India’s election season begins today and will stretch across four weeks, reports MNN.
The incumbent Congress Party is secular and more friendly to freedom of religion, but they’re on the defensive. The Hindu extremist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has also lost ground. Neither of these two main national parties is seen as capable of securing an absolute majority in the five-stage polls.
That leaves the election open to a power grab from one of the other political parties. Stravers explains it makes sense that the smaller political parties will grab up many of the 543 parliamentary seats. No one will have a clear majority, so the final result will kick off a mad scramble to form a working coalition.
No one knows which result will benefit ministries more. Dave Stravers with Grand Rapids, Michigan-based Mission India says, “We need to pray that the people who do vote will also value the freedom of religion that is enshrined in the Constitution of India. Also pray that voters will call their leaders to account to enforce laws that protect people who convert from one religion to another.”
In order to ensure voter safety, more than two million security personnel will be rotated around the country over the five phases of balloting that end on May 13.
More than 700 million registered voters are expected to make their choices along religious and caste lines. Stravers notes that there is some tension. “Pray that there will be a peaceful election and that whatever political environment emerges from these elections will be friendly to the Gospel. People in India are very responsive to the Gospel; the church is growing fast.”
Report from the Christian Telegraph