This year’s election in India, a marvel of modern democracy with 815 million eligible voters going to the polls, has the potential to change the country for the better economically, and for the worse spiritually.
Simmering just beneath the surface of the campaign lurks a real prospect of religious subjugation, persecution of minority groups, and serious communal violence. Yet much of the electorate is also optimistic that the country’s economy could be revitalized. How will these conflicting scenarios play out?
The hopes and fears of tomorrow’s India are focused on the election’s anticipated winner, Narendra Modi, leader of the BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party). He is the odds-on favorite to become the country’s next prime minister. His party will certainly take the largest number of seats in the Lok Sabha—lower house of Parliament—although for regional reasons he may narrowly fall short of an absolute majority. One way or another, there is little doubt, following the usual coalition horse trading, that by the end of May, India will have a new political landscape dominated by Modi and the BJP.