Angry Farmers And Separatist Khalistani Movement May Deprive Modi of India’s Punjab in Elections

(Bloomberg) -- Each day, Bloomberg journalists take you across a selection of towns and cities as they gear up for the big vote.

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Hello, I’m Akriti Sharma. I work as Bloomberg’s South Asia breaking news reporter in New Delhi. My roots are in the northern Indian city of Amritsar, which means ‘pool of nectar’ and is home to the holiest shrine in Sikh religion, the Golden Temple. Apart from its vibrant culture and food, Amritsar is renowned for a high-pitched, colorful and unique ceremony by guards manning the border with Pakistan. Opening of the Attari-Wagah border for trade with the neighboring nation is now a major election issue. Both Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party and main opposition Congress party have promised to restart cross-border shipments through this route. Still, Modi and his party are on a weak footing in the state in the wake of protests by farmers, a major voting bloc, demanding better prices. The recent revival of a separatist movement and allegations of the Modi government’s hand in the overseas assassination of its leader may further worsen BJP’s prospects. Congress party would be hoping to extend its winning run in the state as well as the Amritsar constituency. Punjab is notorious for voting contrary to the national trend.

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As Modi prepares for a likely third term in office when India’s mammoth elections end on June 1, global firms say there’s still plenty of work for the new government to do in order to attract more foreign investors. Challenges are substantial, including the often-cited policy-flip flops and bureaucratic delays.

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Campaign Trail

The chief of India’s Election Commission has claimed that voting in India this year is the most eco-friendly ever held in the world’s largest democracy.

The final voter turnout figure for the sixth phase of elections held on Saturday was 63.37%, according to the Election Commission. That compares with the initial figures of 61.20% voting, reported earlier.

Global Media

CNN reported about India’s election campaign turning negative as Modi and his ruling party increasingly resort to overtly Islamophobic language during his election campaign.

The BBC wrote about how the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh — which elects 80 members in the 543-seat lower house of the parliament — holds the key to Modi’s reelection.

Who Votes This Week?

India’s mammoth election runs through June 1, with counting scheduled for June 4. This map from the Election Commission of India shows which constituencies vote when.

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This story was produced with the assistance of Bloomberg Automation.

--With assistance from Debjit Chakraborty.

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