Indian Cities Ignored as Politicians Woo Village Dwellers

Bibhudatta Pradhan
Indian Cities Ignored as Politicians Woo Village Dwellers

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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.

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.

* 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 TuesdayModi to address rallies on Monday in Maharashtra, RajasthanCongress President Rahul Gandhi to address rallies Monday in Uttar Pradesh

IN THE MEDIA:

Cong makes public its report on national security: PTIGuide to third phase of voting in general elections: Bloomberg QuintCongress won’t get majority; post-poll alliance crucial, says Kamal Nath: PTINorth 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 reportREAD: As World’s Largest Democracy Votes, Here’s Where Markets StandREAD: 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.

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ECONOMY:

Slowdown Fears Sway India’s Monetary Policy Makers, Minutes ShowIndia Jobless Rate Doubles Since 2011 Amid World-Beating Growth RBI Inflation Goals Need to Be Reviewed, India PM’s Adviser SaysHistory Suggests India Rupee Is Set for a Post-Election HangoverIndia Central Bank Cuts Key Rate to Boost Flagging Economy Here’s What We Know for Sure About Jobs in India: Shamika RaviIndia’s Central Bank to Issue New Rules on Bad Debt Resolution

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QUICKTAKE:

It’s Started! Your Guide to India’s Marathon ElectionWhy Election Goodies Await India’s Struggling FarmersWhy India’s Lower Castes Could Hold Key to Election

To contact the reporter on this story: Bibhudatta Pradhan in New Delhi at bpradhan@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Ruth Pollard at rpollard2@bloomberg.net, Arijit Ghosh, Ravil Shirodkar

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