The Indian states of Maharashtra and Haryana will hold legislative elections today, the results of which will be announced on Thursday.
Both states’ Legislative Assemblies are currently controlled by Prime Minister Modi’s Indian People’s Party (BJP). Haryana is one of India’s wealthiest states, and Maharashtra is the country’s entertainment, industrial, and financial capital as well as its second most populous state, making both critical for the BJP’s dominance over Indian politics.
In the wake of Modi’s decision to revoke Jammu and Kashmir’s privileged status, support for the BJP in both states has risen.
Modi will be looking to cement the party’s rule in Maharashtra by pairing again with the far-right, Hindu-nationalist Shiv Sena (SS). With the BJP’s main challenger, the Indian National Congress, adrift following the resignation of party leader Rahul Gandhi in July, the ruling party is poised for big wins in both states today. It will likely expand its already pronounced majority in both assemblies. Regardless, smaller opposition parties have banded together to challenge BJP. Modi’s response—to invite regional parties, such as SS, to enter into a governing coalition—will produce electoral success in the short term, but the PM could be left with a fractured mandate come May.
Max is Foreign Brief's Chief Executive Officer. A Latin America specialist, Max is an expert in regional political and economic trends, focusing particularly on the Southern Cone.