BJP supporters wear masks of Prime Minister Narendra Modi at an election campaign rally Kathua. (Source: PTI)

Indian Cities Ignored as Politicians Woo Village Dwellers

(Bloomberg) --

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party and the opposition Congress party are vying with each other to offer sops to people in the villages, leaving many city dwellers disenchanted with the election process.

Political parties have pledged to raise living standards of the rural poor, double farmers’ income, write off farm loans and power bills to lure about 68 percent of the nation’s 1.3 billion people -- a key voting bloc in the world’s largest democracy. In cities, many residents aren’t aware about the contestants, agendas or even election date. Some voters in towns and cities prefer to stay away from voting or plan to skip polling during long weekends.

Indian Cities Ignored as Politicians Woo Village Dwellers

Modi’s BJP won the biggest majority in three decades in 2014 largely because the party more than doubled its tally in urban areas, while Congress lost 96 percent of the seats. In the ongoing election, voter turnout in three key southern cities of Chennai, Bengaluru and Hyderabad has been dismal.

Area SeatsCongress Won in 2014 Congress Won in 2009 BJP Won in 2014BJP Won in 2009 
Rural 3422711617866
Semi Urban14415676732
Urban 572233718
Total 54344206282116

* Source: Centre for the Study of Developing Societies

“City voters, particularly in southern states, are not enthusiastic for voting in absence of a political wave and lack of leadership which can motivate workers,” said Bhopal-based author and political analyst Girija Shankar.

WHAT TO WATCH:

  • Voting in 116 parliamentary constituencies in third phase of voting on Tuesday
  • Modi to address rallies on Monday in Maharashtra, Rajasthan
  • Congress President Rahul Gandhi to address rallies Monday in Uttar Pradesh

IN THE MEDIA:

  • Cong makes public its report on national security: PTI
  • Guide to third phase of voting in general elections: Bloomberg Quint
  • Congress won’t get majority; post-poll alliance crucial, says Kamal Nath: PTI
  • North Bengal, west Uttar Pradesh could boost BJP’s national prospect: HT

ELECTION & MARKETS:

  • Muted government spending and high election-related expenses have created a liquidity deficit of 700 billion rupees in the banking system, A.K. Capital says in a note on Monday. That’s “clogging the efficacy” of the central bank’s rate cuts, according to the report
  • READ: As World’s Largest Democracy Votes, Here’s Where Markets Stand
  • READ: How to diversify as India vote rocks most-expensive Asian stocks

LATEST COMMENTS:

  • “The country has faith that Modi can tolerate attacks on himself and can risk his political future but cannot let the country down," he said while addressing a rally.
  • “Leaders will decide who will be the next prime minster. It all depends on which party leads. If it is the Congress, then the next PM will be our chief Rahul Gandhi," said Congress leader Anand Sharma.

BLOOMBERG EXCLUSIVES:

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  • Modi vs Who? India’s Ruling Party Pushes Presidential Election
  • Young, Angry and ‘Untouchable’: India’s Low-Caste Threat to Modi
  • Tackling Rising Hate Speech in the World’s Biggest Election
  • India’s Gen Z Voters’ Call for 2019 Election: More Jobs, Please

QUICKTAKE:

  • It’s Started! Your Guide to India’s Marathon Election
  • Why Election Goodies Await India’s Struggling Farmers
  • Why India’s Lower Castes Could Hold Key to Election

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