Will Priyanka Gandhi repeat an Indira Gandhi?

The greatest democracy in the world goes to vote

It's a mammoth choice. Almost 900 million Indians will vote over the next few weeks on who will be the next prime minister - in over a million polling stations.

In seven phases, the Indians are from April 11th to May 19th have the opportunity to cast their vote. The Hindu nationalist party "Bharatiya Janata" (BJP) has Prime Minister Narendra Modi for a second term sent into the race. In 2014 he won the elections confidently and should now repeat this success. But Rahul Gandhi, Congress Party candidate and descendant of the political dynasty of the same name as well as various regional parties want to prevent this in a hard-fought election campaign.

On Monday, the BJP published its election program, which is intended to reach as wide a part of society as possible.

    • Income doubling for farmers by 2022
    • Apartments for everyone
    • Tax cuts for the middle class

In one of his first elections, Modi stepped quickly to the podium, dressed as always in traditional Indian kurta. "Each of your votes decides a new, better India!", he appealed to the audience who had been patiently waiting for the Prime Minister in Uttarakhand, northern India, for hours. He didn't stay long because he was in a hurry. Three appearances in three different states were on the program that day. Well organized, Modi is working hard to win the election again in 2019.

Competition comes from the Gandhi politician dynasty

In return, the Congress Party does not trust a man, but a dynasty. Rahul and Priyanka Gandhi, Siblings and great-grandchildren of India's founding father Jawaharwal Nehru are working together in this election campaign to win back lost votes for the party. Priyanka Gandhi Vadra is a crowd puller. She is hers Grandmother Indira Gandhi, India's first female prime minister, cut off the face.

Modi made big promises in 2014, where are the successes?
Priyanka Gandhi, granddaughter of the first female Prime Minister Indira Gandhi

The party hopes to score points with it, especially with women. The two modes attack at election rallies, questioning its promised economic growth and job creation. "Modi made great promises in 2014, where are the successes?" Shouts Priyanka Gandhi in Dandi March, her first leg of the election campaign in Gujarat.

    • an annual basic income for poor families
    • Improvement of the economic situation of farmers
    • Support for young job seekers

High youth unemployment

The main problem is a lack of jobs.
Anupam Singh, a 28 year old PhD student

"The main problem is a lack of jobs," laments Anupam Singh, a 28-year-old doctoral student. Resigned, she leafed through her documents, showing her doctoral certificate from the University of New Delhi.

Excellent qualifications, miserable job prospects. In February of this year, the Indian railway announced 63,000 vacancies: track workers, porters, service personnel. Over 16 million people applied, including many university graduates. Almost a third of all Indians are under 25 years of age. In theory, one million new jobs would have to be created every month in order to employ young people aspiring to the labor market.

But above all higher qualified jobs are in short supply. The Modi government admits that nearly 80 percent of all employment is in the country's informal sector. They are simple activities without employment contracts, social security and pension entitlements. How high youth unemployment is in real terms is hard to understand in terms of numbers. Because the government has not published any official data since 2016.

Rural Sector Debt

Another election campaign issue for both parties is Improving the financial situation for farmers. Almost half of all employed people in India work in agriculture. But falling agricultural prices and higher spending on seeds and fertilizers are driving farmers into financial distress. Many have to sell their land and work as day laborers. Since the nineties the Rural Household Debt steadily on. Every third family is now dependent on loans.

Unscrupulous moneylenders and exorbitant interest rates exacerbate misery. Again and again the media report on Peasant suicides. Both parties have recognized the urgency of this problem and are aware of the potential of the vote. Modi promised the farmers more than 250 billion euros on Monday, which will be used in aid and funds for development in rural areas. In return, the Congress Party promised to pay a state guaranteed basic income to families below the poverty line if they won the elections. Repayments of government loans are also to be waived.

Kashmir and the conflict with Pakistan

We will find every training camp and kill all terrorists. This is the policy of the new India!
Prime Minister Narendra Modi

But maybe this election will not focus on the economic issues, but on that National security theme be crucial. "We will find every training camp and kill all terrorists. That is the policy of the new India!" Modi's words this week were aimed primarily at Pakistan, which he accuses of supporting terrorism in India. But actually stood at the beginning of his tenure the Signs of approach.

To his official inauguration, Modi invited, along with other international politicians, the then Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sahrif a. But then, in July 2016, Indian soldiers killed the 22-year-old rebel leader Burhan Wani. He was the head of the militant group "Hizbul Mujahideen", which fights for the independence of Kashmir. Since the separation in 1947, India and Pakistan have been fighting over this divided state.

Bloody protests in Muslim areas

Be Death sparked bloody protests in the predominantly Muslim part of India. Again and again there were fights and attacks on the Indian security forces. The bloodiest attack in decades then took place in February of this year. An assassin rammed a vehicle loaded with explosives into an Indian army convoy. More than 40 Indian security forces were killed. The terrorist group "Jaish-e-Mohammed", which operates from Pakistan, claimed responsibility for the crime.

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Modi responded promptly. A few days later he gave the Indian Air Force permission to bomb training camps for this group in Pakistan. According to recent polls, it is precisely this resolute behavior of Modi in the conflict with Pakistan that is well received by voters. Whether it will be enough to win the election will be clear on May 23, when the official election results are announced.

More about the elections in India