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Friday, December 14, 2018

All day event Washington DC

Indian Elections Analysis

Irfan Nooruddin

Professor of Indian Politics, Georgetown University

On December 14, Georgetown University Hamad bin Khalifa Professor of Indian Politics Irfan Nooruddin joined a call with USIBC members to discuss India’s recent state-level elections and implications for India’s national elections in 2019.   Nooruddin led with the big takeaway from recent state-level elections: as usual with Indian politics, incumbency is a major disadvantage.

While Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) losses in Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh were widely interpreted as a rebuke of the central BJP-led government, they may be more attributable to India’s traditional electoral volatility.   Nooruddin noted the bigger surprise coming out of elections was the resurrection of the Congress Party, and the popular sense that Rahul Gandhi is a party leader with renewed political capital.

According to Nooruddin, it remains unclear whether Gandhi is a credible candidate for Prime Minister, but the shift in momentum towards the Congress party delivers a critical boost to the party’s fundraising efforts heading into national elections.  Positive election results also put the Congress party in the driver’s seat in efforts to create an anti-BJP coalition.

Looking ahead, election results largely confirmed that India’s national elections in 2019 will produce a coalition government – the only question is whether it will be led by BJP or the Congress party.  India-watchers in business can also be comforted, Nooruddin noted, by the uptick in the stock market post-elections.  While the Modi-helmed BJP is seen as particularly business friendly, new Chief Ministers in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh both have experience working with the business community.

Nooruddin offered a number of key takeaways for business, among them the importance of engaging on policy issues at the state level over the coming months.

For a complete transcript of Nooruddin’s remarks, or more details about USIBC’s State and City engagement, please contact Sid Mehra at smehra@usibc.com.

For more info contact SMehra@usibc.com