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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.

India, elections
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.

India,India, elections
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.

India, elections
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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Mean Fixed Broadband Download Speed in India Rises to 16.5%

Availability of 4G continues to improve in India as the country's mobile providers are trying to provide consistent coverage across the country

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Broadband
India is the leader in mean fixed Broadband download speed amongst other neighbouring countries, with Bangladesh at 24.02 Mbps and Pakistan with flat speeds between 8.54 and 9.14 Mbps. Pixabay

Mean fixed broadband download speeds in India have risen by 16.5 per cent during the second quarter (Q2) and third quarter (Q3) of 2019 and topped 34.07 Mbps in September while country-wide Internet speeds were expected to increase, US-based broadband speed tester Ookla said on Wednesday.

“With Reliance Jio’s rollout of its new GigaFiber service in India in early September, we will likely continue to see countrywide speeds increase,” the company said in a statement.

According to the Ookla’s report, which examined the recent trends in Indian telecom market during the last two quarters, India is the leader in mean fixed broadband download speed amongst other neighbouring countries, with Bangladesh at 24.02 Mbps and Pakistan with flat speeds between 8.54 and 9.14 Mbps.

Availability of 4G continues to improve in India as the country’s mobile providers are trying to provide consistent coverage across the country.

This availability is the percentage of an operator’s known locations where a device has access to LTE service (including roaming).

India’s 4G Availability was relatively high at 87.9 per cent across providers during Q2-Q3 2019, which means that Speedtest users had access to LTE service at 87.9 per cent of surveyed locations.

Broadband
Mean fixed Broadband download speeds in India have risen by 16.5 per cent during the second quarter (Q2) and third quarter (Q3) of 2019 and topped 34.07 Mbps in September. Pixabay

The 4G availability was 58.9 per cent in Pakistan and 58.7 per cent in Bangladesh during the same period.

Ookla looked at fixed and mobile download speeds in the 15 largest cities in India during 2019, Q2-Q3 and found out that Chennai had the fastest mean download speed over fixed broadband (51.07 Mbps), followed by Bengaluru (42.50 Mbps) and Hyderabad (41.68 Mbps).

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The slowest download speeds on our list were measured in Nagpur (20.10 Mbps), followed by Pune (22.78 Mbps) and Kanpur (23.20 Mbps). (IANS)