Modi set for historic 3rd term as election results pour in; Opposition makes gains



Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi gestures as he arrives at Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) headquarters in New Delhi, India, June 4, 2024. REUTERS/Adnan Abidi

(Reuters) Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi was set for a historic third term on Tuesday, as the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its allies in the NDA, were on the way to securing the majority.

The man who as a boy sold tea in his home state of Gujarat has dominated India’s politics for the last decade, throughout the campaign in scorching heat, it was Modi with his thinning white hair, a neatly trimmed white beard and immaculate Indian attire who towered over everyone else.

His giant cutouts were everywhere, his face on television screens every day as he courted India’s 968 million voters with a personal “Modi guarantee” to change their lives.

Modi will be only the second leader to win a third term after founding prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru and has promised a transformative next five years.

Under him, India has become the world’s fastest growing major economy and he has said he wants to make it the world’s third largest in three years, behind the United States and China.

“What we have done in the last 10 years is only a preview, a trailer,” Modi told a recent rally. “We have a lot more to do. Modi is taking the country to a different level in the world.”

The BJP has dismissed opposition speculation that Modi, 73, might hang up his boots once he reaches 75, like some other party leaders have done in recent years. Modi has said he wants to lay the groundwork for India to become a fully developed nation by 2047, the 100th year of independence from British colonial rule.

Election officials carry electronic voting machines (EVM) to count the votes, inside a counting centre in New Delhi, India, June 4, 2024. REUTERS/Anushree Fadnavis

“Modi will now probably enter in what I call the legacy phase of his prime ministership, driving India forward politically, economically, diplomatically and even militarily,” said Bilveer Singh, deputy head, department of political science, at the National University of Singapore.

The idea would be to make the country a “strong regional power that is also a counterbalance to China, but not to serve Western interest as is sometimes alleged, but mainly to promote India’s interest, power and place in international politics”.

With the opposition alliance – I.N.D.I.A – gaining ground, the BJP will be working with a  reduced mandate which forecloses the possibility of changes to India’s secular constitution that opposition groups had warned against. Any such measures require the support of two-thirds of members of parliament.

(Twitter) Modi posted a victory message on X @narendramodi, saying, “People have placed their faith in NDA, for a third consecutive time! This is a historical feat in India’s history. I bow to the Janata Janardan for this affection and assure them that we will continue the good work done in the last decade to keep fulfilling the aspirations of people. I also salute all our Karyakartas for their hard work. Words will never do justice to their exceptional efforts.

(Reuters) In his first comments since counting of votes began, Modi told cheering BJP members at party headquarters in New Delhi, “The blessings of the people for the third time after 10 years boosts our morale, gives new strength.”

“Our opponents, despite being united, could not even win as many seats as BJP won.”

Promising to work harder and take “big decisions”, Modi listed electronics, semiconductors and defense manufacturing, renewables and the farm sectors as areas of special focus in his third term, without elaborating.

(ANI) Modi won his seat in the Varanasi constituency in Uttar Pradesh, defeating Congress candidate Ajay Rai by a margin of 1,52,513 votes, according to the Election Commission of India.
Prime Minister Modi received 6,12,970 votes while Ajay Rai received 4,60,457 votes. Bahujan Samaj Party candidate Ather Jamal Lari was in the third position with 33,766 votes.

BJP president JP Nadda said on Tuesday, “After the formation of the NDA, it’s for the first time in the history of Indian politics that an alliance will form a government for the third time in a row. We are fortunate to witness the moment when Modi ji will become Prime Minister for the third time,” Nadda said while addressing the BJP workers at the party headquarters in Delhi on Tuesday.

“We all know that be it elections or leading the nation, PM Modi has always led the country, party, and the people from the front. I congratulate him,” Nadda added.

Recalling the victory of the NDA in the 2014 and 2019 general elections, the BJP chief said, “We know that the country took a new turn in politics and scripted history after 2014. Under the leadership of PM Modi, a strong government was formed after 2014. This strong government was again blessed by the people in 2019. PM Modi’s policies have been blessed once again in 2024 and we are witnessing this historic day.”

Nadda also hit out at the opposition coalition, the INDIA bloc asking them to do self-introspection, and said, “This opportunist alliance (INDIA alliance) has been rejected for the third time.”
“In West Bengal, we moved up to 77 seats from 3. For the first time, the BJP is going to form the government in Odisha. Some people who win 30-40 seats forget how the country is standing with Modi ji, instead start celebrating,” Nadda said.

“In Odisha, we won 80 seats and our vote share is 40 per cent. Similarly, people voted in favor of the NDA and BJP in the Lok Sabha elections. In Andhra Pradesh, our allies will form the government. In Kerala, the BJP opened its account,” he pointed out.

The Opposition

Rahul Gandhi, a senior leader of India’s main opposition Congress party, and his sister and a party leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra arrive at the party headquarters in New Delhi, India, June 4, 2024. REUTERS/Priyanshu Singh

(Reuters) The BJP’s numbers were likely pulled down by the party’s showing in the country’s most populous state, Uttar Pradesh, which sends 80 lawmakers to parliament.

The party was leading in 33 seats in the state, down from the 62 it won there in 2019, with analysts saying bread-and-butter issues had overshadowed the BJP’s appeal to the Hindu majority.

A grand temple to Hindu god-king Lord Ram that Modi inaugurated in January did not boost the BJP’s fortunes as it was expected to, they said.

The opposition INDIA alliance led by Rahul Gandhi’s centrist Congress party was leading in over 230 seats, more than forecast. Congress alone was leading in nearly 100 seats, almost double the 52 it won in 2019 – a surprise jump that is expected to boost Gandhi’s standing.

Unlike the last two elections, the BJP will need its alliance partners to cross the 272 majority mark in the 543-seat lower house of parliament, according to the running vote count on Tuesday.

Modi had set a target of more than 400 seats for his National Democratic Alliance (NDA), but it is currently leading in only about 290, according to Election Commission data about three-quarters of the way through the count. The BJP itself was leading in 239 seats, compared with 303 at the last election in 2019.

Final results are expected to come later on Tuesday or early Wednesday.



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