Modi’s BJP Has Strong Hold in India’s Kanpur Struggling With Pollution and Poor Infra

(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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Hi, this is Upmanyu Trivedi. I write about legal disputes and financial crimes in London, but I hail from Kanpur, an industrial and trading hub along the Ganges river in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. Once referred to as the “Manchester of the East,” the city is now infamous for topping the charts on pollution, caused by smoke billowing from dozens of manufacturing plants and poorly treated effluent discharged by leather factories into the river. Kanpur’s industrial prowess is on a decline as the city grapples with crumbling infrastructure, power outages and crime. The birth place of the Communist Party of India sided with the Congress party for three straight terms, before switching to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party in 2014. A key Congress leader switching to BJP weeks before the elections may weaken the opposition.

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Modi’s BJP isn’t contesting the three seats from the Muslim-majority Kashmir region, after fulfilling a long-held campaign promise when it removed the erstwhile Jammu and Kashmir state’s special constitutional status. Balloting for the fourth phase, which includes Kashmir, is taking place on Monday.

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The Election Commission suspended two polling officials in Odisha on Monday for dereliction of duty.

The Supreme Court on Monday sought the Enforcement Directorate’s response by May 17 on a plea of opposition party Jharkhand Mukti Morcha’s leader and former chief minister Hemant Soren, challenging his arrest. He is seeking bail for election campaigning.

Global Media

Nikkei reported that casting of blank ballots, which allows voters to reject all candidates, is becoming an issue in the ongoing elections.

The Guardian reported that Modi’s reelection campaign isn’t going to plan and the contest so far has not all been smooth sailing, but he is still expected to secure a third term in office.

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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