On May 26, Narendra Modi was elected as the 15th Prime Minister of India. Modi, the national representative of India’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), defeated the longstanding representative of the Indian National Congress (INC), Rahul Gandhi. For the first time in India’s history, on May 26, Modi invited the Prime Minister of Pakistan Nawaz Sharif to his swearing-in ceremony in New Delhi along with other international leaders including Sri Lankan president Mahinda Rajapaksa and Afghanistan president Hamid Karzai. According to India Economic Times, India had its highest voter turnout since its independence in its 2014 general elections, also known as the Lok Sabha elections, possibly due to the extravagant campaign spending of both parties.
Modi, the incumbent Chief Minister of the state Gujarat in India and a Hindu ideologist, advocates for reform of the Indian economy. Under Prime Minister and INC representative Manmohan Singh’s leadership for the past decade, the Indian economy severely slowed as inflation and corruptive federal practices increased. India’s slowed development and federal accountability mainly stem from federal bribery, slowed growth in Indian manufacturing sectors and lack of regulation regarding infrastructure projects.
While Chief Minister in Gujarat from 2001 to 2014, Modi reconstructed Ahmedabad, Gujarat’s biggest city. He administered tax breaks to the state’s citizens, promoted and created manufacturing and infrastructure projects, developed irrigation systems and established electricity for villages. During his national campaign for Prime Minister, Modi emphasized his plans to further implement infrastructure projects and increase employment opportunities within the underdeveloped and rural parts of India to stimulate the Indian economy.
The Indian Parliament is divided into the Lok Sabha, or House of People, and Rajya Sabha, or Council of States. The Lok Sabha elections take place every five years and the population of state determines voting and representation. On the Lok Sabha Election Day, the Indian Election Commission requires that voting polls are accessible to all registered voters, within two kilometers. India’s 35 states participate in the election process. The Rajya Sabha is the upper house of the Parliament and is limited to 250 members.
According to the International Business Time, Congress has suffered its worst electoral defeat in Parliament since 1952, winning only 46 of 543 parliamentary seats. The BJP won 283 parliamentary seats with a majority in India’s two-house parliamentary system. In its Manifesto, a document containing the BJP’s agenda, the BJP emphasized its priority to improve quality of life in rural India, protect women and remodel education systems through various methods including providing more employment opportunities for teachers and increasing their salaries.
Modi symbolizes progress for many Indian citizens and Indian Americans. President Barack Obama contacted Modi after Modi’s election, expressing his wish to continue a strong and strategic relationship with India. University High School’s Southeast Asian Student Association (SASA) has actively followed and discussed Modi’s campaign and its global effect throughout June. When asked about the club’s discussions on Modi’s reelection, SASA President Mehar Nangia (So.) said, “We were following the election actively, though. It’s a big deal, of course. The world’s biggest election. But we tend to avoid the touchy subject of politics for the most part. Many people are strongly against Modi because of his alleged atrocities against Muslims in Gujarat but at the same time, many are for him, because of Gujarat’s supposed economic growth. It’s a mixed bag. There is some anxiety. That’s inevitable, especially with Modi’s controversial track record. At the same time, there’s hope. After years of corruption, any change is welcomed.”
Written by KRUTHI RENDUCHINTALA