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Bharatiya Janata Party supporters hold party flags while waiting for Narendra Modi's road show during an election campaign in Guwahati, Assam, India, on April 16, 2024.

David Talukdar/NurPhoto via Reuters

Viewpoint: India gears up for biggest elections ever

The world’s most populous country will hold elections between April 19 and 1 June for its lower house of parliament, the Lok Sabha. The 543-member chamber is India’s primary legislative body, and its composition will determine which party or coalition gets to nominate a prime minister and form the next government. Over the 44-day electoral period, nearly 970 million people will be eligible to vote, the most ever. More than 1 million polling stations will be set up, and officials will be dispatched to remote corners of the country’s vast geography to collect ballots.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, one of the world’s most popular heads of state, is expected to lead his Bharatiya Janata Party to a comfortable victory and secure a third consecutive term in office. We sat down with Eurasia Group experts Rahul Bhatia and Pramit Pal Chaudhuri to learn more about the upcoming elections.

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Activists from the Asom Jatiyatabadi Yuba Chatra Parishad (AJYCP) are staging a protest after the central government notified the rules for the implementation of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019, in Nagaon District, Assam, India, on March 11, 2024.

Anuwar Hazarika/NurPhoto via Reuters

India enacts fraught new citizenship law ahead of election

The Indian government implemented a new citizenship law on Monday after over four years of delay that critics say may be used to discriminate against the country’s large Muslim minority.

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What does democracy look like in Modi's India?
What does democracy look in Modi's India? | GZERO World

What does democracy look like in Modi's India?

India's population recently surpassed China's and in the most populous country on earth, nothing is simple. But for the world's largest democracy, democracy isn't so simple, either. India has had its fair share of problems, from the persecution of minority groups, to a clamping down on press freedom, and India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi has faced stiff criticism from the West. But during his recent trip to the White House, President Biden still rolled out the red carpet and welcomed him with open arms. The question remains: What does a Modi led India look like?

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India is not a US ally ... or is it?
India is not a US ally ... or is it? | GZERO World

India is not a US ally ... or is it?

If the United States and India were ever to make it Facebook official, their status would be: "It's Complicated." These two global behemoths may seem like close allies, especially judging by the warm welcome President Biden gave Prime Minister Modi during his White House visit in June, but in reality, they are anything but best friends.

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Modi defies gravity

It's been a rough few months for India, even by the standards of 2020. Its economy was slowing even before COVID became a household word. A controversial citizenship law provoked deadly unrest in India's largest cities.

Then, when coronavirus infections began to spike in early spring, Prime Minister Narendra Modi ordered a lockdown that gave 1.3 billion Indians just four hours to find a place to shelter in place for 21 days. The resulting chaos inflicted even more damage on India's economy. Amid the chaos, massive crowds of people on the move across the country probably accelerated the spread of infection.

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Will Prime Minister Modi win India's election?
Will Prime Minister Modi win India's election?

Will Prime Minister Modi win India's election?

Indian election results are out on Thursday. How will PM Modi's party fare?

They going to do very well. Certainly going to take over government again. Whether or not it's by themselves or in coalition. I suspect the latter. What does that mean? It means a more divided India. That also means more money on infrastructure, more economic reform. India politically is as viscerally tearing itself apart as the United States or say, Brazil right now. I wish that wasn't the case.

Can the Austrian PM survive "Ibiza-gate"?

Yes, I suspect that the centre right is going to end up with more popularity. Squeezing out the big mistake. The scandal dropped by the far right Freedom Party. Kind of like what's happening in Germany right now as the Alternatives For Deutschland is getting squeezed by the centre right. That is actually happening to a number of populist parties across Europe.

Can Huawei survive the dispute with the United States?

They can survive, but I don't think they're going to be globally dominant. I think this hit is not only going to hurt their balance sheet, but it also means a lot of American allies are going to be very careful before they decide they want to work with 5G. They were not in that direction beforehand. They were saying, "oh yeah, it's cheaper, it's going to roll out faster." Now they realized the Americans mean business. The real question is: can the trade talks survive the Huawei scandal? And right now. That is in the balance getting harder to pull it off.

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