Elections – Ultimately, it’s the Price of Potatoes That Matters

“Hindu pride cannot be eaten – ultimately, it’s the price of potatoes and other essentials that matter.”

Kalpana Jain at The Conversation: Narendra Modi, India’s prime minister, claimed victory after his political alliance scored a slim majority in India’s recently concluded parliamentary elections. The Bharatiya Janata Party, led by Modi, got a total of 240 seats but needs its coalition partners to form the government in the 543-seat parliament.

For many observers, the results came as a surprise. Exit polls had widely predicted a supermajority, and Modi too had often used the slogan “Abki Baar, 400 Paar,” or “this time, above 400,” referring to the parliamentary seats he hoped to win. Not only did the BJP fall short of that threshold, it also lost seats in several of its strongholds in northern and central India.

Many factors may have played a role in this setback for Modi, as Indiana University political scientist Sumit Ganguly explains. For one, the benefits of India’s economic growth have not reached the wider masses, many of whom are struggling with unemployment, housing and lack of food. In addition, Modi’s divisive use of historic Hindu-Muslim tensions to enhance his political power has seemingly run its course with people more concerned about their daily necessities.

“Hindu pride cannot be eaten – ultimately, it’s the price of potatoes and other essentials that matter,” Ganguly writes.

For more on this critical election in the world’s largest democracy, click here.

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