India: Will a billion voters move markets in the world’s biggest democratic election?

The world’s largest democracy goes to its quinquennial national polls in a few weeks, with results expected by the end of May. Almost one billion registered voters will make this the biggest election exercise anywhere, ever.

Two-thirds of this voter base has been turning out to vote in the past few elections – over 600 million citizens - which is larger than the entire populations of North America or the European Union. Needless to say, it is a monumental undertaking in terms of logistics, administration, and security, necessitating polling in 4-5 phases.
In this CIO Special, we analyse the polity and the demographic changes that are affecting polling trends, look at economic and social issues that are at the forefront of voters’ minds and examine how markets have behaved in election years, both before and after election day.

Key takeaways:

  • India's national elections to be held in April/May will be the world's largest democratic exercise ever.
  • A large number of young first time voters and women, both with better and cheaper access to the internet and social media, are playing an increasingly influential role in determining the winner.
  • While economic prosperity has been on the rise and markets assume that the ruling BJP will remain in power, volatility after the election results are announced cannot be ruled out.

The CIO Memo above is available to download. Please refer to the Important Information at the end of the memo for disclosures and risk warnings.