Voters Divided as Family Feud Takes Center Stage in India’s Baramati

(Bloomberg) -- Each day, Bloomberg journalists take you across a selection of towns and cities as they gear up for the big vote.

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Hi, I am Ashutosh Joshi and I cover India’s stock markets from Mumbai. I spent several years of my academic-life in Walchandnagar, a storied industrial town in Baramati constituency of the western Indian state of Maharashtra. The town spawned some of the country’s early enterprises in heavy engineering and defense manufacturing. Baramati, located about 250 kms east of Mumbai, is the family bastion of wily politician Sharad Pawar — who holds considerable sway in the state. The parliamentary constituency, situated in the midst of a drought-prone area, is hailed as an exemplary model of rural development. Despite its arid surroundings, the constituency boasts of remarkable infrastructure, a dozen sugar factories, and a thriving milk industry. Still, Pawar may find the going tough this time. A split in his regional party, and a family feud, has pitched his daughter Supriya Sule against his nephew Ajit Pawar’s wife Sunetra. Sule won the last three elections here.

Top Stories

Voting kicked off in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s home state Gujarat in the third phase of India’s election, with campaigning becoming increasingly acrimonious between the two main parties. Modi is seeking a historic third term in power, with the BJP campaigning on India’s fast-growing economy and an assertive pro-Hindu agenda that critics say has marginalized Muslims and other minorities.

Read more:

  • Modi Says No Country Should Run on Strength of One Man Alone

  • India Battles Fake News as Election Heads to Halfway Mark

Campaign Trail

Opposition Congress party leader Rahul Gandhi alleged that BJP’s Modi wants to hand over water, forest and land to 14-15 industrialists. In a campaign speech in eastern Indian state of Jharkhand, Gandhi also promised that his party’s alliance will provide one-year apprenticeship to unemployed diploma holders and graduates, if voted to power.

Modi accused the Congress of appeasement politics. Preventing religion-based reservations will protect the spirit of the Indian constitution, he said in an interview to news channel Times Now.

Global Media

The Financial Times reported that India’s opposition political alliance has vowed to conduct the first nationwide census of caste groups in nearly a century if elected, in a controversial attempt to galvanize marginalized voters it argues have been left behind by Narendra Modi’s party.

The Associated Press reported that while Prime Minister Narendra Modi has wielded near-total control over Indian politics since coming to power 10 years ago, he has failed to win over the country’s wealthier southern region. The five states in the south are ethnically diverse and proudly multilingual. Not one of them is controlled by Modi’s party.

Who Votes This Week?

India’s mammoth election runs through June 1, with counting scheduled for June 4. This map from the Election Commission of India shows which constituencies vote when.

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Indians have started voting in the world’s biggest election. Understand how money and business intersect with politics and power by following Bloomberg India’s channel on WhatsApp, and sign up for the weekly India Edition newsletter by Menaka Doshi.

This story was produced with the assistance of Bloomberg Automation.

--With assistance from Supriya Batra.

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