India. Indians called for elections in the sweltering heat

The second phase of India’s general election began on Friday, with millions of voters expected to turn out at polling stations in parts of the country in scorching heat. Hindu nationalist Prime Minister Narendra Modi is all but certain – in the face of a struggling opposition – to win this six-week-long election.

Voter turnout in the first phase of voting last week fell by almost four points to 66% compared to the 2019 election, with the Indian press blaming the drop on higher-than-average temperatures. Shortly before the polls reopened, Narendra Modi urged voters to turn out in “record numbers”. “High voter turnout strengthens our democracy,” he wrote on the social network X. “Your vote is your vote!” »


The second phase of voting, which has seven stages to ease the logistics of choosing the world’s most populous country, is taking place in regions that have experienced temperatures above 40 degrees Celsius this week. Intense heatwaves are expected over the weekend in several states, including the eastern state of Bihar, where five districts will go to polls on Friday, the India Meteorological Service said on Thursday.

This week, temperatures there were recorded more than 5.1 degrees Celsius above the seasonal average. The state of Karnataka (south) and parts of Uttar Pradesh (north), India’s most populous state and the heartland of the Hindu faith, are also expected to vote in the heat wave.

The authorities want to reassure

Earlier this week, India’s Election Commission said it had formed a task force to study the impact of heat waves and humidity ahead of each phase of voting. According to The Hindu, this decision may have been taken because “heat wave conditions may have led to a drop in voter turnout”.

In a press release on Monday, the commission said it had “no major concerns” about the impact of high temperatures on Friday’s vote, while ensuring it was closely monitoring weather reports before claiming it would ensure “comfort and well-being”. to be voters and election staffs”.

An exceptional heat wave has hit South and Southeast Asia, especially in the Philippines and Bangladesh, where thousands of schools have suspended classes.

Leave a Comment