Polling stations are open today in India's marathon five-phase election where millions of voters in 85 constituencies across seven states and in Delhi are expected to cast their ballots today to help elect a new government. The main political fight is between the ruling Congress coalition and BJP-led parties. Neither party is expected to win by a clear margin (and the votes won't be counted until May 16), so the jockeying is just beginning. To help us understand the importance of this complicated election is Mira Kamdar, Senior Fellow at the World Policy Institute
, Associate Fellow of the Asia Society
, and author of Planet India: the Turbulent Rise of The Largest Democracy and the Future of Our World.
"The poorer you are, the more likely you are to vote. And for the poor in India, 46 percent are still living, according to the World Bank, on less than $1.25 a day, it's about food, it's about jobs, it's about housing, it's about education for their children."
—Mira Kamdar of the World Policy Institute on elections in India