Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party loses majority in Indian election shock, needs allies for government | Indian elections 2024 news

New Delhi, India – The Bharatiya Janata Party, led by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has lost its national majority after suffering significant losses in key states, representing a radical shift in the political landscape it has dominated for the past decade.

The Bharatiya Janata Party has comfortably emerged as the country’s largest party in the Lok Sabha, the lower house of India’s parliament. But with Indian electoral authorities counting 640 million votes in a single day on Tuesday, after a six-week election, the BJP’s performance was far below its performance in 2014 and 2019.

Unlike these two elections, when the BJP won a clear majority in the 543-seat assembly, it ended up getting 240 seats this time. The halfway mark is 272 seats.

In contrast, the opposition India Alliance, led by the Congress Party, won about 223 seats, a number much higher than what opinion polls expected. Released on June 1 after the final stretch of India’s election cycle, the exit polls indicated that the BJP would surpass its 2019 tally of 303 seats.

It is still likely that Modi and his party will be able to form India’s next government – ​​but he will depend on a group of allies whose support he will need to cross the 272-seat mark. The Bharatiya Janata Party and its allies, in a coalition known as the National Democratic Alliance, won 283 seats.

“India is likely to have an NDA government, where the BJP does not have a majority on its own, and coalition politics will come into real effect,” said Sandeep Shastri, national coordinator of the Loknity Network, a research program in New Delhi. Center for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS).

On Tuesday evening, Modi, in his first statements after the results were announced, announced the victory of the NDA coalition. “We will form the next government,” he said, speaking to thousands of his supporters who gathered at the Bharatiya Janata Party headquarters in New Delhi.

However, analysts said the electoral ruling has raised questions about the BJP’s strategy. As India’s long election campaign drags on, Modi, India’s charismatic and polarizing prime minister, has increasingly turned to fearmongering about an alleged plot by the opposition to hand over the country’s resources to Muslims, at the expense of the Hindu majority.

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Meanwhile, the opposition has tried to corner Modi over his government’s economic record. While the country is the world’s fastest-growing major economy, voters told pollsters before the election that high inflation and unemployment were a major concern for them.

The BJP’s campaign slogan, “Cry Bar, 400 Bar” (this time, more than 400), has set a target of 400 seats for its alliance, and 370 seats for the BJP itself.

Nilanjan Mukhopadhyay, Modi’s biographer, said it carried “a tone of overconfidence”, at a time when many in the Indian public were dealing with the reality of rising prices, unemployment and income inequality so widespread that it is now worse than it was. In the previous. British colonial rule.

The result was the BJP “sleepwalking towards disaster,” said Asim Ali, a political analyst and columnist.

“Today, Modi has lost face. He is not that unbeatable person, his invincible aura is no longer there,” Ali said.

Forming the next government

In some ways, the electoral ruling bears echoes of 2004, when another BJP government headed by then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee was widely expected to win in a landslide by exit polls.

Instead, the Congress marginally edged out the BJP in victories and formed the government with its allies.

But 2024 is not 2004. Despite the setbacks, the BJP remains, by far, the largest party in Parliament, and is in a position to form the next government alongside its allies in the NDA. The Congress, the largest opposition party, won 99 seats, less than half the number the BJP is expected to get when all votes are counted.

It is a point Modi emphasized in his public address on Tuesday evening.

“All our opponents, combined, did not win as many seats as the BJP alone,” he said, amid loud chants of “Modi, Modi” from his supporters.

However, two regional parties will now hold the key to the office of Indian Prime Minister: the Janata Dal United, led by Nitish Kumar in Bihar, and the Telugu Desam Party, led by Chandrababu Naidu in the south Indian state. Andhra Pradesh.

The TDP won 16 seats and the JD(U) 12 seats. Both parties were also previously allied with the Congress.

Although the BJP made notable inroads in southern India – especially in Kerala, where it won its first-ever Lok Sabha seat – its overall numbers suffered significant losses in the Hindi-speaking central states, which it easily won in the last election. .

In Uttar Pradesh, the largest state in India and a major factor in determining who governs at the national level, the Hindu nationalist party lost in the parliamentary district of Faizabad, home of the controversial Ram Temple, which was built on the ruins of the 16th-century Babri Mosque. . Modi had dedicated the temple in January.

