India's 2024 General Elections Begin Amid Persistent Poverty and Inequality

India's 2024 general elections, the world's largest democratic exercise, face persistent poverty, inequality, and corruption, despite economic growth. The outcome will have significant implications for the country's future direction.

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Dil Bar Irshad
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India's 2024 General Elections Begin Amid Persistent Poverty and Inequality

India's 2024 General Elections Begin Amid Persistent Poverty and Inequality

India's 2024 general elections, the world's largest democratic exercise, have begun amid persistent poverty, inequality, and corruption, despite the country's economic and technological advancements. An estimated 673 million people in India live below the $3.65 per day poverty line, according to the World Bank.

The elections will involve 969 million voters, over 10% of the world's population, who will elect 543 MPs to India's lower house of Parliament and determine the country's next prime minister. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his right-wing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) are widely expected to secure a third consecutive term, with the party seeking an outright majority in the lower house of parliament.

The BJP's campaign focuses on job creation, anti-poverty, and development programs, while the opposition Indian National Congress party and its allies are campaigning to reduce inequality and uphold India's democratic institutions. The elections are considered among the most consequential in decades, with the BJP's Hindu nationalist agenda and the opposition's efforts to counter it shaping the political landscape.

Why this matters: The outcome of India's 2024 general elections will have significant implications for the world's most populous democracy and its future direction. The persistent challenges of poverty, inequality, and corruption, despite India's economic growth, underscore the urgent need for effective policies and reforms to improve the lives of millions of citizens.

The elections are being held in seven phases over six weeks, with the results to be announced on June 4. While some voters are struggling to find work, others support Modi for improving safety and security. The election is seen as a referendum on Modi's rule, with the opposition accusing the government of using federal agencies to target their leaders.

Church leaders in India have urged Christians to vote in large numbers, saying the country is at a "critical juncture" and that the elections provide an opportunity to elect representatives who will uphold the constitutional principles of equality, justice, liberty, fraternity, and prosperity for all citizens.

The logistical challenge of organizing polls in remote areas is also significant, with teams trekking to set up polling booths in small villages. Despite these challenges, the high voter turnout in the initial phases of the election reflects the vibrant nature of India's democracy, even as the country continues to grapple with deep-rooted issues of poverty, inequality, and the need for inclusive development.

Key Takeaways

  • India's 2024 general elections, world's largest democratic exercise, begin amid poverty, inequality.
  • 969 million voters to elect 543 MPs, with PM Modi's BJP party expected to secure third term.
  • BJP focuses on jobs, anti-poverty, while opposition seeks to reduce inequality, uphold democracy.
  • Elections have significant implications for India's future, with persistent challenges of poverty, inequality.
  • Logistical challenge of organizing polls in remote areas, but high voter turnout reflects vibrant democracy.