The Indian election results deal a blow to Modi’s political and economic plans

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi commands attention as he arrives at the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) headquarters in New Delhi, India, June 4, 2024.

Adnan Al-Obaidi | Reuters

It has been revealed that the election result in India Huge political blow Observers say that this decision will have a major impact on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his ruling party, and has major implications for how he intends to rule the country.

Modi did not achieve the landslide victory that opinion polls widely predicted before the results came out. Instead, he will enter his third term with a much weaker mandate than initially expected.

His Bharatiya Janata Party lost dozens of seats, bringing its projected total down to 240 seats, short of an absolute majority in the country’s lower house of parliament.

This was a marked difference from the sweeping states of 2014 and 2019, when the BJP bagged 282 and 303 seats respectively, clinching a majority on its own.

Showing a brave front, Modi described his electoral victory as “the first time after 1962 that an incumbent government has emerged victorious for the third time.” During a speech he delivered at the Bharatiya Janata Party headquarters In New Delhi on Tuesday.

He added that this would be a new “golden chapter” in India’s development.

But the outcome is more complicated for Modi, who will have to rely on coalition partners for the first time in his decade-long rule – some of whom may not share his economic or political agenda for the country.

“We are in uncharted territory,” Nilanjan Sircar, a senior fellow at the Center for Policy Research in New Delhi, said on Wednesday.

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The analyst says there is

“We have never seen the Modi government having to act in a coalition. We know that the party has been engaged in decisive action, in centralization,” Sircar told CNBC’s “Squawk Box Asia.”

“Can they adapt in the ways that the party needs and the leader needs when you’re leading a coalition?” He added that Modi would likely have a “tense relationship” with his coalition partners.

Hindu nationalism

India’s main opposition party, the once-dominant Indian National Congress, won 99 seats — a sharp turnaround from the 52 it won in 2019.

The opposition alliance, along with its coalition partners – the All India National Development Alliance – won 233 seats, a much better result than expected.

Veteran investor David Roche described the election results as an exercise in “karma,” adding that this was the election Modi would lose.

“He’s got his face on everything, and he’s lost it in key states up north. That’s very important because what it tells you is that something is wrong,” Roach, president and global strategist at Independent Strategy, told CNBC.“Street Signs Asia” on Wednesday.

Indian elections: still there

This showed that Modi’s ticket to contest elections on the basis of Hindu nationalism had not worked in “Hindu nationalist areas,” he said, adding that he hoped Modi would now rule in favor of economic reforms.

The BJP’s performance in Uttar Pradesh, a stronghold for the ruling party over the past decade, was one of the biggest shocks in the election. The party suffered some of its big losses here, with BJP political heavyweights like Smriti Irani among others. Losing their seats

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In another setback in Ayodhya, the BJP won B.CUst is a major constituency in Faizabad Just months after Modi’s inauguration Newly built Ram temple. The highly controversial temple was erected on the site of a mosque demolished by Hindu extremists, which analysts said was aimed at energizing the Hindu voter base.

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In the previous elections, the BJP had put India’s “Indian stronghold under lockdown”, Sircar said.

This time it faced very significant losses in three of those states – Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan, the analyst added, noting that this was mainly due to the excesses of the Modi government.

In the run-up to the elections, “two senior ministers were arrested. We had several other political opposition leaders facing investigative agencies… In some places, people were saying they were concerned about the Constitution,” Sircar noted, adding that the The government has several “red lines.”

Critics have pointed out that under Modi’s strong rule, India has seen signs of democratic decline given the ongoing crackdown on minority rights and civil society.

“Moment of humility”

As the elections approach, Modi’s popularity continues despite the economic problems facing India High rates of youth unemployment, inflation and income inequality.

While Modi retains his charisma, he has lost his “aura of electoral omnipotence,” says Michael Kugelman, director of the Wilson Center’s South Asia Institute. He said in a post on X.

“This is a big part of what has long defined him as a leader,” he said, adding that it was a “humbling moment” for both the BJP and Modi.

Modi's economic agenda may be stalled after a smaller-than-expected mandate in the Indian elections

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said, speaking while results were still trickling in on Tuesday He said the election result It was a victory for the people of India and democracy.

“This was a fight to save the constitution,” he said during a press conference in New Delhi, adding that it sent a strong message to Modi that “people did not like the way the country was governed.”

Roche said the election result was “good news” for Indian democracy overall.

“You want India to be a real democracy – not something we dream up on populist grounds, which will ultimately hurt economic performance further.”

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