From April 7 to May 12, national elections will be held in India. These elections have been described as the “world’s biggest democratic exercise,” with over 800 million people eligible to vote over nine stages. Given the scale of the elections, as well as India’s growing role on the global stage, observers and analysts around the world will be watching this hard-fought election closely. There is interest in the election campaign, candidates like Narendra Modi, Rahul Gandhi and Arvind Kejriwal, the factors that might influence voters’ choices, the potential outcomes and what the results (due on May 16) might mean for India’s economic and foreign policy.
On April 8, The India Project at Brookings hosted a discussion previewing the national elections. Panelists looked at the context in which the elections are taking place, Indian public opinion in the run-up to the elections as reflected in a new Pew survey, the potential outcomes, as well as the impact on U.S.-India relations. Panelists included Sadanand Dhume, resident fellow at American Enterprise Institute; Richard Rossow, the Wadhwani Chair in U.S.-India Policy Studies at the Center for Strategic and International Studies; Bruce Stokes, director of the Global Economic Program at Pew Research Center’s Global Attitudes Project; and Milan Vaishnav, an associate in the South Asia program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Tanvi Madan, fellow in foreign policy and director of the India Project at Brookings, moderated the discussion.