Farmer discontent and weak job growth could hurt the performance of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his ruling Bharatiya Janata Party in state elections. That offers a crucial opportunity for the main opposition party, the Indian National Congress, to shine.
Five states recently went to the polls to elect representatives to their respective assemblies. Votes will be counted on Tuesday, with special attention on the regions of Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan. The three Hindi-speaking areas boast a combined state domestic product of roughly $305 billion and are among the country's easiest places to do business, according to the World Bank.
Analysts anticipate the outcome in the three states could serve as a preview for the country's general election in 2019.
"The results of these elections, while not conclusive, may serve as bellwethers for whether the nearly 65 parliamentary seats from the electorally important states of Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Chhattisgarh will ultimately go to the opposition Indian National Congress party or to the BJP in 2019," said Kartikeya Singh, deputy director of the Wadhwani Chair in U.S.-India policy studies at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, in a note.