India goes to the polls

(6 April 2014)  Voting in the world's biggest democracy begins tomorrow as India goes to the polls to elect a new government.  The BJP-led NDA alliance is well ahead in recent polls so it is seems likely that Narendra Modi will be the next Prime Minister after the final results are announced on May 16th.  There is still some doubt if the NDA will have the required 272 seats for a majority in the Lok Sabha or if other parties will have to be coaxed into joining any BJP government.

As I noted in this space last week, the astrological influences are broadly favourable to a Modi and BJP victory.  Of course, without clearly established birth times for either Modi or Congress candidate Rahul Gandhi it is more difficult to make a categorical prediction of the outcome.  Various birth times have been suggested for both candidates, but thus far none has emerged as definitive or accurate.  For this reason, we need to use whatever auxiliary means to provide supporting evidence for forecasting the outcome. 

The chart of India may be useful in this respect.  In the course of my research into political astrology, I have found that a change in governing parties is more likely whenever there is a clear affliction to 1) the Sun; 2) the 10th house cusps (equal and unequal), or 3) the 10th house sign lord.   The 10th house symbolizes government, while the Sun is typically associated with leaders and government.  By affliction, I mean a close aspect (usually less than two degrees) from malefics Saturn, Rahu, Ketu, or the outer planets -- Uranus, Neptune and Pluto.  The greater the number of afflicting planets, the more likely the change in governing parties and the more historically significant the change in government direction (e.g. a shift from left to far right). 

We can see how the charts of previous major changes in government have followed these rules.  The Desai-led Janata Party victory in 1977 was the first non-Congress government since independence.  We can see that transiting Saturn (16 Cancer) was conjunct natal Saturn (10th house sign lord) at 20 Cancer.  Transiting Ketu (0 Aries) was closely trine (120 degrees) to the Sun (28 Cancer) thus representing a second level of affliction to the sitting government.  Finally, the unequal 10th house cusp at 21 Capricorn was aligned with both Neptune (22 Scorpio) and Pluto (19 Virgo).  Outer planets do not move very quickly -- just a few degrees per year -- so I take any multiple of 30 degrees as significant in this regard.  These aspects from Neptune and Pluto therefore also applied to 10th house lord Saturn. 

Congress returned to power in May 2004 with a Singh-led government following the defeat of the BJP.  Here, too, we can spot the key afflictions.  Transiting Neptune was exactly conjunct the unequal 10th house cusp at 21 Capricorn.  Neptune therefore also exactly opposed the 10th house lord, Saturn.  In its negative form, Neptune's primary mode of action is through weakening or dissolving the subject in question.  Transiting Pluto (27 Scorpio) was almost exactly trine the Sun (28 Cancer) reflecting a major change in government.

Turning our attention to the current situation, we can see that the government-related factors in India's chart are under considerable affliction.  First and foremost, transiting Saturn (28 Libra) is now in a close square to the Sun (28 Cancer).  This has been ongoing for the past few months due to Saturn's retrograde cycle which has elongated this transit contact.  While Saturn continues to move backwards in the sky, it will still be within less than three degrees of an exact aspect from 25 Libra when the results are announced on 16 May.  When Saturn ends its retrograde cycle in July at 22 Libra, it will be in a close square aspect with the unequal 10th house cusp at 21 Capricorn. 

We can see another major affliction to the 10th house lord Saturn (20 Cancer) from transiting Uranus at 21 Pisces -- a 120 degree trine aspect.  Actually, this is a double affliction since the unequal 10th house cusp sits at 20 Capricorn and thus Uranus aligns also with that point within just one degree of a 60 degree sextile aspect.  Uranus is typically involved in situations of rapid change and instability.  Transiting Pluto (19 Sagittarius) is also part of this alignment with Saturn and the unequal 10th house cusp as it aligns very closely to both.  Pluto is also associated with change although it tends to be more thoroughgoing and often times more forceful.  It can also be slow and deliberate.  Given that both transiting Uranus and Pluto are active in the India chart suggests that the nature of the government changeover will be multi-faceted and historically significant.  Indeed, the general expectation is that the incoming Modi administration will press ahead with fundamental free market reforms of the Indian economy.  These new policies will be aimed at eliminating the statist hangovers from the early post-independence period. 

We can also note that the supporting presence of both Venus (21 Pisces) and Mercury (21 Taurus) in this larger alignment on May 16.  These fast-moving planets should be seen as auspicious midwives of the major changes that will likely come to India during the next NDA government.

The bottom line here is that the horoscope of India offers more evidence for a BJP-NDA victory.  Moreover, the extent of the various planetary afflictions suggests that Mr. Modi will likely form the next government without significant delay or complication.

Financial Markets Update

Stocks were mixed last week as the lackluster US jobs report undermined gains from earlier in the week. The Dow finished higher at 16,412.  Indian stocks were mostly flat absent any new cues ahead of the first round of voting.  The Sensex closed at 22,359.  I thought we would see some early week gains on the Sun-Uranus conjunction and that was largely the case in the US and Europe.  While generally bullish here on the ongoing Jupiter-Uranus aspect, this neutral outcome for the week was basically in line with expectations. 

This week could see some early week turbulence around the Sun-Mars opposition.  This aspect is exact on Tuesday but could depress sentiment somewhat for the first half of the week.  The second half of the week should be more positive on the Mercury-Venus alignment.  Overall, I would be surprised to see stocks finish the week too far from their current levels.