Mangaluru to Test Development Versus Hindutva Split: India Votes

(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 Jeanette Rodrigues, and I oversee Bloomberg News in South Asia. My family hails from Mangaluru in Karnataka, home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the country and a hotbed of Hindutva, the strident strain of Hinduism espoused by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party. Modern economic rivalries have fueled Hindutva and a parallel Muslim communalism in the region, even though the Dakshina Kannada constituency carries none of the bloody footprints of invasions by Muslim rulers from Central Asia or Partition that feed the narrative in northern India. Much of the strife in Mangaluru stems from land reforms in the 1970s — which saw feudal communities lose their relevance to capitalists — and nurtured forces that will come into play when the area votes this week. These strains have so far sided with the BJP, helping it register three straight wins since the constituency was formed in 2008.

Top Stories

The campaign in India is heating up, both in temperatures and rhetoric. Modi doubled down on his attacks against the main opposition party by using language critics say sows division between the country’s Hindu majority and Muslim minority. The Election Commission on Thursday asked the BJP to respond to the allegations that it violated the model code of conduct.

Meanwhile in the markets, Indian bonds appear cheap — despite being Asia’s best performers this year — as they near inclusion in the JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s indexes from June.

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Campaign Trail

The Election Commission agreed to extend polling by two hours to 6 p.m. in the state of Bihar citing heat-wave conditions. BJP leader Nitin Gadkari fainted while speaking at an election rally in Maharashtra. And opposition leader Mamata Banerjee questioned the grueling schedule.

Global Media

The Press Trust of India reports that the Tibetan government-in-exile and China are holding back-channel talks, in a sign of willingness by both sides to re-engage over a decade after the formal dialog process hit a dead end.

BBC reported that several companies in India’s technology capital Bengaluru, known for low voter turnout, are offering incentives such as free food, taxi rides and even beer, to encourage people to people cast their ballot.

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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Indians have started voting in the world’s biggest election. Understand how money and business intersect with politics and power by following Bloomberg India’s channel on WhatsApp, and sign up for the weekly India Edition newsletter by Menaka Doshi.

This story was produced with the assistance of Bloomberg Automation.

--With assistance from Adrian Leung and Supriya Batra.

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