India’s Election Results: Live Full Coverage
Counting of Votes for Indian Election Starts Across the Country
My colleague V. Ramakrishnan shared how the quirky Indian diaspora has rented a U.S. cinema to watch the results being telecast. The scholarly folks at the London School of Economics are being a bit more sedate
The election results are the equivalent of the Super Bowl for the Indian diaspora. While a vast majority may be following the trends via Twitter or webcasts, some plan to watch with a generous helping of soda and popcorn. An entire screen has been booked at a cinema in the U.S. to watch the show through the night and it is titled, well guess what: Judgment Day.
For our readers outside India who are seeing images from the Indian elections that show posters and flags with different symbols and wondering what they are: Each political party has been assigned a symbol by the Election Commission of India -- its website has a helpful list allotted for this election -- which include a bicycle, lion, ceiling fan and table lamp. A key reason to assign symbols is to ensure illiterate voters are able to identify the party of their choice easily. For the main parties:
- The symbol for Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party is a lotus
- Gandhi's Congress is a hand, and
- Mayawati's Bahujan Samaj Party is an elephant
First the postal ballots will be counted. Next the EVMs. Once those are completed then the counting of the VVPATs will take place. On the instructions of India's top court, slips of five VPATs will be matched with EVMs in each assembly segment. The returning officer will declare the final result once they are certain the counting has been successfully completed.
The counting of votes is a critical and tedious process. The EVMs and VVPATs are transported from booths using armed escorts and kept in sealed strong-rooms with round-the-clock security. The strong-rooms will be opened and the counting will take place in the presence of the returning officer assigned to each constituency, the candidates and their agents. Soon, votes cast in 542 constituencies will be simultaneously counted.
There is one factor that could delay the final results by a few hours this time -- manual counting of voter verifiable paper audit trails (VVPAT). The slips for five VVPATs in every assembly constituency will be counted and tallied with the results from electronic voting machines. For instance, Delhi has 70 assembly constituencies and 350 VVPATs will be counted. This is the first time this process is being used, and it may take an additional few hours to announce the final results.
Vote Counting Starts at 8am Local (10:30am Hong Kong), Initial Trends Expected to Emerge Around 10am
The counting of votes is set to start at 8 a.m. India time (10:30 a.m. Hong Kong) for 542 of 543 constituencies as voting in one seat in south India has been cancelled. Initial trends will begin to emerge around 10 a.m. India time (12:30 p.m. Hong Kong) and a clearer picture may take shape around midday. We are expecting some clarity on who will be in a leading position by about 1 p.m. Here's a look at the outcome of previous general elections:
All exit polls pointed in one direction -- the return of Modi. The most optimistic was India Today Axis My India poll, predicting as many as 365 seats for BJP and allies. Today's Chanakya, the most accurate forecaster of 2014 election, gave 350 to the Bharatiya Janata Party-led coalition.
This has been a marathon election, with voting taking place over six weeks. Here are four scenarios as we count down to the results:
1) Ruling coalition regains power: All exit polls signal Prime Minister Narendra Modi, riding a wave of resurgent nationalism, will comfortably win a majority of seats in the 543-strong lower house of parliament. Given the financial markets have already priced in this victory, it's unclear how much further they could rally
2) Weakened ruling coalition returns: If Modi's party needs more allies to reach a majority, markets may give up some gains
3) Surprise loss: Exit polls have been wrong in the past. In case of an upset, the most likely situation will be an alliance led by the main opposition Congress party, together with a bunch of regional parties. The markets may drop and investors will want to see who'll be named prime minister
4) No clear trends: In the unlikely scenario that no single party wins a decisive mandate, regional leaders could band together and make a bid for power. There's no immediate reason to panic -- India and its economy have survived coalition governments before -- but the markets will probably drop sharply in such an event
If all goes smoothly, today's results will mark the 17th consecutive peaceful transition of power in India. Every adult citizen has had the right to vote since the nation won independence from the British in 1947. As author Ornit Shani wrote in her book How India Became Democratic: Citizenship and the Making of the Universal Franchise:
This was no legacy of colonial rule. Indians imagined the universal franchise for themselves, acted on this imaginary, and made it their political reality. By late 1949 India pushed through the frontiers of the world's democratic imagination, and gave birth to its largest democracy.
Hi, I'm Jeanette Rodrigues, Asia finance editor, and I'll be leading you through our coverage of the official counting of votes, market reaction and analysis. I will be joined by Vrishti Beniwal, South Asia economy reporter, Anirban Nag, economics reporter, Mumbai, Arijit Ghosh, South Asia managing editor, Ravil Shirodkar, Asia cross-asset markets editor, Abhishek Shanker, reporter, South Asia, and other colleagues.
Welcome to TOPLive -- on Thursday, May 23, we're set to bring you full coverage of the outcome of India's general election. More than half of the country's 900 million registered voters cast their ballots to elect a new federal government.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party and its alliance partners need to win at least half of the seats in the 543-member lower house of parliament to retain power. He's being challenged by Rahul Gandhi, leader of the Indian National Congress, as well as a slew of regional parties. Join us for news, analysis and market reaction.
©2019 Bloomberg L.P.