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Voters In India Reject A Turn To The Right After Mumbai Attacks

In recent state elections the week after the Mumbai terror attacks, voters in India rejected a turn to the fear-mongering right.

The governing center-left Congress Party won in three of five of the states up for a vote. This was seen by observers as a good outcome for Congress and as a rejection of the main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Voting in a sixth state is still taking place.

From the BBC—

The results of five recent state assembly elections in India represent a victory for the ballot over the bullet, coming as they do just on the heels of the terror attacks on Mumbai (Bombay). Voter turnout in all states was at a record high, even touching 70% in Madhya Pradesh in central India. The results themselves were clear, with the Congress party taking three and the main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) two. The meaning and portents may well hold clues for the general elections due to be held before May 2009. The Congress-led coalition in Delhi will draw strength from its performance. (Please click here to read the entire article)

Here is a take on the vote by my friend Nita at the blog A Wide Angle View of India.  Nita is satisfied with the results, most especially in Delhi. Nita also cautions that local issues are paramount for many voters in Indian state elections and that the full verdict for the national government is still not clear.    

Here is information on the states that voted in the recent elections.

Here is an overview of India from The Economist. 

The core of the BJP’s ideology is Hindu nationalism for India. Being Hindu is seen as the core of Indian identity.  The opposing view, as embodied by Congress and it’s coalition partners that currently hold national power in India, is that India is a secular state and that all people in India are equal citizens.

The results in these local Indian elections, hopefully, bode well for national elections next year.  Americans recall the boost that Republicans and more fundamentalist strains of religion achieved after the the events of September 11, 2001. Let’s hope that voters in India reject fear and continue to support a fully inclusive view of what it means to be Indian.

December 11, 2008 Posted by | Politics | , , , , | Leave a comment