Will India's 2024 Elections Sizzle in Record Heat?

Normally, Lok Sabha elections don't happen during the summer. But since 2004, they've been happening in April-May, when the weather gets hotter across the country.

Syed Hassan Kazim
New Update
Elections in Summer

As India braces for the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, a pressing concern arises: will this summer set new heat records? The India Meteorological Department (IMD) predicts above-average temperatures from April to June, accompanied by an increase in heatwave occurrences. This raises worries about the impact of extreme heat on the electoral process.


Traditionally, Lok Sabha elections weren't synonymous with the summer season. However, since 2004, they've consistently fallen in April-May, coinciding with rising temperatures nationwide. This year, the IMD's forecast of prolonged heatwaves presents a unique challenge for political parties and voters alike.

Elevated temperatures, worsened by climate change, pose significant risks to outdoor campaign workers and voters exercising their democratic rights. As temperatures soar, concerns grow over heat-related illnesses and fatalities among individuals exposed to the scorching heat.

Research indicates that higher temperatures not only affect voter turnout but also influence political participation and candidate behavior. Studies suggest that while initially, higher temperatures may decrease the number of candidates contesting elections, they can subsequently lead to increased voter participation beyond a certain threshold.

The impact of extreme heat extends beyond elections, affecting vulnerable populations such as pregnant women working outdoors and outdoor workers across various sectors. Studies have revealed a doubling of the risk of miscarriage due to occupational exposure to extreme heat, highlighting the urgent need for protective measures.

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.

To address these challenges, proactive measures must be taken. Recommendations include implementing flexible working hours for campaign workers, mandating breaks, and ensuring adequate facilities at polling stations to safeguard the well-being of voters.

Collaboration between policymakers, political parties, and electoral authorities is imperative to tackle the escalating impacts of climate change and protect vulnerable segments of society. Prioritizing the health and safety of citizens will be crucial in navigating the upcoming elections amidst extreme heat.

As the nation prepares for one of the largest democratic exercises globally, the question persists: Is India adequately prepared for elections amidst extreme heat conditions? The answer hinges on collective efforts to adapt, innovate, and prioritize the welfare of all citizens, ensuring the preservation of democracy despite adversities.