South Asia Monitor: India: Election-Watcher's Guide - September 1, 1999
September 1, 1999
India will hold elections on five dates starting September 5 and ending October 3. Several August polls show the nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its allies running well ahead of the Congress Party and its associates. They project another coalition government, with a larger majority. The elections will not conclude for another month, so this could change.
If the BJP wins, it will have a slightly easier time than Congress in resuming a serious dialogue with Pakistan. On economic reform, it would be less hemmed in by electoral alliances than Congress. Other policy differences are small. More important in assessing the new government is the chance for greater stability. As for the likely leaders, Prime Minister Vajpayee is familiar and experienced, but his record during his one and a half years in office is mixed.