Popular Movie Star To Take On Modi’s BJP in India’s Asansol

(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 Debjit Chakraborty. I oversee Bloomberg News in New Delhi but I grew up in Asansol, one of the top industrial cities in the eastern Indian state of West Bengal. Dotted with coal mines and colonial era steel mills, the city is a melting pot of people from across the country, who throng to the place in search of a livelihood. However, the industrial boom also brought with it challenges such as pollution and land subsidence caused by underground mining. A large Hindi-speaking migrant population from the neighboring states of Jharkhand and Bihar helped Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s right wing Bharatiya Janata Party win the former Communist-party bastion of Asansol in 2014 and 2019. However, BJP lost the by-election after its lawmaker defected in 2021 to firebrand Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s party. Its current candidate is yesteryear movie star Shatrughan Sinha.

Top Stories

As India’s general election nears the halfway mark, falling voter turnout is prompting concerns about voter disengagement in the world’s largest poll. Analysts and political party figures say there are good reasons for the decline and the lower participation doesn’t necessarily suggest advantage for either side.

Read more:

  • How will the vote affect the investment case for India? To find out, Bloomberg News spoke with Hiren Dasani of Goldman Sachs; Sonal Varma of Nomura and Suyash Rai of Carnegie India. View the conversation here

  • Indian Opposition Leader Gets Interim Bail for National Election

Campaign Trail

Congress party President Mallikarjun Kharge hit out at the BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi saying they are “worried” after the third phase of elections.

Meanwhile, the BJP wrote to the Election Commission and Mumbai police seeking action against regional party Shiv Sena (UBT) and its leader Sanjay Raut for remarks made against Modi.

Global Media

The Guardian reported about a shift among women voters who are deciding for themselves in patriarchal rural India.

The AFP reported that Kashmiri voters in this year’s national elections will be eager to express their frustrations with the end of their territory’s special status by the Modi government.

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 Supriya Batra.

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