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Business News/ Politics / News/  Is BJP set to sweep Lok Sabha polls? Development economist Jean Dreze says 'any politician who presents a danger...'
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Is BJP set to sweep Lok Sabha polls? Development economist Jean Dreze says 'any politician who presents a danger...'

Jean Dreze highlighted the challenges faced by opposition leaders in India, stating that elections are at risk of being rigged due to harassment by central agencies.

Development economist Jean Dreze said the upcoming Lok Sabha elections under the present circumstances are as good as rigged. | Representational image (PTI)Premium
Development economist Jean Dreze said the upcoming Lok Sabha elections under the present circumstances are as good as rigged. | Representational image (PTI)

Development economist Jean Dreze opined on Sunday that Indian democracy had been afflicted by a “recent wave of authoritarianism" and was currently navigating a major ‘crisis’. The Belgium-born social scientist also indicated that elections held under the present circumstances would be ‘as good as rigged’. The assertion came mere days ahead of the Lok Sabha elections with Dreze insisting that the Opposition INDIA bloc can make a ‘big difference’ to the tally.

“Leaders of these parties have endured relentless scrutiny and harassment by central agencies for years. Former Jharkhand chief minister Soren finds himself behind the bars, Lalu Prasad has faced intermittent periods of incarceration, and Rahul Gandhi narrowly avoided a similar fate in addition to Congress’ accounts being frozen. Any politician who presents a danger to the BJP is at risk of harassment. In these circumstances, the elections are as good as rigged," the economist told PTI.

India is slated to hold Lok Sabha elections in seven phases starting from April 19. Votes will be counted on June 4. Recent opinion polls give the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance a clear edge — backing Prime Minister Narendra Modi's assertions that the grouping will secure more than 400 seats in the lower house of Parliament.

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Dreze also touched upon the BJP's odds in Jharkhand, contending that many people in the state had good reasons to be unhappy with the saffron party. He recalled author Arundhati Roy previously describing the 2019 elections as a race between a Ferrari and a few bicycles to underscore his poi.

“The bicycles may not be in good shape, but this time they are working as a team. That can make a big difference. There have been big surprises in all the Lok Sabha polls since 2004, with the partial exception of 2019. Exit polls often get the results wrong. The BJP is likely to win a majority of seats in the state, but it may not get 11 out of the 14 as it did in 2019," he added.

(With inputs from agencies)

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Published: 14 Apr 2024, 05:40 PM IST
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