Singer, Comic, Sparring Ex-Modi Ally Intensify India’s Election Contest in Punjab

(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 am Rakesh Sharma, Bloomberg’s Asia oil reporter in New Delhi. I was born in Faridkot in the northern Indian state of Punjab, known as India’s wheat basket. The parliamentary constituency is notorious for springing surprises, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party and its alliance partner failing to win here in the last two elections despite a strong national performance. BJP has fielded a popular Sufi singer and rival Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party, which runs the state government, a comedian. BJP’s former ally Shiromani Akali Dal as well as the Congress party, which has partnered with AAP in other states, are also in the fray. Independent candidate Sarabjit Singh, son of Beant Singh who assassinated Former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, will further heat up the contest. Faridkot will vote on June 1, along with the 13 constituencies in the northern state.

Top Stories

Modi is hoping success stories led by an infrastructure boom will support his campaign for a third term in office. He’s spent billions — and sought to reap political dividends — from a nationwide upgrade of the country’s roads, railways, airports and seaports.

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  • India’s Markets Brace for Selloff as Modi’s Poll Goals in Doubt

  • Modi’s Rivals Unite in Bid to Unseat Him in Delhi

Campaign Trail

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal sought a one-week extension of his interim bail to undergo health check-ups following his recent weight loss and other symptoms.

Congress party’s president Mallikarjun Kharge alleged that Modi is avoiding talking about the economy in his election speeches because of the government’s failure in boosting the country’s manufacturing sector resulting in a decline in exports.

Global Media

The Guardian reported about Modi claiming in an interview that he believes he has been chosen by God “for a purpose.”

The New York Times reported about how Modi’s party is using its vast machinery to ensure the handouts given by the government creates loyal voters.

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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