Are Lok Sabha Polls 2024 Going to Be Fought in the Hottest Summer Yet?

The rising temperatures, exacerbated by climate change, pose significant risks to outdoor campaign workers and voters who brave the elements to exercise their democratic rights.

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Data Intelligence Team
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As India gears up for the Lok Sabha elections in 2024, a burning question looms large: will this be the hottest summer yet? With the India Meteorological Department (IMD) predicting above-normal temperatures from April to June, and a surge in heatwave episodes anticipated during this period, concerns over the impact of extreme heat on the electoral process are mounting. There's a significant likelihood of extended heatwave episodes lasting between 10 to 20 days during this period.

 

Historically, the Lok Sabha elections were not synonymous with summer months. However, since 2004, the elections have consistently been scheduled for April-May, coinciding with the onset of scorching temperatures across the country. This year, the IMD's forecast of prolonged heatwaves poses a unique challenge for both political parties and voters alike.

The rising temperatures, exacerbated by climate change, pose significant risks to outdoor campaign workers and voters who brave the elements to exercise their democratic rights. As temperatures soar, the potential for heat-related illnesses and fatalities among individuals exposed to the blistering heat becomes a grave concern.

Research has shown that higher temperatures not only affect voter turnout but also influence political participation and candidate behavior.

A study conducted on climate change and political participation in India revealed that while higher temperatures may initially lead to a decrease in the number of candidates contesting elections, they also result in an increase in voter turnout beyond a certain threshold.

The impact of extreme heat extends beyond the electoral process, affecting vulnerable populations such as pregnant women working outdoors and outdoor workers across various sectors. Studies have demonstrated a doubling of the risk of miscarriage due to occupational exposure to extreme heat, underscoring the urgent need for protective measures to safeguard the health of all citizens.

An international study, co-led by the Paul G Allen Family Foundation, underscored the global ramifications of tropical heat on outdoor workers. For every one-degree Celsius increase in temperature, approximately 800 million people in tropical regions may face significant reductions in their ability to work safely outdoors during daylight hours.

In the face of these challenges, proactive measures must be implemented to mitigate the impact of extreme heat during the Lok Sabha elections in 2024. Recommendations include flexible working hours for campaign workers, mandatory breaks, and the provision of adequate facilities to ensure the safety and well-being of voters at polling stations.

Furthermore, collaboration between policymakers, political parties, and electoral authorities is essential to address the escalating effects of climate change and protect the most vulnerable segments of society. By prioritizing the health and safety of citizens, India can navigate the upcoming elections in the hottest summer yet with resilience and determination.

As the nation prepares to cast its vote in one of the largest democratic exercises in the world, the question remains: Is India prepared for an election amidst extreme heat conditions? The answer lies in the collective efforts of institutions to adapt, innovate, and prioritize the well-being of all citizens, ensuring that democracy prevails even in the face of adversity.

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