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The dedication of the Ram Temple has been at the forefront of the BJP’s campaign to mobilize Hindu voters. The party also lost the key seat of Amethi, where Federal Minister Smriti Irani is eyeing a defeat. Irani won a stunning victory over Rahul Gandhi, a scion of the Gandhi family, by 55,000 votes in 2019.

This year, Gandhi contested from the neighboring Rae Bareli constituency and won the seat by a margin more than twice as large as Modi won his seat, Varanasi, also in Uttar Pradesh.

Overall, the BJP won just 33 of the 80 seats in Uttar Pradesh, a significant drop from the 62 seats it won in 2019 and its tally of 71 seats in 2014. The regional Samajwadi Party, part of the opposition All India Alliance, won , won 37 seats, while the BJP won only 33 of the 80 seats in Uttar Pradesh. Congress won six more.

The BJP also suffered losses in Maharashtra, the second most politically dangerous state in India. With most of the votes counted, the All India Alliance won 30 of the state’s 48 seats. Only Uttar Pradesh has more seats – 80. In 2019, the BJP alone won 23 seats in Maharashtra, while its allies won 18 more.

Besides Maharashtra, three other states that were the epicenter of India’s farm crisis, with major farm protests, saw losses for the BJP compared to 2019: Haryana, Rajasthan and Punjab. The Bharatiya Janata Party rules the states of Haryana and Rajasthan.

Congress celebrations

As soon as the initial trends emerged on Tuesday morning, Congress supporters thronged the party headquarters in New Delhi. Supporters were seen wearing white T-shirts with pictures of Rahul Gandhi on the back, while waving party flags, their eyes glued to the giant screens broadcasting the results live.

“Now, at least the Indian people will have a voice to raise against the cruel BJP, which has ruled us for the past 10 years. More seats means we have a good say and a strong opposition,” said Suresh Verma, a Congress supporter.

The changing composition of India’s next parliament may also affect how laws are passed. Critics accused the BJP government of passing the laws through Parliament without discussion or discussion.

Shastri said it will not be easy anymore. “It will be a much tougher journey in Parliament for the BJP.”

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Beyond Parliament, analysts say a weak mandate could affect the functioning of India’s other democratic institutions, which critics have accused the BJP of appropriating to partisan politics.

“Under a brute majority, India’s institutions collapsed under the BJP. The system of power was highly centralized at the top, and India needs this kind of coalition-based government for its democracy to survive,” Ali said.

What’s next for the BJP?

Once the immediate dust settles on these results, the BJP will look back, and the dominant duo of Modi and Amit Shah, India’s home minister who is widely seen as a deputy prime minister, will face more difficult questions.

“There will be questions about Modi’s perception as the leader of the alliance, as he will have to listen to leaders outside the BJP much more,” CSDS’s Shastri said.

Ali, the political analyst, also noted that “the BJP has failed to read reality,” and it is possible that the group of supporters around Modi shocked his party. “It is as if the king was only told the stories he wanted to hear,” he said.

“It is really important for the BJP that there is a feedback mechanism and decentralization of power.”

Over the past decade under a Bharatiya Janata Party majority government, India has fallen on many democratic indicators amid accusations of suppression of dissent, political opposition and the media. Modi did not address any press conferences during the past decade as Prime Minister.

With coalition partners keeping tabs on the BJP, “there will be an outlet for Indian civil society and critics of the government,” said Mukhopadhyay, the biographer.

For many Indian Muslims, the result comes as a relief.

Watching the results from his shack in northeast New Delhi, Akbar Khan, a 33-year-old waste collector, said he was delighted. While the BJP is currently leading in all Delhi seats, Khan said, “People took to the streets and fought these elections against the BJP.” [incumbent] Government”.

“The economically backward castes and classes are very upset with Modi, and his divisive policies have not borne any fruit in their kitchen,” said Khan, who also works with waste picker communities in states like Bihar and Jharkhand.

Khan said that as a Muslim, he was disturbed by Modi’s anti-Islamic statements during his re-election campaign, in which he equated the community with “infiltrators” and described them as people who “have more children.”

“Indians should have voted against this hatred by Modi and the BJP,” he said.

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