Indian Elections: “The results were a big surprise” – Interview

Nikolaos Gavalakis asked a question.

Narendra Modi and his BJP suffered a major setback in the Indian elections and lost their absolute majority. What are the reasons for the relatively poor performance of the Prime Minister and the ruling party?

Several days after the election, in-depth analysis of election motives is still rare 645 million Indians have a hard time choosing. One thing is certain: the results were a major and unexpected surprise to almost all national and international observers. To date, there are various interpretations that primarily focus on strong economic disparities, social justice issues, and differential economic development. This seems quite reassuring when you look at the defeat of the governing coalition in the states of Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Haryana, the so-called heartland of the Indies, which have long been at the hands of the BJP and are characteristic. by rural structures. India, which wants to build 71 new airports, landed on the moon last year and achieved impressive results IT center and a dynamic startup scene, in most of the country, outside the major urban centers of Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru, it is still a developing country with a gross domestic product per person of around $2,500. When compared internationally, it lies between Angola and the Republic of the Congo. The Indian economy is expected to grow by approx eight percent has grown – one of the fastest rates among major countries – but voters are using their electoral votes to highlight the disparities and rising local unemployment that remain a reality for many.

Development challenges are still big in the country with the largest population in the world.

The 800 million people who still receive food rations despite the Indian government's success in eradicating poverty may want to make it clear through their voting decisions that social justice and a more equitable India should be given higher priority. The opposition focused its election campaign primarily on the majority of the population and was able to achieve surprising success in some parts of the country. Although here it is still about the classics leaflet-Politics and not about structural and systemic change, its strategic orientation may be correct, as India's political economy to date creates social fault lines along economic contingencies, complex logics of identity, and hierarchies of social power that disadvantage people in multidimensional ways – or favor them. The government has reported success in recent years and has lifted many Indians out of poverty and into the middle class, but development policy challenges remain huge in the world's most populous country.

Despite everything, the Modi-led BJP has become the strongest force by a wide margin. The Prime Minister appears confident of another term in office, but he is relying on allies. What does this mean for the new government?

BJP's alliance partners have played a relatively minor role in the past. This will now change and may mean that specific and regional interests will now have to be negotiated at the cabinet table. Parties like Janata Dal from Bihar will now demand more attention and focus on development of India's poorest state for their twelve seat coalition. The BJP and Narendra Modi had to negotiate a previously unusual compromise. Therefore, this may have a positive impact on the development of the country, because if you agree with the analysis mentioned above, then broader regional development, the fight against unemployment, fairer distribution policies and a focus on the poorest areas constitute a political approach valid to submit. to voters.

The opposition Indian National Congress (INC) party won almost double the number of seats compared to the previous election. A good sign for Indian democracy?

Nearly 645 of India's roughly 970 million eligible voters cast ballots in seven rounds and nearly evenly 90 days cast their vote. None of the losing candidates questioned the election results afterwards, not even those who only lost narrowly. The elections were held without major irregularities and were tight 310 million Women voters have the highest quota of women voters in India's history. In doing so, India impressively demonstrated that the implementation of the world's largest democracy was carried out with integrity, professionalism and respect for the electorate. As with other democratic elections, changes in power or changes in the number of seats, majorities or coalition structures are good signs of the vitality of the democracy in question. This also happens in India.

None of the losing candidates subsequently questioned their respective election results.

INC was able to almost double its seats and will therefore enter the 18th place with more confidence. Lok Sabha beginning. What worked for INC was the so-called Bharata Jodo Yatra, a type of mass movement in which leading politicians from the largest opposition party, led by Rahul Gandhi, marched across India and were accompanied by thousands of people. The idea behind this is direct exchange with voters and direct communication between political decision makers and people from different backgrounds and from all corners of the country. That Yatra generated a lot of media coverage and success, also because it allowed Rahul Gandhi to change his public image: from a member of the Nehru-Gandhi family and towards someone who cared about the needs of the common man. This type of “direct democracy” appears to be one reason why the INC performed relatively well.

India's global weight has increased significantly in recent years. What impact will the election results have on the country's international orientation?

Foreign policy, as expected, is not a determining factor in electoral decisions: before the elections, experts and analysts shared the assessment that successful foreign policy – successful G20 Summit in 2023 – will be a significant election issue for a growing segment of Indian society. India's newfound relevance and political significance across Western and non-Western institutions is an impressive testimony to the success of its foreign policy in recent years. Although India has gained influence and a prominent role in international politics under the leadership of Prime Minister Modi and Foreign Minister Jaishankar, the group of voters who find this new role important in elections still appears to be relatively small. However, this election will not bring any changes to international relations, foreign policy, security and trade agendas, or actions on major international stages. India will continue to follow this direction multi alignment and try to pursue their own strategic interests in a multi-vector manner. Many German-Indian projects will also not be affected by the elections. The same thing also happens if there is a change of power New Delhi This is because there is a lot of continuity in India's foreign policy.

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