Home Today's Paper Most Popular Video Gallery Photo Gallery
Subscription Blog Signin Register
Logo
Monday, October 14, 2019 08:09:05 AM
Follow Us On: Facebook Twitter Twitter Twitter Twitter

Modi favourite as India's incredible election begins

photo by AP photo

Voters line up to cast their votes outside a polling station during the first phase of general election in Alipurduar district in the eastern state of West Bengal in India on Thursday.

By
12th-Apr-2019       
Comments
Share your thought
Post a comment »
Read all () »

AFP, New Delhi :
India's gargantuan election, the biggest in history, kicked off on Thursday with Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking a second term from the South Asian behemoth's 900 million voters.
Opinion polls put Modi, 68, as the favourite but he faces a tough challenge from not one but two scions of India's storied Nehru-Gandhi dynasty attempting to capitalise on his poor record on jobs and rural poverty.
Because of the vastness of India, the election will be held in seven phases, from the tea plantations of Darjeeling to the slums of Mumbai to the tropical Andaman Islands, and everywhere in between.
Security forces were on high alert due to the perennial danger of violence at election time, with five people including a local lawmaker killed in an ambush by suspected Maoist rebels this week.
Thousands of parties and candidates will run for office between now and May 19 in 543 constituencies across the nation of 1.3 billion people, with results not due until May 23.
Some of the 1.1 million electronic voting machines will be transported through jungles and carried up mountains, including to a hamlet near the Chinese border with just one voter.
Phase one on Thursday saw some 142 million people - including 7,764 transgender voters, eligible to register as such for the first time - able to cast ballots.
Polling stations in the northeast were among the first to open at 7:00 am (0130 GMT) with others elsewhere set to follow at 8:00 am.
"I call upon all those whose constituencies are voting in the first phase today to turn out in record numbers and exercise their franchise," Modi said in a tweet just after voting began.
"I specially urge young and first-time voters to vote in large numbers," he said.
Modi and his right-wing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) swept to power in 2014 with their famous promise of "achhe din" ("good days"), becoming the first party to win an absolute majority in 30 years.
Critics say the BJP has since sought to impose a Hindu agenda on India, emboldening attacks on Muslims and low-caste Dalits trading in beef - cows being holy for Hindus - and re-writing school textbooks.
Modi has simplified the tax code and made doing business easier but some of his promises have fallen short, particularly in rural areas where thousands of indebted farmers have killed themselves in recent years.
Growth in Asia's third-biggest economy has been too slow to provide jobs for the roughly one million Indians entering the labour market each month, and unemployment is reportedly at its highest since the 1970s.
Rahul Gandhi, 48, hoping to become the latest prime minister from his dynasty - and aided by sister Priyanka - has accused Modi of causing a "national disaster".
Gandhi's Congress party has profited from voter dissatisfaction, winning in December three key state elections, chipping into Modi's core support base in the Hindi-speaking heartland of northern India.
Gandhi, the great-grandson, grandson and son of three past premiers, has
grown in stature since being derided in leaked US diplomatic cables in 2007
as an "empty suit".
Election adverts show him hugging an emaciated peasant woman, while Congress's leftist manifesto pledges to end abject poverty by 2030 and give cash transfers to 50 million families.
But Modi and the BJP's formidable campaign juggernaut - backed by a savvy social media army - will be no pushover, promising a $1.4-trillion infrastructure blitz.
Playing to its Hindu base, the BJP has also committed to building a grand temple in place of a Muslim mosque demolished by Hindu mobs in the northern city of Ayodhya in 1992.
But most importantly, India's latest military altercation with arch-rival Pakistan in February has allowed Modi to portray himself as the "chowkidar" ("watchman") protecting mother India.
"Nationalism is our inspiration and inclusion and good governance is our mantra," Modi, whose stern bearded face stares out from ubiquitous posters, said at the launch of his manifesto.
But opinion polls are notoriously unreliable in India and much will depend on the BJP's performance in several key states, in particular Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal.
"It's difficult to predict," said Parsa Venkateshwar Rao, a veteran journalist and political commentator.
"It reminds me of 2004 when (premier Atal Bihari) Vajpayee and the BJP lost when everyone expected them to win," he told AFP.
Mr Gandhi's Congress party has profited from voter dissatisfaction, winning in December three key state elections, chipping at Mr Modi's core support base in the Hindi-speaking heartland of northern India.

Tariff
Add Rate

News Archive

Inside The New Nation

Entertainment »

Mouni Roy rubbishes rumours of dating a Dubai based banker


Mouni Roy has a made a smooth transition from television to films and is now promoting Made in China with Rajkummar Rao. But just like every actor has to face the brunt of controversies, one seems to have fallen right into Mouni's lap. She's been in the news for allegedly ...

Editorial »

Income inequality is the main barrier


THE number of bank accounts having more than Tk 1 crore in deposit has increased almost three times along with a five times rise in the deposited money in those accounts over the last 10 years. Economists said that such rise in high net-worth population indicated that the rich are ...

