Why the world should be watching India’s state elections

It’s the biggest poll of 2017 – worldwide, in terms of numbers

GN Bureau | January 4, 2017


#Uttar Pradesh   #India   #elections   #Nasim Zaidi  


India’s election commission on Wednesday announced the schedule to the assembly polls in five states, heralding the biggest political event in the calendar.

Some 60 million voters will be eligible to participate in the exercise, chief election commissioner Nasim Zaidi said. That, however, is the number of voters; by the number of population of these states, a substantial segment of the world population is involved here.

If the five states – Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Goa and Manipur – put together were a country, it would have been the fifth largest one. Their total population comes to 24,12,81,944 going by the Census 2011. On the global tally, the fifth largest country, Brazil, has a number count of 206,915,000.

Indeed, Uttar Pradesh, India’s largest state population-wise, alone is bigger than Brazil. With a population of 199,581,477, if it were a country, UP would be the world's fifth most populous nation, next only to China, India, the USA and Indonesia.

The year 2017 will see key elections in the Netherlands, France, Norway, Argentina and Chile, among other nations. None would have more people voting than in these five states – which will define how the biggest democracy in the world will function till its national elections in 2019.

And that’s without counting other potential assembly elections like in the current calendar year, for example, Gujarat, where the assembly term ends in January next year but polls are expected by December this year.
 

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