(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 Sankalp Phartiyal. I write on tech from New Delhi but as soon as I get a breather I head home to Nainital at the foothills of the Himalayas. Famous for its lakes and missionary schools, the Nainital-Udhamsingh Nagar constituency is in the midst of election frenzy as the state of Uttarakhand will be among the first to vote when polling kicks off Friday. Uttarakhand also was the first to implement a controversial uniform civil code that critics allege increases the targeting of minorities; then there’s a construction boom that threatens the state’s fragile ecology, which some say could intensify if Prime Minister Narendra Modi wins a third term in office.

Top Stories

Elon Musk is headed to New Delhi. A hug between Modi and the Tesla Inc. chief executive officer could achieve three things. Dominate the news cycle for days if not weeks. Open up a new market for the U.S. giant at a time when it needs to diversify. And burnish Modi’s reputation as a consummate dealmaker — bang in the middle of an election that he hopes will put him in India’s history books. 

Indian elections are colorful for many reasons, but one notorious record is the amount of illicit cash, drugs and alcohol used to bribe voters. The Election Commission has confiscated $557 million of these items in the run up to voting, more than its haul over the whole of the 2019 elections.

And traders are betting that a third term for Modi will lead to continued gains. India’s stocks have commanded an unprecedented premium to emerging-market peers over his 10 years in office and its sovereign bonds have delivered a decade of returns. 

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
  • India’s Industry, Stock Potential to Be Unlocked After Election

Campaign Trail

Opposition Congress party leader Rahul Gandhi accused Modi’s Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party of attempting to destroy the diversity of the country and claimed that people are afraid to practice their religion or follow their traditions. Meanwhile Modi — to win over elusive voters in southern India — renewed his attack on the Congress’ decision five decades ago to cede an island to Sri Lanka. And MK Stalin, leader of the powerful regional Dravida Munnetra Kazagham party, posted on X that the BJP should be prevented from entering Tamil Nadu as Modi’s party intends to lower representation for the state in federal parliament. 

Global Media

  • Newsweek published an interview with Modi, where the premier made a case for India’s digital payments system to reach the US, and also sought a peaceful border with China.
  • American investors are embracing India like never before, warts and all, the Wall Street Journal reported.

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.

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This story was produced with the assistance of Bloomberg Automation.

--With assistance from Davy Zhu, Debarati Roy and Anand Krishnamoorthy.

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