(Bloomberg) -- Each day, Bloomberg journalists take you across a selection of towns and cities as they gear up for the big vote.

Hi, this is Rakteem Katakey. I run Bloomberg’s Middle East energy team from Dubai but my hometown is Sivasagar in India’s northeastern state of Assam, famous for its tea and the one-horned rhinoceros roaming the banks of the mighty Brahmaputra. My brother and his family, along with people from the neighboring states of Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Tripura and Nagaland, will be among the first in the country to vote in elections that start Friday. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party in 2016 had ousted the Congress in Assam for the first time ever, and has since established its hold in the region. The BJP is hoping to woo voters with the roads and bridges it has built, offering better connectivity within the Seven Sisters area and with the mainland, but identity politics that occasionally spark ethnic conflicts will also influence the agenda.

Top Stories

Some 18 million youth will vote for the first time in India’s election this year and there are another 197 million citizens between the ages of 20 and 29. Political parties are targeting them with emotive or often bitingly funny ads, memes, and music videos.

Elon Musk is expected to meet with Indian space companies when he visits the South Asian country next week, in what’s seen as a potential campaign coup for Modi. Space is the new cool and muscular arena — and the source of much national pride — after India last year became the first nation to land a craft on the moon’s south pole.

And — not directly connected with the elections but an important space to watch given the BJP’s grip on the Indian media — is how the sector is consolidating and reshaping itself.

Read more: 

  • All You Need to Know About India’s Upcoming Elections: QuickTake
  • INDIA INSIGHT: Modi 3.0? What 24 Years of Speeches Say on Policy
  • Ashmore Counters Consensus With Big Bet on China Over India

Campaign Trail

Staying with Musk, his X social platform called on the Election Commission of India to “publish all of its takedown orders going forward,” after the poll watchdog ordered X to remove four posts by various regional parties and leaders. Meanwhile the main opposition Congress party is contesting its lowest tally of seats ever, drawing parallels with 2004 when it had ceded ground to allies to unseat the BJP. Modi has an ambitious goal of 370 for his party, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi says the BJP will win 150.

Global Media

  • The New York Times is explaining to its readers why India needs six weeks to vote.
  • The Financial Times offers a glimpse into what it calls “the formidable grassroots operation” of the BJP.

Who Votes This Week?

India’s mammoth election runs through June 1, with counting scheduled for June 4. This map from the Election Commission of India shows which constituencies vote when.

Related News

TOP ELECIN for top India election stories; readers on the app click BTDY ELECIN

NI BGOVBANDB The Ballots & Boundaries newsletter

NI BTDC Podcast on Money, Power, and Politics

As India heads into an election, understand how money and business intersect with politics and power. Follow Bloomberg India’s channel on WhatsApp, and sign up for the weekly India Edition newsletter by Menaka Doshi.

This story was produced with the assistance of Bloomberg Automation.

©2024 Bloomberg L.P.