Modi's Pyrrhic Victory: India's Voters Grant Power, Withhold Praise

Modi's Pyrrhic Victory: India's Voters Grant Power, Withhold Praise
Image: BJP X

India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi has declared victory for his National Democratic Alliance (NDA) in India's general election, securing a third consecutive term in office. Despite his claim of a mandate to advance his agenda, the results reveal a more complex political landscape, with Modi's Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) facing stronger opposition than anticipated.

According to official results from India's Election Commission, the NDA won 294 seats, surpassing the 272 seats needed for a majority. However, this falls short of Modi's ambitious campaign prediction of 400 seats. More strikingly, the BJP itself won only 240 seats, a significant drop from its record 303 seats in the 2019 election. For the first time since 2014, the BJP did not secure a majority on its own, forcing Modi to rely on key allies like the Telugu Desam Party and Janata Dal (United).

This setback has punctured Modi's image of invincibility. During his campaign, he boldly projected that his party would win 370 seats, with allies adding another 30. Now, he must navigate a coalition dynamic, potentially giving smaller parties more influence in policy-making and government formation.

The opposition INDIA coalition, led by the Congress party, made significant gains, winning a total of 232 seats. The Congress party itself improved its tally from 52 in 2019 to 99 seats. Regional parties like Samajwadi Party in Uttar Pradesh and All India Trinamool Congress in West Bengal also made substantial contributions to the opposition's improved performance.

This election, involving over 640 million votes cast over six weeks, has sent a clear message. As the Times of India noted, "Indian voters can't be taken for granted. Voters have clearly indicated that jobs and economic aspirations matter." Despite India's fast-growing economy and record-high stock markets, issues like youth unemployment and inequality have resonated with the electorate.

Modi's campaign initially focused on his economic and welfare achievements, promising to make India a developed nation by 2047. However, as the election progressed, he increasingly employed polarizing rhetoric targeting Muslims, who make up 14% of India's population. This tactic, seen as an effort to energize his Hindu majority base, reflects the controversial Hindu nationalist policies that have marked his ten-year tenure.

While Modi maintains his position as Prime Minister, the election results suggest a changing political landscape. As Pratap Bhanu Mehta wrote in The Indian Express, "Today, he is just another politician, cut to size by the people." The election has shown that while Modi remains a dominant figure, his authority is not absolute, and issues like jobs and economic fairness can sway Indian voters.

Despite the setback, Modi remains committed to his agenda. In his victory speech, he pledged to boost India's defense production, create more jobs for youth, increase exports, and support farmers. He also vowed to continue his Hindu nationalist policies, which have brought this once-fringe ideology into India's mainstream, albeit at the cost of deepening societal divisions.

As Modi begins his third term, only the second Indian leader to do so after Jawaharlal Nehru, he faces a changed political reality. His personal popularity remains high, but his party's grip has loosened. The message from India's electorate is clear: economic performance and inclusive growth matter, and even the most charismatic leaders are accountable to their promises.

Related News

No stories found.
Ph: ++977-1-5172640 | | Publisher : Mellow Arc Media Pvt.Ltd.| Editor: Madhusudan Bajgain| Reg.No: 00102/078-079
Daily News Nepal