54 – India, what happened? The 2019 India elections with Arpit Chaturvedi

900 million citizens just voted in the world’s largest democracy. Arpit Chaturvedi breaks down the election.

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Episode Description

India, the world’s largest democracy, voted last month in one of history’s largest elections. The results were shocking, as Narendra Modi and his Bharatiya Janata Party expanded their majority in parliament in a landslide victory. Many are asking what these results mean, not only for India, but for the globe. This election seems to be the latest piece of evidence signaling the end of the liberal order, says Chaturvedi.

Arpit Chaturvedi, the CEO and co-founder of Global Policy Insights and Indian politics and policy expert, breaks down the election on Bills with Luke Scorziell. Chaturvedi and Scorziell discuss the major issues in the election, the role fake news played, and more.

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India’s 2019 Election

What happened?

Narendra Modi and the BJP party, who had already held a 282 seat majority in the Indian parliament, won 303 seats in this election. As a result, Modi will enter his second term as India’s prime minister; he was originally elected in 2014. While it was projected that Modi and the BJP would maintain a majority in the parliament, many thought it impossible for them to improve upon their existing majority.

Key Quotes

“Basically you’re seeing an India which does not really have a strong opposition voice talking in the parliament.” ~ Arpit Chaturvedi on the BJP’s new, stronger majority in parliament 

“It has never happened in India that just like a presidential race the voting is done on the face of a person rather than a party, its policy, or agendas.” ~ Arpit Chaturvedi on Narendra Modi and Rahul Gandhi running as the heads of their respective parties

What does it mean?

Chaturvedi (and others here, here, and here, here’s a dissenting opinion for balance) believes Modi’s populist-esque message, which led to his re-election, is further evidence that citizens around the globe are rejecting the liberal order. The Prime Minister’s election has been compared to Brexit, the 2016 Election of President Trump, and several other populist victories around the world.

Key Quotes

“You can compare a similar type of leadership emerging in India, in Israel, in Russia, in Turkey, and in the United States as well. So, obviously, there is a move to the right in the world.” ~ Arpit Chaturvedi on the rejection of the liberal order around the world

“The liberal story is also in a major crisis, if not on the losing ground already.” ~ Arpit Chaturvedi on Narendra Modi’s re-election in India

Fake news through WhatsApp

The spread of false information by both parties played a major role in India’s election, specifically through WhatsApp, a messaging platform owned by Facebook. Over 200 million people in India use WhatsApp and over 50% use the service for news, according to BBC.

WhatsApp’s massive user-base led both the BJP and the National Congress to use the platform to spread their political message. For example, the BJP had plans to hire 900,000 “cell phone pramukhs” to campaign for the party by circulating video, audio, text, graphics, and cartoons in the platform’s large group chats. Much of the content shared on the messaging site was untrue. Arpit elaborates in the interview.

Key Quotes

“Definitely. Fake news had a huge, huge, huge impact this time in the elections.” ~ Arpit Chaturvedi on India’s 2019 election 

“I’ve seen a lot of intelligent, educated people also fall prey to fake news.” ~ Arpit Chaturvedi on India’s fake news problem

“This time around actually there has been fake news from both the sides.” ~ Arpit Chaturvedi on the circulation of fake news from both the BJP party and the National Congress

Previous Episodes with Arpit Chaturvedi

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About Luke Scorziell

Luke Scorziell
About Luke Scorziell and why he started Bills with Luke Scorziell.

Mr. Scorziell created The Edge of Ideas when he was 15 years old. After a few years of blogging he found a passion for podcasting and now regularly has guests on his show, Bills with Luke Scorziell. He currently writes for USC Annenberg Media and produces a weekly segment on Annenberg Radio News called “Politicking.” You can find more of his work here. Find out more about Luke and his unique journey. Feel free to send Luke a message below.


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One thought on “54 – India, what happened? The 2019 India elections with Arpit Chaturvedi

  1. Whenever a journalist uses the loaded word “shocking” the reader is forced to consider: Shocking” Why? To whom? Is that a valid “commentary”. The introduction of a new story or guest should never cause the reader to have such a reaction. If it was shocking to your guest, fine. Say so. I promise it was not shocking at all to a lot of other people, many of whom I read during the run-up. I look forward to listening to what I am sure will be an engaging interview.

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