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Updated Jun 4, 2024, 12:04pm EDT
politicsSouth Asia
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Semafor Signals

India’s Modi declares victory in elections but his party is set to lose majority

Insights from The Economic Times, Al Jazeera, The Hindu, and The Times of India

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A man stands in front of a poster featuring India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) election candidate K. Annamalai, outside its party office in Chennai, India, June 4, 2024. REUTERS/Riya Mariyam R
Riya Mariyam R/Reuters
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Prime Minister Narendra Modi has declared victory in the country’s election — but his Bharatiya Janata Party has so far failed to secure a majority and won far fewer seats than expected, meaning the party will likely have to rely on its National Democratic Alliance to form a government.

“People have placed their faith in NDA, for a third consecutive time! This is a historical feat in India’s history,” Modi said Tuesday.

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The outcome is a surprise after widespread predictions of a BJP landslide.

The opposition INDIA (Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance) bloc has outperformed expectations, gaining seats in Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, and Rajasthan, key battleground states.

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SIGNALS

Semafor Signals: Global insights on today's biggest stories.

BJP’s ‘polarising’ campaign saw voters turn away

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Source:  
The Economic Times

The BJP ran a “highly aggressive, polarising campaign that touched new lows,” said an analysis in the Economic Times, a move that “appear[s] to have worked against the saffron party.” Modi was accused of hate speech targeting India’s minority Muslim population while canvassing for votes and “made several unsavory remarks against the Opposition,” a tactic the ET argued was a primary reason for the BJP’s poor performance. High levels of unemployment and soaring inflation also played a role, it said, noting that the government’s “Agniveer scheme” — which aims to recruit youth to India’s armed forces — led to falling votes for the BJP in states that typically see high military enlistment. The INDIA bloc, meanwhile, “gained through its positive campaign” and promises to create jobs and boost welfare protections.

Centering Modi in campaign ‘backfired’

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Source:  
Al Jazeera

The BJP’s campaign centered on Modi and his perceived popularity among the public. That decision appears to have “backfired,” one political analyst told Al Jazeera. While the BJP will be able to hold onto power through its National Democratic Alliance, they will now have to rely on coalition partners to govern, a situation that Modi’s government has not previously faced. “This is a setback,” Gilles Verniers told the outlet. The options are “to be more conciliatory and share power, or to double down on authoritarianism, which is the path they have taken over the past few years.”

Opposition candidates question exit poll veracity

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Sources:  
The Hindu, The Times of India

The NDA has secured far fewer seats than the vast sweep projected by exit polls on Monday — prompting some opposition party leaders to question the validity of their findings. Samajwadi Party President Akhilesh Yadav told reporters that internal polling carried out by his party showed the INDIA coalition gaining significant seats in Uttar Pradesh, a state that has seen a notable shift away from the NDA. Meanwhile, the Communist Party of India (Marxist) has queried whether the polls were deliberately manipulated: The “exit poll was done to influence the share market and those who wanted to make money in the share market yesterday made money,” said party general secretary Sitaram Yechury.

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