Sports »

Medvedev thumps Zverev to win Shanghai Masters title


Daniil Medvedev won his fourth title of a spectacular year with a thumping 6-4, 6-1 victory over Alexander Zverev in the Shanghai Masters final on Sunday.Victory for the 23-year-old Russian, contesting a sixth final in a row, was more evidence that he is the prime contender to join the "Big ...

Football »

Italy clinch place at Euro 2020 as Spain have to wait


Italy became the second team to qualify for Euro 2020 after a 2-0 win over Greece on Saturday, while three-time champions Spain edged closer to the finals despite conceding a stoppage-time equaliser away to Norway.Chelsea midfielder Jorginho dispatched a second-half penalty as Italy, wearing green kits for just the second ...

International »

Impeachment probe overshadows US 2020 Democratic race


Joe Biden faces scrutiny over Ukraine, Elizabeth Warren is surging and Bernie Sanders had a heart attack, but recent developments in the Democratic presidential battle are getting minimal attention, swamped by Washington's impeachment obsession.Most Democratic candidates are pounding the pavement in early voting states like Iowa, but they are finding ...

International »

Britain's PM Johnson pushes for last-ditch Brexit deal


Prime Minister Boris Johnson was to brief his ministers Sunday on progress in Britain's last-ditch efforts to strike a new Brexit agreement with the EU.Negotiators went behind closed doors for intensive talks in Brussels after Johnson outlined a new set of divorce terms to Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar on ...

City »

President asks govt officials to perform duties at designated places


President M Abdul Hamid on Sunday asked government officials to do their jobs properly staying at their assigned places to gear up the development of local areas as well as the whole country."Do your job properly staying at your respective assigned places. . . If you don't have such mentality ...

Editorial »

Steps needed to keep prices stable in kitchen market


THE prices of vegetables, fish and meat went up in the city's kitchen markets over the week ending Friday. Traders said that prices of most of the vegetables increased as the supply of summer vegetables became near end and the winter vegetables started hitting the market. The prices of most ...

Sports »

Boxer Fury to make pro wrestling debut in Saudi Arabia


AFP, Las Vegas :A pair of pugilistic big men will clash in a cross over of combat sports as former boxing champion Tyson Fury fights Braun Strowman in Saudi Arabia later this month.Fury will make the brief switch to professional wrestling when he fights on a World Wrestling Entertainment Inc. ...

International »

US bolsters Saudi defense against Iran with jets, missiles


AP, Washington  : The U.S. is deploying dozens more fighter jets and additional air defenses to Saudi Arabia, beefing up efforts to defend the kingdom against Iran even as President Donald Trump repeatedly insists that America must get out of endless Middle East wars.Defense Secretary Mark Esper announced the deployments Friday ...

International »

Actor Jane Fonda arrested in climate protest at US capitol


Oscar-winner Jane Fonda was arrested Friday outside the US Capitol where she was protesting climate change and demanding action to protect the environment.The 81-year-old film star, longtime activist and exercise guru was taken into custody with several others after 10 minutes of protesting on the Capitol steps, video posted on ...

Entertainment »

Luipa enthralls own town Bogura’s audience


Entertainment Report :Popular singer of present time Zinia Zafrin Luipa performed at a stage show at Yakubia School playground on the occasion of the school’s 85th founding anniversary in Bogura. Luipa enthralled the audience rendering popular songs like Porichoy, Gentleman, Modhu Hoi Hoi Bish Khawaila, Bondhu Tui Local Bus, Sadher ...

International »

Los Angeles fire causing evacuations, closing freeways


AP, Los Angeles :A wildfire fueled by Santa Ana winds has closed two freeways, is threatening homes and has forced evacuations around Los Angeles.Fire officials say the Saddleridge fire had consumed more than 4,600 acres by 3 a.m. Friday.It broke out after 9 p.m. Thursday along the 210 Freeway and ...

Editorial »

Financial sector struggling due to widespread corruption


BANGLADESH slipped two notches in the global competitiveness ranking by the World Economic Forum to rank 105th, out of 141 countries, in 2019 due mainly to significant deterioration in most of the drivers including governance, infrastructure and macroeconomic stability of competitiveness. In 2018, Bangladesh was ranked 103th out of 140 ...

Entertainment »

Jaya’s new film Ardhangini


Entertainment Report :After packing a punch as Padma in  film Bisorjon and its sequel, Bijoya, popular actress Jaya Ahsan will be pairing up with Kaushik Ganguly one more time in Ardhangini. The actress who’ll be seen in and as Ardhangini or the better half is none other than Churni Ganguly. ...

 
Items that you save may be read at any time on your computer, iPad, iPhone or Android devices.
 
Are you new to our website? Do you have already an account at our website?
Create An Account Log in here
Email this news to a friend or like someone
Email:
Write a comment to this news