2 a day. Modi offers concessional loans for farmers, promises to double their income.
His rival Gandhi offers an even more ambitious program that will completely eliminate poverty. Congress, if it wins, will allocate a thousand dollars a year to the poorest segments of the population every month — about 50 million of them. The cost to the Indian economy will be 1-2% of GDP growth. American economists doubt the reality of the Gandhi plan. To finance it, you will have to cut infrastructure spending or sell off government assets. Both will hit the economy and alienate investors.
So who will win?
According to most polls, Modi has better prospects for winning the election than Gandhi. However, Modi is not invincible. Do not forget the year 2004, when everyone thought that the then leader of the BDP, Vajpayee, would win the elections, and the Congress would win.
This cannot be ruled out in this election either, since India is too many-sided and inconsistent in its political sympathies. That does not negate the fact that the further, the more Hinduism will play an increasing role in India in any political scenario. The only question is the pace.