British and Western media have a particular focus on elections; understandably so, since they are the mechanism of our system of political order. Recently, much attention was directed at the Rochdale by-election, where the total electorate was 70,000. So, how interested should we be in an election in which one in eight of the world’s adult population is eligible to vote, involving an electorate of almost 1 billion – 968 million voters?

In India’s general election, polls open this Friday 19 April; but do not expect results in the early hours of the following day, as in Britain, since the polls will remain open on six other polling days for designated groups of seats until 1 June.