India election results 2024: Modi’s BJP leads, but opposition intervenes

NEW DELHI (AP) — Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday claimed victory for his coalition in India’s general election, despite his own party’s lackluster performance and facing a stronger-than-expected challenge from the opposition, which pushed back against his mixed economic record. and polar politics.

Modi told a meeting at his party’s headquarters that the NDA will form the government for the third consecutive term.

More than 50 countries will go to the polls in 2024

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

However, for the first time since Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party came to power in 2014, it looks unlikely to secure a majority on its own, and the prime minister will need support from the other parties in his third five-member coalition. Year period World’s largest democratic exercise.

It would be a shocking blow to the 73-year-old, who was hoping for a big win. Despite the backlash, many of the Hindu nationalist policies he instituted over the past 10 years remain locked in place.

Modi promised to deliver on his election promise to transform India’s economy from the current fifth place to the third largest economy in the world.

He said he would improve India’s defense manufacturing, increase youth employment, boost exports and help farmers.

“This country will witness a new chapter of great decisions. This is Modi’s guarantee,” he said in the third person.

In a surprising number, opposition parties claimed they too had won a victory of sorts, with the main opposition Congress party calling the election a “moral and political loss” for Modi.

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

Modi has transformed India’s political landscape in his 10-year rule Hindu NationalismOnce a fringe ideology In Indiainto the mainstream while leaving the deeply divided country.

Congress party supporters cheer as they follow the counting of votes at their party headquarters in New Delhi, India, Tuesday, June 4, 2024. (AP Photo/Altaf Qadri)

His supporters see him as a strong leader who created a self and improved India’s position in the world. His critics and detractors say Hindu to politics It has fostered intolerance, while the world’s fifth-largest and fastest-growing economy has become more unequal.

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More than 640 million votes cast in six weeks were expected to last into the night.

Some 12 hours to count, partial counts announced by the Election Commission of India show Modi’s BJP leading in 114 constituencies and winning 126 of the 543 parliamentary constituencies. Congress party won 54 constituencies by leading in 45 constituencies.

A total of 272 seats is required for majority. In 2019, the BJP won 303 seats, compared to 282 in 2014, when Modi first came to power.

The BJP-led National Democratic Alliance won 139 constituencies by leading in 147 constituencies. Congress party is a part of it Indian AllianceLeading in 131 constituencies and won in 99 constituencies.

The Election Commission has not disclosed the details of how many votes were cast.

Exit polls over the weekend had predicted the NDA to win over 350 seats. After hitting all-time highs on Monday, Indian markets fell sharply on Tuesday, with key stock indices NIFTY 50 and BSE Sensex – both down more than 5%.

For Payal, who lives in the northern city of Lucknow, who uses only one name, the election is about the economy and how much of India’s population lives in poverty.

“People are suffering, there are no jobs, people are forced to sell tea by their children on the roadside,” Payal said. “This is a big deal for us. If we don’t get up now, when will we get up?”

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

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But if his BJP is forced to form a coalition, the party will be “heavily dependent on the goodwill of its allies, which makes them important players who we can expect to flesh out in policymaking and government formation,” said Milan Vaishnav, director of the South Asia Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

“This will truly be uncharted territory for Indians and the Prime Minister,” he added.

Before Modi came to power, India had a coalition government for 30 years. His BJP has always had a single majority despite ruling in coalition.

High heat attacked India As the voters went to the polling station. Although temperatures were slightly cooler on Tuesday, election officials and political parties still hauled large quantities of water and installed outdoor air coolers for people awaiting results.

Outside the BJP headquarters in New Delhi, supporters rang drums and bells as the counting of votes took place. Earlier the party performed Hindu rituals.

Meanwhile, supporters turned up at the Congress party headquarters in high spirits and chanted slogans in praise of Rahul Gandhi, the face of the party’s campaign.

Addressing a press conference with party chief Kharge, Gandhi said he sees these figures as a message from the people.

“The poor of this country have defended the Constitution of India,” he said.

After more than 10 years in power, Modi’s influence has outstripped that of his party and made a parliamentary election increasingly similar. Presidential style campaign. As local politicians recede into the background even in state elections, the BJP is increasingly relying on Modi’s enduring brand to stay in power.

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“Modi is not just the prime campaigner, but the only campaigner of this election,” said public policy scholar Yamini Iyer.

The country’s democracy, Modi’s critics say, is faltering under his government, which has increasingly used strong-arm tactics to suppress political opponents, suppress free media and crack down on dissent. The government rejects such allegations and says democracy is flourishing.

And economic discontent has run rampant under Modi’s regime. As stock markets hit record highs and millionaires abound, youth unemployment soars Only a small fraction of Indians Benefiting from boom.

As polling began in mid-April, the initially optimistic BJP Focused the campaign “Modi’s assurances” highlight the economic and welfare achievements his party claims have reduced poverty. Under his leadership, “India will become a developed country by 2047,” Modi repeated at rally after rally.

But as Modi ramped up his targeting and polarizing rhetoric, the campaign became increasingly heated. Muslims constitute 14% of the population. A ploy to galvanize his core Hindu majority electorate.

The opposition Indian Alliance has attacked Modi for his Hindu nationalist politics, campaigning on unemployment, inflation and inequality.

But the broad coalition of more than a dozen political parties is beset by ideological differences and defections, raising questions over their effectiveness. Meanwhile, the coalition also said they were Unfairly targeted, they say raids, arrests and corruption investigations against their leaders by federal agencies are politically motivated. The government has denied this.

In the financial capital of Mumbai, Mangesh Mahadeshwar was among the many who were surprised by how the election was going.

“Yesterday we thought the BJP would get more than 400 seats,” said the 52-year-old, watching the results at the restaurant where he works. “Today it seems that will not happen – people are not supporting the BJP this time.”

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

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