Modi needs allies after India election shock

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But with most votes counted after India’s six-week-long election on Tuesday, the BJP was well short of its performances from 2014 and 2019.
By contrast, the opposition INDIA alliance, led by the Congress party, was projected to win more than 200 seats, significantly higher than exit polls had predicted.
Released on June 1 after the final phase of India’s election cycle, the exit polls had suggested that the BJP would outdo its 2019 tally of 303 seats.
The BJP with its allies, in a coalition known as the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), was projected to win around 282 seats.
Both the parties have also previously been in alliance with the Congress party.
Overall, the BJP won just 33 seats out of Uttar Pradesh’s 80, a significant drop from the 62 it won in 2019 and its tally of 71 from 2014.
The regional Samajwadi Party, a part of the opposition INDIA alliance, won 37 seats, while the Congress won six others.
In 2019, the BJP alone had won 23 seats in Maharashtra, with its allies winning another 18.

NEGATIVE

New Delhi, India — After suffering significant setbacks in several states, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) lost its national majority, signaling a significant change in the political environment that it had dominated for the previous ten years.

In the Lok Sabha, India’s lower house of parliament, the BJP easily became the nation’s single-largest party. But the BJP fell well short of its results from 2014 and 2019, with the majority of votes counted following India’s six-week election on Tuesday.

This time, however, the BJP was expected to secure 240 seats, as opposed to the two previous elections in which it achieved decisive majorities in a house of 543 seats on its own. There are 272 seats at the halfway point.

The Congress-led opposition INDIA alliance, on the other hand, was expected to win over 200 seats, a number that was considerably higher than exit polls had indicated. The exit polls, which were released on June 1 following the last round of the Indian election cycle, predicted that the BJP would surpass its 2019 total of 303 seats.

Though they will need the backing of a number of allies in order to surpass the 272-seat threshold, Modi and his party are still likely to be able to form the next government in India. It was anticipated that the BJP and its supporters, together forming the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), would secure approximately 282 seats.

“Whereas the BJP does not have a majority on its own, India will probably have an NDA government, and coalition politics will come into real play,” stated Sandeep Shastri, national coordinator of the Lokniti Network research program at the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS) in New Delhi.

In his initial remarks following the results announcement on Tuesday night, Modi declared that his NDA coalition had won. Speaking to a crowd of thousands of supporters at the BJP’s New Delhi headquarters, he declared, “We will form the next government.”.

However, commentators stated that the election result made the BJP’s approach uncertain. The captivating and divisive prime minister of India, Narendra Modi, had resorted to scare tactics during the protracted election campaign, accusing the opposition of planning to transfer the country’s resources to Muslims at the expense of the country’s majority Hindu population. Although the nation has the fastest-growing major economy in the world, the opposition had attempted to use this fact to attack Modi’s government’s economic record. Prior to the election, pollsters had heard from voters that their top concerns were high unemployment and inflation.

The BJP targeted 400 seats for its alliance and 370 seats for the party itself in its campaign slogan, “Abki baar, 400 paar (This time, more than 400)”.

When many members of the Indian public were coping with the lived realities of skyrocketing prices, unemployment, and income inequality so severe that it is now worse than it was during British colonial rule, Nilanjan Mukhopadhyay, a biographer for Modi, observed that the pitch had a “tone of overconfidence.”. Political analyst and columnist Asim Ali claimed that the outcome was the “sleepwalking of the BJP into a disaster.”.

“Modi has lost his face today. “That ‘undefeated person’ has vanished, and his invincible aura has faded,” Ali remarked.

Establishing the Next Government.

The election results are somewhat reminiscent of 2004, when Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee led another BJP government that was widely predicted to win a landslide mandate by exit polls.

Rather, the Congress and its allies formed the government after the Congress narrowly defeated the BJP in elections.

However, 2024 is not 2004. The BJP remains, by far, the largest party in parliament and is in a position to form the next government with its allies in the NDA, notwithstanding the setbacks. The biggest opposition party, the Congress, is predicted to win roughly 100 seats, which is less than half of the total number of seats the BJP is predicted to receive after all votes are counted.

Nonetheless, Nitish Kumar’s Janata Dal-United in the state of Bihar and Chandrababu Naidu’s Telugu Desam Party in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh will now control the key to the prime ministership in India. TDP secured 16 seats, while JD(U) secured 12. Also in the past, both parties have allied themselves with the Congress party.

Although the BJP has gained ground in southern India, particularly in Kerala, where it secured its first Lok Sabha seat, significant losses in the Hindi-speaking central states, which it had previously won handily, have negatively impacted the party’s overall polling numbers.

