Modi claims victory in India's election but drop in support forces him to rely on coalition partners (2024)

Highlights from India’s election results: Catch up on AP’s coverage as results were tallied.

NEW DELHI (AP) — Prime Minister Narendra Modi declared victory for his alliance in India’s general election, claiming a mandate to move forward with his agenda, even though his party lost seats to a stronger than expected opposition, which pushed back against his mixed economic record and polarizing politics.

“Today’s victory is the victory of the world’s largest democracy,” Modi told the crowd at his party’s headquarters Tuesday, saying Indian voters had “shown immense faith” both in his party and his National Democratic Alliance coalition.

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Official results from India’s Election Commission on Wednesday showed the NDA won 294 seats, more than the 272 seats needed to secure a majority but far fewer than had been expected.

For the first time since his Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party swept to power in 2014, it did not secure a majority on its own, winning 240 seats — far fewer than the record 303 it won in the 2019 election.

That means Modi will need the support of other parties in his coalition — a stunning blow for the 73-year-old, who had hoped for a landslide victory. During campaigning, Modi said his party would likely win 370 seats and his allies another 30 seats.


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He now depends on the support of key allies, including the Telugu Desam Party in southern Andhra Pradesh state with 16 seats and Janata Dal (United), which won 12 seats in eastern Bihar state, as well as smaller groups.

Over 50 countries go to the polls in 2024

  • The year will test even the most robust democracies. Read more on what’s to come here.
  • Take a look at the 25 places where a change in leadership could resonate around the world.
  • Keep track of the latest AP elections coverage from around the world here.

“Indian voters can’t be taken for granted,” said the Times of India newspaper in an editorial. “Voters have clearly indicated that jobs and economic aspirations matter. The economic message from the results is that jobs matter.”

The Congress party won 99 seats, improving its tally from 52 in the 2019 elections. Among its key allies, Samajwadi Party won 37 seats in northern Uttar Pradesh state in a major upset for the BJP; All India Trinamool Congress bagged 29 seats in West Bengal state; and the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam 22 seats in southern Tamil Nadu state.

The opposition INDIA coalition won a total of 232 seats.

The BJP may now be “heavily dependent on the goodwill of its allies, which makes them critical players who we can expect will extract their pound of flesh, both in terms of policymaking as well as government formation,” said Milan Vaishnav, director of the South Asia Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

“At the very least, the result pricks the bubble Prime Minister Modi’s authority. He made this election about himself,” said Pratap Bhanu Mehta, a political commentator. “Today, he is just another politician, cut to size by the people,” he said in an article in The Indian Express daily.

Modi claims victory in India's election but drop in support forces him to rely on coalition partners (4)

More than 640 million votes were cast in the marathon election held over a span of six weeks in the world’s largest democratic exercise.

In the face of the surprising drop in the BJP’s support, challengers 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.

“This is public’s victory and a win for democracy,” Congress party President Mallikarjun Kharge told reporters.

Despite the setback, Modi pledged to make good on his election promise to turn India’s economy into the world’s third biggest, from its current fifth place, and not shirk with pushing forward with his agenda.

He said he would advance India’s defense production, boost jobs for youth, raise exports and help farmers, among other things.

“This country will see a new chapter of big decisions. This is Modi’s guarantee,” he said, speaking in the third person.

Many of the Hindu nationalist policies he’s instituted over the last 10 years will also remain locked in place.

Modi’s win was only the second time an Indian leader has retained power for a third term after Jawaharlal Nehru, the country’s first prime minister. Before Modi came to power, India had coalition governments for 30 years.

Congratulations for Modi from leaders of regional countries including neighboring Nepal and Bhutan flowed in, while the White House commended India for its “vibrant democratic process.”

In his 10 years in power, Modi has transformed India’s political landscape, bringing Hindu nationalism, once a fringe ideology in India, into the mainstream while leaving the country deeply divided.

His supporters see him as a self-made, strong leader who has improved India’s standing in the world. His critics and opponents say his Hindu-first politics have bred intolerance while the economy, one of the world’s fastest-growing, has become more unequal.

For Payal, a resident of the northern city of Lucknow who uses only one name, the election was about the economy and India’s vast number of people living in poverty.

“People are suffering, there are no jobs, people are in such a state that their kids are compelled to make and sell tea on the roadside,” Payal said. “This is a big deal for us. If we don’t wake up now, when will we?”

