2019 Indian Elections Steeped in Misinformation
Facebook announced in February that in order to combat fake news during the election process they would be implementing new rules to help reduce the amount of bad information. The new rules were announced on February 27th and within a few days the effects were noticeable.
We reported last month that Facebook had taken decisive action against accounts and pages that were spreading false information to the public. In its biggest move ever to combat fake news Facebook removed more than 100 pages and accounts that were associated with the deluge of bad information. The largest account removed by Facebook was operated by the BJP, which is the part of current PM Narendra Modi. The page had more than two million followers and was directly connected to the 2019 Indian elections. While there were accounts associated with other parties that were blocked or deleted, this one drew the most public attention.
Modi Criticizes Former PM and Draws Fire
Narendra Modi has angered some of India’s population by criticizing former PM Rajiv Ghandi. Corruption during Ghandi’s time in office prompted the criticism from Modi and the BJP, but drew fire from the Indian National Congress. Many people found the criticism of someone who is no longer living to be in bad taste. The 2019 Indian Elections will determine whether Narendra Modi will maintain his position of leadership in India, and isolating a group of voters could be a bad choice for him at this point in the process.
Progress Under Current Leadership
There has been some growth under the leadership of the BJP, as well as improvements to infrastructure. A major improvement is the addition of ninety million public toilets in rural areas. This has been accomplished over the last five years in an effort to eradicate open defecation and reduce the spread of disease. While the media tends to focus on the urban areas surrounding the main cities, many people feel there should be more focus on the improvements made in the rural population. The 2019 Indian elections could hinge on the votes from the rural areas and improvements like these definitely draw favor to Modi’s government.
Economic growth in India has also been on the rise under the BJP leadership. Business Today reported in February that data indicates faster economic growth with Modi in power than before. The national debt growth rate is reported to be 3% slower than under the previous regime, which is a major economic talking point during the 2019 Indian elections. However, they nation is also paying a slightly higher interest rate on that debt. According to the Times of India Iranian oil imports for the month of April are down 57% year over year and this comes after US sanctions on Iran were put into place earlier this year. All of this points towards a victory for Modi.
Who’s Going to Win?
While the current leadership may not be perfect, it appears that Modi will most likely retain his seat as PM. The improvements to India’s infrastructure, economic growth, and the fact that no single party is challenging enough seats to actually acquire power lead us to this conclusion. However, the BJP will need help from other parties in order to actually keep the leadership in place. It is not strong enough on its own to keep the majority of seats required for sole power. If the BJP fails to secure enough votes, then all the remaining parties will be forced to work together in a coalition styled government and that is unlikely to happen. The 2019 Indian elections hold much interest for the rest of the world, as it has been called the largest exercise in democracy to ever take place. It will be interesting to see how this develops over the next few weeks.