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India holds 15th general elections

India holds 15th general elections

43 million new voters are expected to swell the electoral rolls to as many as 714 million citizens next month India, the world’s largest democracy goes to general parliamentary elections starting Aptil 16th.  In a mind-boggling exercise, unlike any other on earth, four million poll officials will manage an incredible 828,804 election centers in a process that is staggered over four weeks to enable security forces to offer cover.

The BBC calls it India’s Dance of Democracy.

The incumbent coalition led by current Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh and Mrs.  Sonia Gandhi’s Indian National Congress party is being challenged by the former ruling coalition, now headed by octagenarian Lal Kishan Advani of the Bhartiya Janata Party. A third front headed by populist  Chief Minister of India’s largest state, Uttar Pradedh,  Mrs Mayawati, could prove to be the “decider” in case the two main alternatives fail to win or garner a majority.  Regional parties play an increasing role in India fractious and raucous democracy. Here is Reuter’s summary.

Business interests need to watch this election closely, since the results could have some effect on liberalization, free trade and more.  And I say, don’ listen to poll predictions in India, they are wrong as often as they are right. The campaing is only a few weeks long, unlike the 14-18 months for a US Presidential poll. The new parliament will take charge in June.

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