Modi or Gandhi? Indian mystics split over poll outcome

Indian transgender mystic Zoya Lobo shuffles her 'oracle' cards during an interview with AFP in Mumbai, India, on March 18, 2019. PHOTO: AFP

MUMBAI (AFP) - Transgender mystic Zoya Lobo turns over three oracle cards, studies them for a minute and looks up. Prime Minister Narendra Modi will definitely win India's general election this summer, she proclaims.

Clairvoyant Larra Shah also predicts a victory for Mr Modi owing to his "extremely powerful aura", but astrologer Raj Kumar Sharma thinks opposition leader Rahul Gandhi will win because his party's moon sign is Virgo.

Vedic astrology is big business in Hindu-majority India, and stargazers are making a host of predictions for the world's biggest elections starting next month - their many followers hanging on every utterance.

Some 900 million voters are registered to cast ballots in the vote in April and May which will see Mr Gandhi's Congress party seek to dislodge Mr Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) from power.

Ms Shah, 49, a celebrity holistic healer who practises tarot reading, says most of them will plump for Mr Modi, himself a devout Hindu.

"When it comes to tarot cards, Modi is like the emperor or the magician where the power of self-knowledge, of spiritual balance, of karma, is in perfection," she explains to Agence France-Presse.

"Rahul Gandhi is more like the devil because he's always confused. There is a conflict there because he is a Gemini so has a dual personality," she adds.

Mr Modi, 68, and the right-wing Hindu nationalist BJP swept to power five years ago by winning 282 out of 543 seats, forming the country's first majority government in almost three decades.

Ms Shah expects Mr Modi to be returned, but with a vastly reduced majority. Pre-election polling suggests an even closer contest, with many forecasting that neither party will win the 272 seats needed for a majority.

Ms Lobo also has a prediction that hits closer to home for her - a 35 per cent chance that Mr Modi will do something to help India's two-million-strong transgender community.


Indians consult soothsayers for advice on a raft of subjects from whom to marry to whether to buy a house or strike a business deal.

Many businessmen, Bollywood actors and politicians have personal astrologers scrutinise their stars closely to determine auspicious days to hold functions, release a movie or make political announcements.

For the election, Mr Sharma says the planets are aligning in favour of Congress - based on the birth dates of the parties and their leaders - and that it will be able to persuade smaller, regional parties to join it in a coalition.

"Congress's moon sign is Virgo and at present, a favourable Jupiter Mahadasha (period) is happening for them, while the BJP's moon sign is Scorpio," he explains.

"Rahul Gandhi's favourable period has started and his moon is more powerful than Narendra Modi's moon, so my prediction is very clear: Rahul Gandhi will either become the prime minister or will make the prime minister with the support of his party."

He sees the elections being "extremely volatile" because they were declared at an inauspicious time - when the sun was setting instead of rising - and that they may witness more violence between India and Pakistan.

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