India’s largest state, Uttar Pradesh, which plays a major role in determining national politics, saw the Hindu-nationalist party lose in the Faizabad parliamentary district. This district is home to the contentious Ram Temple, which was constructed on the site of the 16th-century Babri Masjid. In January, Modi had dedicated the temple.

The focal point of the BJP’s drive to elect more Hindu lawmakers was the consecration of the Ram Temple, which Modi oversaw. Additionally, the party lost Amethi, a crucial seat where federal minister Smriti Irani faces certain defeat. Irani won a stunning victory in 2019 by 55,000 votes over Rahul Gandhi, the Gandhi family’s scion. Gandhi ran this year in the nearby Rae Bareli seat and won with a margin more than twice as large as Modi’s victory in Varanasi, another Uttar Pradesh seat.

Out of Uttar Pradesh’s 80 seats, the BJP only managed to win 33 overall. This represents a sharp decline from the 62 seats it won in 2019 and the 71 seats it won in 2014. Of the opposition INDIA alliance’s 37 seats, the Congress won six, and the Samajwadi Party, a local party, took home 37.

Maharashtra, the second most politically crucial state in India, was another place where the BJP lost. The INDIA alliance had the advantage in 30 of the 48 seats in the state after the majority of votes were counted. With 80 seats, only Uttar Pradesh has more. Nineteen seats were won by the BJP and its allies in Maharashtra in 2019.

In addition to Maharashtra, the BJP suffered defeats in Haryana, Rajasthan, and Punjab—three other states that have served as the epicenters of India’s agrarian crisis and have seen significant farm protests—compared to 2019. Rajasthan and Haryana are ruled by the BJP.

festivities during Congress.

Congressmen flocked to the party headquarters in New Delhi as soon as the first signs of the trends appeared on Tuesday morning. As they waved party flags and kept their eyes fixed on enormous screens showing the live results, supporters were spotted wearing white T-shirts with pictures of Rahul Gandhi on the back.

“Within the last ten years of the BJP’s cruel rule, Indians will now, at least, have a voice to raise against them.”. A Congress supporter named Suresh Verma stated, “More seats mean we have a good say and a strong opposition.”.

The way laws are enacted may also be impacted by the altered makeup of India’s next parliament. Laws pushed through parliament without debate or discussion have been attributed by critics to the BJP government.

Shastri stated that it won’t be simple going forward. “It is evident that the BJP will face a more difficult journey in the parliament,” he stated.

A weaker mandate, according to analysts, might have an effect on how India’s other democratic institutions—which the BJP is accused of using for partisan politics—function beyond the parliament.

Under the BJP, India’s institutions have crumbled under a brute majority. India needs these coalition-based governments to maintain its democracy because the country’s power structure was highly centralized at the top, according to Ali.

What does the BJP do next?

Amit Shah, India’s home minister and widely regarded as the prime minister’s deputy, will come under increased scrutiny as the BJP retreats and the immediate aftermath of these results passes. As the leader of the alliance, Modi would need to pay much more attention to non-BJP leaders, so there will be questions about how to picture him, according to CSDS spokesperson Shastri.

The political analyst Ali added that “the BJP failed to read the ground” and that Modi’s entourage of yes men may have taken his party by surprise. He remarked, “It seems like the king was only told the stories that he wanted to hear.”. “The decentralization of power and the existence of a feedback mechanism are crucial to the BJP.”. “.

As a result of allegations of a crackdown on dissent, political opposition, and the media, India has declined on several democratic indices during the past ten years under a majority BJP government led by Modi. In his ten years as prime minister, Modi has not spoken at any press conferences.

“There will be breathing space for the Indian civil society and the government’s critics,” the biographer Mukhopadhyay predicted, adding that coalition partners would be able to hold the BJP accountable.

The conclusion also brings relief to a lot of Indian Muslims.

Waste picker Akbar Khan, 33, expressed his happiness while viewing the outcomes from his shanties in northeastern New Delhi. Khan stated that “the people came out on streets and have fought this election against the [incumbent] government,” despite the fact that the BJP is currently leading all of Delhi’s seats.

The economically disadvantaged castes and classes are extremely displeased with Modi, and his divisive politics have not produced any results in their kitchen, according to Khan, who also works with waste picker communities in states like Bihar and Jharkhand. “.

Khan stated that as a Muslim, he was offended by Modi’s anti-Muslim comments made during the reelection campaign, in which he compared the community to “infiltrators” and called them “people who have more children.”.

He declared, “Voters in India had to reject this hatred coming from Modi and the BJP.”.

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