Calls and Campaigns

Jun 20

India elections – good for trade unions

June 2024 – The world’s largest election concluded on 4 June 2024 in India, securing a third term for Prime Minister Narendra Modi, though the outcome diverged from media expectations of a landslide victory. Modi’s party, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), fell short of its target, winning 240 out of 543 parliamentary seats in the “400 paar” campaign. Consequently, Modi now relies on the support of two major state-based parties to sustain the National Democratic Alliance (NDA).

On the other side, the Indian National Democratic Inclusive Alliance (INDIA), comprising center and left parties, clinched 232 seats, with the Congress party leading the opposition with 99 seats. This marked a significant achievement for the center-left amidst challenges such as harassment, arrests, frozen bank accounts, and a media landscape perceived to favor Modi.

Why is this considered a victory for trade unions?

While most trade unions aimed to oust the right-wing, pro-billionaire Modi government, the BJP’s diminished influence represents a favorable outcome for workers and public services.

Despite facing another five years under Modi’s government, unions anticipate receiving a more balanced portrayal in certain media outlets and greater attention from State governments. The emphasis is expected to shift towards addressing issues of inequality, job creation, and enhancing public services. Unions are hopeful for increased consultation across all levels of governance and a decrease in hostilities towards unionists, activists, and independent institutions. Local organizing will continue to be central to India’s union movement, focusing steadfastly on the needs of workers and their families.

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