Rahul Gandhi, the main face of the opposition Congress party, said he saw the election numbers as a message from the people.

“The poorest of this country have defended the constitution of India,” he told a news conference.

Modi’s popularity has outstripped that of his party’s during his first two terms in office, and he turned the parliamentary election into one that more resembled a presidential-style campaign, with the BJP relying on the leader’s brand.

“Modi was not just the prime campaigner, but the sole campaigner of this election,” said Yamini Aiyar, a public policy scholar.

Under Modi’s government, critics say India’s democracy has come under increasing strain with strong-arm tactics used to subdue political opponents, squeeze independent media and quash dissent. The government has rejected such accusations and says democracy is flourishing.

Economic discontent has also simmered under Modi. While stock markets have reached record-highs, youth unemployment has soared, with only a small portion of Indians benefitting from the boom.

As polls opened in mid-April, a confident BJP initially focused its campaign on “Modi’s guarantees,” highlighting the economic and welfare achievements that his party says have reduced poverty. With Modi at the helm, “India will become a developed nation by 2047,” he repeated in rally after rally.

But the campaign turned increasingly shrill, as Modi ramped up polarizing rhetoric that targeted Muslims, who make up 14% of the population, a tactic seen to energize his core Hindu majority voters.

The opposition INDIA alliance attacked Modi over his Hindu nationalist politics, and campaigned on issues of joblessness, inflation and inequality.

“These issues have resonated and made a dent,” added Aiyar, the public policy scholar.

Modi claims victory in India's election but drop in support forces him to rely on coalition partners (2024)


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India's Narendra Modi sworn in as country's prime minister for a third term | India Election 2024 News | Al Jazeera.

Who is the new prime minister in India? ›

Prime Minister of India
Incumbent Narendra Modi since 26 May 2014
Prime Minister's Office Union Council of Ministers Executive branch of the Indian Government
StyleThe Honourable Mr. Prime Minister (informal) His Excellency (diplomatic)
TypeHead of government
18 more rows

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The Rt Hon Rishi Sunak

Rishi Sunak became Prime Minister on 25 October 2022. He was previously appointed Chancellor of the Exchequer from 13 February 2020 to 5 July 2022.

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The Congress led India to independence from the United Kingdom, and significantly influenced other anti-colonial nationalist movements in the British Empire. The INC is a "big tent" party and sits on the centre of Indian political spectrum. The Party held its first session in 1885 in Bombay where W.C.

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Atal Bihari Vajpayee (Hindi pronunciation: [əʈəl bɪɦaːɾiː ʋaːdʒpai]; 25 December 1924 – 16 August 2018) was an Indian politician and poet who served three terms as the 10th Prime Minister of India, first for a term of 13 days in 1996, then for a period of 13 months from 1998 to 1999, followed by a full term from 1999 ...

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Longest continuous term
1Jawaharlal Nehru16 years, 286 days
2Indira Gandhi11 years, 59 days
3Narendra Modi10 years, 22 days
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2Vice President₹400,000 (US$4,800)
3Prime Minister₹166,000 (US$2,000)
4Governors₹350,000 (US$4,200)
5Chief Justice₹280,000 (US$3,400)
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Notable lengths
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Rank 01| Prime Minister Narendra Modi - 76% approval ratings.

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Parties with over 50 million members
1Bharatiya Janata Party Indian People's PartyBJP
2Chinese Communist PartyCCP CPC
3Indian National CongressINC

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The Early Nationalists, also known as the Moderates, were a group of political leaders in India active between 1885 and 1907. Their emergence marked the beginning of the organised national movement in India. Some of the important moderate leaders were Pherozeshah Mehta and Dadabhai Naoroji.

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President of the Indian National Congress
Incumbent Mallikarjun Kharge since 26 October 2022
Residence24 Akbar Road, New Delhi
AppointerCommittee consisting of members of the Indian National Congress from the National and State Committees
Term lengthno term limit
6 more rows

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State governments
StateGovernorChief Minister
KeralaArif Mohammad KhanPinarayi Vijayan
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MaharashtraRamesh BaisEknath Shinde
ManipurAnusuiya UikeyN. Biren Singh
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List of chief ministers
AssamHimanta Biswa SarmaBharatiya Janata Party
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