Indian election results 2024: Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party leads but the opposition makes progress

NEW DELHI (AP) — Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi declared victory for his coalition Tuesday in India’s general election, despite his party’s poor performance as it faced a stronger-than-expected challenge from the opposition, which buckled against his mixed economic record. And political polarization.

Modi told a crowd of people at his party’s headquarters that the National Democratic Alliance he leads will form the government for the third time in a row, saying Indian voters “have shown great confidence” in his party and the coalition alliance.

More than 50 countries will go to the polls in 2024

“Today’s victory is the victory of the largest democracy in the world,” he said.

However, for the first time since Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party came to power in 2014, it looked unlikely to secure a majority on its own, and the prime minister will instead need the support of other parties in his coalition for a fifth time. Academic year in The largest democratic practice in the world.

This will be a huge blow for the 73-year-old coach, who was hoping for a landslide victory. Despite the setback, many of the Hindu nationalist policies he instituted over the past ten years remain in place.

Modi pledged to fulfill his electoral promise to transform India’s economy, the third largest economy in the world, from the current fifth place, and not to evade moving forward with his agenda.

He said he would boost India’s defense production, boost employment opportunities for youth, increase exports and help farmers, among other things.

“This country will see a new chapter of big decisions. “This is Modi’s guarantee.”

In the face of the surprising numbers, the opposition claimed it had also achieved a victory of sorts, with the main opposition Congress party saying the election was a “moral and political loss” for Modi.

“This is a victory for the people and a victory for democracy,” Congress party leader Mallikarjun Kharge told reporters.

During his ten years in power, Modi transformed India’s political landscape, bringing… Hindu nationalismIt was once a fringe ideology in Indiainto the mainstream while leaving the country deeply divided.

Congress Party supporters chant as they watch vote counting procedures at their party headquarters in New Delhi, India, Tuesday, June 4, 2024. (AP Photo/Altaf Qadri)

His supporters see him as a self-made and strong leader who succeeded in improving India’s standing in the world. His critics and opponents say about him Hindu politics first It has bred intolerance, while the economy, the world’s fifth largest and one of the fastest growing, has become more unequal.

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The counting of more than 640 million votes is expected to continue over six weeks until nightfall.

some 12 hours of countingPartial statistics announced by the Indian Election Commission showed that Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party advanced in 114 electoral districts, winning 126 seats out of 543 seats in Parliament. The Congress Party advanced in 45 electoral districts and won 54 of them.

272 seats are needed to obtain a majority. In 2019, the BJP won 303 seats, while it won 282 seats in 2014 when Modi first came to power.

The Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance advanced in 147 constituencies and won 139, according to the partial count. Congress Party is part of India AllianceIt ran in 131 electoral districts and won 99.

The Election Commission does not publish data on the percentage of votes counted.

Opinion polls conducted over the weekend predicted that the NDA would win more than 350 seats. Indian markets, which hit all-time highs on Monday, closed sharply lower on Tuesday, with the two benchmark equity indices – NIFTY 50 and BSE Sensex – falling more than 5%.

For Payal, a resident of the northern city of Lucknow who uses only one name, the election was about the economy and the huge number of people living in poverty in India.

“People are suffering, there are no jobs, and people are in a situation where their children have to make tea and sell it on the roadside,” Payal said. “This is a big deal for us. If we don’t wake up now, when will we wake up?”

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If Modi wins, it will be only the second time an Indian leader has retained power for a third term after Jawaharlal Nehru, the country’s first prime minister.

But if the BJP is forced to form a coalition, the party will likely rely heavily on the goodwill of its allies, making them crucial players whom we can expect to pull its weight, both in terms of policy-making and public policy, said Milan Vaishnav, director of the South Asia Program at the Foundation. Carnegie International Peace: “Formation of Government.”

“This is really going to be, you know, uncharted territory, both for the Indians and for the Prime Minister,” he added.

Before Modi came to power, India had coalition governments for 30 years. The BJP has always enjoyed a majority on its own while still ruling in coalition.

Extreme heat Hit India While voters headed to the polls. While temperatures were somewhat lower on Tuesday, election officials and political parties were still collecting large quantities of water and installing outdoor air coolers for people awaiting results.

Outside the Bharatiya Janata Party headquarters in New Delhi, supporters beat drums and bells as vote counting was underway. Earlier, party workers performed Hindu rituals.

Meanwhile, Congress supporters looked upbeat at the party headquarters and chanted slogans praising Rahul Gandhi, the face of the party’s campaign.

Speaking at the press conference with party president Karji, Gandhi said that he sees these numbers as a message from the people.

“The poorest people of this country stood up for the Constitution of India,” he said.

Over more than a decade in power, Modi’s popularity has outstripped that of his party, and he has turned parliamentary elections into elections that increasingly resemble parliamentary elections. Presidential-style campaign. The result is that the BJP is increasingly relying on Modi’s perpetual approach to stay in power, with local politicians receding into the background even in state elections.

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“Modi was not just the main campaigner, he was the only campaigner in this election,” said Yamini Aiyar, a public policy researcher.

Modi’s critics say the country’s democracy is faltering under his government, which has increasingly used strong-arm tactics to subjugate political opponents, pressure independent media and suppress dissent. The government rejects such accusations and says democracy is thriving.

Economic discontent has worsened under Modi. As stock markets reach record highs and the number of millionaires multiplies, youth unemployment rates soar Only a small portion of Indians Taking advantage of the boom.

As polls opened in mid-April, the BJP was initially confident She focused her campaign On ‘Modi guarantees’, highlighting the economic and social achievements that his party says have led to poverty reduction. With him at the helm, “India will become a developed country by 2047,” Modi repeated at one election rally after another.

But the campaign has turned increasingly tumultuous, as Modi intensified his targeted, polarizing rhetoric Muslims make up 14% of the population It is a tactic aimed at energizing his Hindu majority voters.

The opposition India Alliance attacked Modi for his Hindu nationalist policies, and campaigned on issues of unemployment, inflation and inequality.

But the broad coalition, which includes more than a dozen political parties, is plagued by disagreements and ideological rifts, raising questions about its effectiveness. At the same time, the coalition also claimed that they were Unfairly targetedPointing to a series of raids, arrests and corruption investigations against their leaders by federal agencies that they say are politically motivated. The government denied this.

In the financial capital, Mumbai, Mangesh Mahadeshwar was one of many who were surprised by the way the elections went.

“Yesterday we thought the BJP would get more than 400 seats,” said a 52-year-old man who was monitoring the results at the restaurant where he works. “Today it seems that this will not happen, people did not support the BJP much this time.”

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Associated Press journalists David Rising in New Delhi and Rafiq Maqbool in Mumbai, India, contributed to this story.

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