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Sunday, June 23, 2024

Modi Claims Victory for His Alliance in Indian General Election

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Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi claimed victory for his alliance on Tuesday in India’s general election, despite a lackluster performance from his own party as it faced a stronger than expected challenge from the opposition, which pushed back against his mixed economic record and polarizing politics.

Modi told a crowd at his party’s headquarters that his National Democratic Alliance will form the government for the third consecutive time, saying Indian voters had “shown immense faith” both in his party and the coalition alliance.

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

Still, for the first time since Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party swept to power in 2014, it appeared unlikely it would secure a majority on its own, and the prime minister would instead need the support of the other parties in his coalition for his third five-year term in the world’s largest democratic exercise.

That would be a stunning blow for the 73-year-old, who had hoped for a landslide victory. Despite the setback, many of the Hindu nationalist policies he’s instituted over the last 10 year remain locked in place.

In the face of surprising numbers, the opposition claimed they had also won a victory of sorts, with the main opposition Congress party saying the election had been a “moral and political loss” for Modi.

The counting of more than 640 million votes cast over six weeks was expected to last into the night.

Some 12 hours into counting, partial tallies reported by India’s Election Commission showed Modi’s BJP was ahead in 114 constituencies and had won 126 of 543 parliamentary seats. The Congress party led in 45 constituencies and had won 54.

A total of 272 seats are needed for a majority. In 2019, the BJP won 303 seats, while they secured 282 in 2014 when Modi first came to power.

The BJP-led National Democratic Alliance led in 147 constituencies and won 139, according to the partial count. The Congress party is part of the INDIA alliance, which led in 131 constituencies and had won 99.

The Election Commission does not release data on the percentage of votes tallied.

Exit polling from the weekend had projected the NDA to win more than 350 seats. Indian markets, which had hit an all-time high on Monday, closed sharply down Tuesday, with benchmark stock indices — the NIFTY 50 and the BSE Sensex — both down by more than 5%. (AP)

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