Voters in India’s Alphonso Paradise Torn Between Development and Health Hazards

(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, I’m Shruti Mahajan and I write about courts and legal matters. Growing up in Pune, I often visited the pristine beaches in Konkan’s Ratnagiri-Sindhudurg on India’s western coast in the state of Maharashtra. The region, dependent mostly on agriculture and fishery for livelihood, is seeing its youth migrating to bigger cities in search of better jobs and lifestyle as the region lags development and basic infrastructure. A massive refinery and a nuclear project planned in the region have faced significant opposition as residents fear they may destroy the region’s fragile ecology. Apprehensions of an adverse impact on the coveted Alphonso mango crop is the biggest concern. The region has traditionally voted for the Hindutva-based regional party, the Shiv Sena, which was split last year with one faction siding with Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party.

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi made a bold pledge in an August 2022 speech: India will be a developed country by 2047. The phrase Viksit Bharat—or developed India—has dominated Modi’s speeches since March. Attaining the high-income status would require boosting gross domestic product more than sixfold, to about $23 trillion.

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Campaign Trail

Narendra Modi reaffirmed his pledge to replace India’s religion-based marriage and inheritance laws with a uniform civil code if he returns to office for a third term, a move that some minority groups have opposed. In an interview to the Times of India newspaper, he also reiterated his intention to implement the ‘one nation-one poll’ plan.

Opposition leader Aaditya Thackeray, of the Shiv Sena (UBT), alleged that the BJP’s politics is serving only Gujarat, and has ruined Maharashtra as well as its capital Mumbai.

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Nikkei reported that Indian political parties are making a scramble for young voters in the ongoing national elections. Political parties are leveraging social media, music videos and grassroots organizations as well as Bollywood stars to woo the country’s sizable youth population.

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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