Davos votes for Modi; “…they’ve 100 times more money than opponents”

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The underlying theme in the stated words of the headline grabbers at the WEF is the wish that the incumbent governments stay in power.

Vibrant Gujarat Summit 2024

Vibrant Gujarat Summit 2024

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By Manish Anand

New Delhi, January 16: Over two billion people have to vote in national elections in 2024, and the scale appears tilted in favour of incumbent governments, at least on the basis of early trends. The popular headline grabbers at the World Economic Forum, Davos, are betting on Prime Minister Narendra Modi to win a third straight mandate in the next few months.

Outcomes of the three national elections weigh on the side of the incumbents. Bangladesh and Taiwan voted for the ruling parties. In Bangladesh, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina won her fourth straight mandate. In Taiwan, William Lai Ching-tse of the Democratic People’s Party continued the winning streak of his party for the third straight term. Bhutan alone stays an odd tale in the incumbents winning elections.

Leading voices are telling the Indian television anchors that it’s just a matter of a fait accompli that Modi will win. The caveat here must be underlined that such people are smart enough to know to phrase words in manners to grab the headlines in India. Yet, the World Economic Forum (WEF) has largely been seen to be voting for incumbents as far as assertions of the participants are concerned, possibly because the business interests are best served in continuity.

Martin Sorell told Moneycontrol that a Modi victory in 2024 is a “good news for India and the world as well”. Fareed Zakaria of the CNN told India Today that “Modi is the most charismatic of the leaders in India, and the Aam Aadmi connects with him”.   

Sorell and Zakaria have contrasting arguments to back their claims that Modi is an unassailable position ahead of the Lok Sabha elections. Sorell, who represents S4 Capital, argued that Indian economy is at a stage of an extraordinary expansion, to become the third largest in the world by 2025. This apparently cheers business leaders in the world, who are watching with rising concerns the affairs of the Middle East and the Russia-Ukraine, as well as China.

But Zakaria, besides counting most of the known arguments for a pro-Modi verdict, plugged in the understated reason that “they (the Bharatiya Janata Party) have 100 times more money than the opponents in parts of the country”. He was possibly referring to the BJP gaining over 52 per cent of the electoral bonds issued since the launch. An RTI activist was told by the Reserve Bank of India last month that almost Rs 18000 crores worth of electoral bonds have been issued since 2018. The Supreme Court is likely to pronounce verdict on a clutch of petitions filed by activists challenging the electoral bonds while claiming that the instruments is an act of an “indirect bribery”.

But the underlying theme in the stated words of the headline grabbers at the WEF is the wish that the incumbent governments stay in power. Thus, Joe Biden too is expected to win the US elections in June, as well as Modi in May.

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