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India’s election results: 5 surprising insights


Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi greets supporters during a roadshow in Varanasi during the Indian elections in May. Credit – Rajesh Kumar – AP Photo

aAfter six long weeks of voting in the grueling heat, elections in India produced stunning results.

With all those 640 million to vote Now counting, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is poised to preside over a rare, third consecutive term in power – making him only the second Indian Prime Minister to do so, after Congress leader Jawaharlal Nehru in 1962. With all his allies, Modi’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has also managed to win a majority of 283 seats in the Lok Sabha, the 543-seat lower house of the Indian Parliament. Under the Indian electoral system, the party or alliance that wins more than 272 seats can form a government.

Still, the results have shocked most pollsters and Modi supporters — and even the country. That’s because the BJP won just 240 seats this election, effectively losing the one-party majority that Modi has enjoyed since he was first elected in 2014.

“Modi will need to act in a more consultative, deliberate and inclusive manner,” said Milan Vaishnav, director of the South Asia Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. “This is anathema to the prime minister who, going back to his days as chief minister of Gujarat, has never really had to worry about coalition politics.”

As the elections draw to a close, this has brought with it a series of waves that will reshape India’s political landscape over the next five years and beyond. But ask any Indian about the election results and they will tell you that the country’s democracy is so vibrant that it never fails to surprise. “No one knows anything about India. This is one thing you need to know about India,” one observer even said Posted on X.

Here are some of the most surprising takeaways from the 2024 Indian elections.

Modi’s ‘400 pairs’ promise is being broken

In these elections, Modi and the BJP had an ambitious slogan: ‘Ab ki baar, 400 pairs.’ That meant the ruling party wanted to win more than 400 seats with its NDA alliance – which ultimately backfired as the BJP couldn’t even win a simple majority on its own, which is in stark contrast to the BJP’s landslide victory in 2019 when she won a large majority. The result also means an unprecedented electoral surplus for Modi, who fell far behind in his 23 years in politics as chief minister of Gujarat state from 2002 and then as prime minister of India from 2014, despite having a majority. emerging as the central face of the BJP campaign (in the BJP’s 48-page manifesto, Modi’s name appears 67 times.)

BJP loses stronghold in Uttar Pradesh

Uttar Pradesh, India’s most populous state, has a significant influence on Indian elections with 80 parliamentary seats. In 2014 and 2019, the BJP won 71 and 62 seats respectively, which helped the party come to power in Delhi. But 2024 looks very different. The BJP won only 33 seats, while its allies secured three seats. Most notably, it lost in the Faizabad constituency, where Modi ushered in the elections Ram Temple in Ayodhya seen earlier this year as a centerpiece of the BJP campaign.

BJP wins seat in Kerala for the first time

The southern state Kerala was long seen as a bastion of the Left, but the BJP finally made waves after Suresh Gopi won by a margin of 74,686 votes in the Thrissur constituency and became the BJP’s first Lok Sabha MP from Kerala. Experts say this could reflect Islamophobic elements among Christian communities in Kerala, where Hindus make up 55% of the state’s population, while Muslims and Christians make up 27% and 18% respectively.

Women voters prefer Modi

Indian women, who have become a formidable force in the Indian voter turnout because of political knowledge, literacy and media attention. Traditionally, women voters have been more likely to vote for the Congress, but in the last few elections, they have shifted their votes to the BJP. A pre-poll survey predicted that 46% of India’s 472 million women voters would choose the BJP-led alliance in the elections. The reason: Modi’s welfare programs, which focused on women’s well-being, including cash handouts and household benefits such as free cooking gas, piped water and sanitation.

A Sikh separatist and leader of Kashmir is elected from prison

Amritpal Singh, a 31-year-old Sikh separatist leader who was arrested last year after a months-long police manhunt in Punjab state, was elected MP after beating 26 other candidates. Singh rose to prominence and called for a separate Sikh homeland known as Khalistan. Sheikh Abdul Rashid, another jailed leader from Indian-administered Kashmir in the disputed Himalayan region, won a seat by more than 200,000 votes. The former state lawmaker was arrested by the Modi government in 2019 on charges of ‘terror financing’ and money laundering.

Write to Astha Rajvanshi op

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