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India Begins Its Election Season With Five States

The BJP has sent top leaders to campaign in Chhattisgarh.

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India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi gestures as he addresses a gathering in New Delhi, India. VOA

India began on Monday the first of five state elections to be held in coming weeks, important tests for Prime Minister Narendra Modi as he plots a course that he hopes will ensure him victory in a general election due by May.

Voters in the central state of Chhattisgarh went to the polls on Monday to elect representatives for 18 of the state assembly’s 90 seats in a staggered poll complicated by logistical problems and left-wing guerrillas.

The state of about 26 million people has been ruled by Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) since 2003, and he will be hoping to hold on to power.

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi Continues To Stay Mum On The #MeToo Movement. Wikimedia Commons

“Some unholy people have handed guns to children who should have pens in their hands,” Modi told a rally in the state on Friday, referring to the rag-tag guerrillas battling government forces from forest hideouts. “They’ve finished the lives of our tribal children.”

Hundreds of election workers had to be flown in to remote polling stations by helicopter because of the danger posed by the rebels.

Modi called for voters to back his BJP and its vision of “development for all.”

The final phase of voting in Chhattisgarh, which is known for its coal, iron ore and bauxite reserves, will be on Nov. 20.

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India’s Congress party President Rahul Gandhi displays documents as he accuses Narendra Modi’s government of buying 36 Rafale fighter jets from France’s Dassault at a highly inflated price, in New Delhi, India. VOA

The BJP was the preference of about 43 percent of voters in Chhattisgarh, 7 percentage points ahead of the main opposition Congress party, according to a survey released last week by the Lokniti-Centre for the Study of Developing Societies.

Modi’s other big tests will be in the neighboring central state of Madhya Pradesh, where the BJP is slightly ahead of Congress, according to polls, and in the northwestern state of Rajasthan, where Congress is expected to emerge victorious.

A good performance by the BJP in the elections would help it deflect growing criticism over unemployment and a crisis in the countryside over falling farm prices and wages.

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Modi Appeals For A Regional Front Against Terrorism, flickr

Elections will also be held for assemblies in Telangana in the south and Mizoram in the northeast.

The BJP has sent top leaders to campaign in Chhattisgarh, including Yogi Adityanath, a firebrand Hindu priest and the BJP chief minister in Uttar Pradesh state.

Also Read: PM Narendra Modi Announces Easier Access to Credit

Adityanath has been appealing to the BJP’s Hindu-nationalist base and on Sunday accused the opposition of blocking construction of a temple for Hindu god Ram on a disputed site in Uttar Pradesh.

The destruction of a mosque on the site by a Hindu mob in 1992 sparked deadly riots across the country. (VOA)

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India Sold Over 204 mn WiFi Devices in 2018: Report

The market research firm predicted smartphones would continue to lead the WiFi enabled devices by installed base

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As many as 204.5 million WiFi enabled consumer devices were sold in 2018, with mobile phones contributing close to 90 per cent of the sales, a new report said on Tuesday.

According to market research firm techARC, WiFi sale of enabled devices is expected to grow at 8 per cent in 2019 with sales touching 221 million units, primarily led by smart and connected devices for home and office automation.

“The future lies in wireless highspeed connectivity and WiFi offers one of the most reliable and affordable alternatives to it. We have seen so far WiFi enablement through legacy IT and communications devices like laptops, routers and smartphones.

“This is now shifting to other consumer electronics like TVs, lighting, ACs and refrigerators. At the same time, it’s also penetrating into automobiles as well as other traditionally dumb IT peripherals like storage devices,” Faisal Kawoosa, Founder and Chief Analyst at techARC, said in a statement.

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Youths are seen browsing the internet inside the venue of the launch of Google free wifi project in Lagos, Nigeria. VOA

In terms of active user base, the research firm estimates India is having close to 600 million consumer devices being used for communication, productivity, entertainment and other smart and connected use cases.

Also Read: Love is Central to Friendship on Snapchat in India

The market research firm predicted smartphones would continue to lead the WiFi enabled devices by installed base.

However, the growth will be seen more in smart TVs including streaming devices as well as other home automation/smart devices leveraging WiFi connectivity. (IANS)