India’s Himachal Pradesh to vote in state elections

India’s Himachal Pradesh to vote in state elections

Today’s election in Himachal Pradesh will be a crucial test for Prime Minister Narendra Modi. General elections swept Modi’s Bharatiya

Himachal Pradesh election Modi

Photo: Deepak Sansta/HT

Today’s election in Himachal Pradesh will be a crucial test for Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

General elections swept Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to power in 2014. Since then, only half of state level elections have returned BJP governments. While local issues dominate, national demonetisation and the introduction of a goods and service tax have proven politically difficult for Modi.

Traditionally, Himachal Pradesh votes against incumbents—a sentiment that favours the opposition BJP. A high profile campaign by Modi and party President Amit Shah has shored up this support with polls indicating the BJP should win a majority.

Results from today’s election won’t be known until the 20th of December. With only 5 million voters, the election committee has opted to tally Himachal Pradesh alongside the 43 million votes of the Gujarat elections in December.

The BJP will be noting today’s result with one eye to upper house elections in 2018. With only 25 seats in the 245-seat upper chamber, success in Himachal will shore up the party’s position ahead of elections and affirm support for BJP economic reform policy.

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