Indian elections are a marvel to behold. The rules stipulate that no citizen should have to travel more than 2km to vote. So the state goes to the voters. Carrying oxygen tanks, election officials scaled the Himalayas to erect a voting booth in a village in Ladakh, 4,500 metres above sea level. In western India, a polling station was set up for the lone human inhabitant of a wildlife sanctuary. In eastern India, officials trekked for an entire day to reach the sole registered voter, an elderly woman, in a remote village. By the time voting closed on Sunday, some 600 million people had cast their ballots, 10 million of them for the first time.
In 2019, the world’s biggest election was much more than a ritual of democracy. It was the most consequential vote in the lifetime of a majority of Indians alive today. India under Narendra Modi has undergone the most total transformation since 1991. This election has, in effect, been a referendum on whether the republic retains its founding ideals or, if Modi wins another term – and exit polls released on Sunday show him winning with a comfortable majority – it leaps to a place of sectarianism from which return may be close to impossible.
Is this election where the angry Bharat finally dispatches his ailing Mother India?
Fwiw I know Kapil Komireddi from a lifetime ago (a decade when I was young, eager and in my early 20’s).
I hosted and moderated a debate about Indo-Pak relations and Kapil was one of the guests. To a full house Kapil demanded that Pakistan apologise for the genocide in Bangladesh and for some reason our friendship never recovered after that.
So Kapil is definitely not one of those Pakistani-loving liberals but from what I remember he is South Indian (albeit from Karanataka, the Southern Saffronista).