Modi’s magic: Why Indian polls predict a record BJP victory | Indian elections 2024 news

New Delhi, India – Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, 73, is preparing for a rare third term and is likely to be re-elected by an overwhelming majority, crushing the opposition coalition in the world’s largest ever democratic vote, opinion polls showed on Saturday evening.

If the official results due on Tuesday, June 4, support these polls, Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) will not only survive widening inequality, record unemployment, and rising prices, but may fare better than the last election in 2019. Never before has any Prime Minister in independent India won three consecutive Lok Sabha elections with better numbers each time.

At least seven opinion polls published by Indian media organizations predicted that the Bharatiya Janata Party and its allies would win between 350 and 380 seats out of 543 seats in the Lok Sabha, the lower house of the Indian Parliament.

The Opposition India Alliance – a group of more than two dozen political groups hoping to remove the BJP’s Hindu majority government – has refused to maintain steadfast confidence in its ability to secure a majority on vote-counting day, refusing to consider exit polls. .

Exit polls in India have a patchy record, and previous surveys have underestimated and overestimated the numbers of different parties. However, they have mostly correctly predicted the larger trends of the past two decades, with some exceptions. Nearly a billion Indians were registered to cast their votes in the giant seven-phase election that spanned over six weeks and ended on Saturday evening.

“Modi is extraordinarily popular. Everything about the BJP campaign was about Modi for a reason,” said Nilanjan Sircar, a senior fellow at the New Delhi-based Center for Policy Research. “There have been certain narratives that have emerged that suggest people are dissatisfied with the government, “But translating that into seats has always been a struggle.”

The BJP is expanding into new areas

While India is expected to perform well in the country’s southern states, most opinion polls indicate that the Bharatiya Janata Party could make impressive inroads there as well.

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Many opinion polls predict that the BJP may win two or three seats in Kerala, the last stronghold of the Indian left where Modi’s party has never won. While the BJP may win one to three seats in Tamil Nadu, where it got a blank result in the last elections. These victories, if achieved, could give the BJP a foothold in the opposition strongholds where it has struggled for decades.

The BJP and its allies are also expected to retain their seats in Karnataka: the BJP won 25 of the state’s 28 seats in 2019. It could become the single biggest winner in Telangana. The results represent a major setback for the opposition Congress Party, which leads the All India Alliance and won state-level legislative elections – defeating the Bharatiya Janata Party – in both Karnataka and Telangana just last year.

“The gains in the south are surprising. Expectations are for massive gains,” said Asim Ali, a political commentator. “Even if the BJP does not get a large number of seats [as predicted in the exit polls]the rise in their vote share is a major swing.

Meanwhile, the BJP is expected to sweep its stronghold states, including Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Delhi, Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh.

The opposition alliance is expected to make marginal gains in the states of Bihar and Rajasthan, the two states that the BJP almost swept in the recent elections, and in the northern states of Haryana and Punjab.

Sudha Joshi, a 76-year-old voter from Chittorgarh in Rajasthan, did not move her eyes from her smartphone as news anchors shouted over each other about Modi’s “resounding mandate” on Saturday night. She got the smartphone last year under the welfare program run by the then Congress government in the state.

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Last December, Rajasthan voted the Congress out of power and returned the Bharatiya Janata Party to power in the state.

Joshi’s political loyalties have also changed. She said Joshi, who was born in 1947, when India gained independence, had never missed an opportunity to vote. Joshi, a traditional Congress voter, said she had given up hope in the Nehru-Gandhi family that dominates the party, and instead came to see the Modi leader.

“In 2014, when Modi ran for the first time, I could see a leader who would take India to international heights,” she said, elated by the polls. We are satisfied with his rule because he is a religious person like us and a true patriot.”

Analysts say her views reflect broader sentiment.

“A large section of society, with a man like Modi at the top – someone ‘you can believe in’ – can only imagine him as a leader today,” said Sircar, of the Congress for the Republic party. “The BJP owes its success to Modi’s popularity.”

Zafar Islam, the BJP’s national spokesman, said exit polls reflect that voters “appreciate the BJP’s model of governance, welfare schemes and Prime Minister Modi’s vision.”

“The ease of living for people has improved under Modi’s leadership and that is why we are looking forward to a historic ruling,” he told Al Jazeera.

Five more years of BJP dominance?

Modi’s re-election campaign was peppered with fear-mongering, with him and the BJP constantly presenting the prime minister as the savior of the larger Hindu population against the opposition’s conspiracy to favor Muslims, whom he referred to as “infiltrators” and “those with more children” at campaign rallies. Electoral.

India, with an estimated population of 200 million, is home to the third largest Muslim community in the world after Indonesia and Pakistan.

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Meanwhile, the opposition has tried to corner Modi on issues of social justice and equality. The topic struck a chord with Vikrant Singh, a 21-year-old political science student.

He said Singh traveled more than 160 kilometers (100 miles) to return to his home in Pratapgarh, Uttar Pradesh, to vote against the BJP. He said: “Public universities have become expensive, and unemployment is constantly rising.” “I’m about to graduate from graduate school and I don’t have any job opportunities to look forward to.”

He is a first-time voter, and for Indians his age, the previous Congress government – ​​the party was last in power between 2004 and 2014 – is now a distant memory. He said the future does not look bright.

“The main focus of the BJP was to win elections rather than governance,” he said. “They seek cultural hegemony and capture young minds by controlling the means of information.”

In Uttar Pradesh, India’s largest state, the Bharatiya Janata Party is expected to win more than 65 seats out of 80 with its allies, up from 62 seats in the last election. After the poll results were published, Modi said that the opposition alliance “failed to strike a chord with voters.”

“Through the campaign, they have consolidated their expertise in one thing only, which is Modi bashing. The people have rejected such reactionary policies.”

If the election results support the polls, Sircar noted that India is looking forward to another five years “under the central coalition of Modi and Amit Shah,” referring to the country’s home minister, who is largely seen as a deputy prime minister.

“The BJP only knows this way of working: a government in which power is entirely concentrated at the top.”

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