India: Political competition adds to economic risk

  • Two national opinion polls held in May and July 2018, respectively, show a narrowing of the vote gap between the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led coalition and the Indian National Congress (INC)-led alliance; voters’ economic concerns are eating into Modi’s lead.
  • Both surveys show that an expanded opposition alliance that includes more regional parties could produce a hung parliament, which would be negative for market sentiment because of the subsequent uncertainty.
  • Political competition is contributing to increased populism in an increasingly inflationary environment, making a hard landing for the economy after the elections more likely.
  • The BJP has an advantage in resources, messaging and organization, which in our central case should push it over the finish line in a close election; but economic factors are increasingly weighing against it.

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