India's 2024 General Election: PM Modi Seeks Re-election Amid Economic Optimism and Challenges

India's 2024 election pits PM Modi's BJP against a united opposition alliance, with economic growth, inequality, and democracy at stake. The high-stakes contest will shape India's future trajectory.

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Rafia Tasleem
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India's 2024 General Election: PM Modi Seeks Re-election Amid Economic Optimism and Challenges

India's 2024 General Election: PM Modi Seeks Re-election Amid Economic Optimism and Challenges

As India's 2024 general election approaches, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is seeking re-election amid optimism for the country's economic rise. However, India continues to face significant challenges, including wealth inequality, infrastructure quality, and high youth unemployment rates.

Modi, a popular figure and leader of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), is seeking a record-equaling third straight term. The BJP, the world's largest political party, has been in power since 2014 under Modi's leadership. The main opposition party is the Indian National Congress, led by Rahul Gandhi, who has struggled to mobilize support against Modi's Hindu-first agenda and economic growth.

The election is anticipated to be dominated by issues of economic growth, wealth inequality, infrastructure quality, and high youth unemployment rates, as India seeks to capitalize on its economic rise. Millions of people, especially the youth, are struggling to find jobs, even with college degrees. Unemployment and inflation are the biggest concerns for voters, with at least 1 out of 5 young people without a job.

Why this matters: India's 2024 general election will have significant implications for the world's largest democracy and second most populous country. The outcome will shape India's economic trajectory, social policies, and role on the global stage in the coming years.

To address these issues, there are emerging proposals for paid apprenticeships for educated young people and minimum wages for many jobs. The focus on family finances is a welcome shift in Indian politics. However, the implementation of such schemes faces challenges, such as the limited availability of formal jobs and the need to provide opportunities for all young people, including those without college degrees.

The opposition parties have formed a united front called the Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance (INDIA) to challenge the BJP's rule. The opposition accuses the BJP government of becoming an "electoral autocracy" by attempting to rig the vote, weaponizing state agencies against opposition politicians, and undermining democratic principles. They warn that the BJP's Hindu nationalist agenda is uncorking dangerous religious divides in the country.

The election will be a crucial test for India's democracy, with the opposition seeking to keep the democratic system alive by preventing the BJP from gaining a supermajority that could allow it to change the constitution. Modi remains highly popular, with around 80% of Indian adults having a favorable view of him, despite the opposition's legal and financial challenges.

As the first phase of voting was completed on April 19, the election is set to continue in multiple phases. The counting of votes and result declaration for the Lok Sabha election is scheduled for June 4. The high-stakes contest between Prime Minister Modi's BJP and the united opposition alliance will determine India's future path, with the country facing a choice between Modi's vision of economic growth and concerns about the erosion of democratic principles and rising social divisions.

Key Takeaways

  • India's 2024 general election pits PM Modi's BJP against opposition INDIA alliance.
  • Key issues: economic growth, inequality, infrastructure, youth unemployment.
  • Opposition accuses BJP of undermining democracy, BJP remains highly popular.
  • Election to test India's democracy, with opposition seeking to prevent BJP supermajority.
  • Outcome will shape India's economic trajectory, social policies, and global role.