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Modi’s Dream Shattered: BJP 292 Seats, Congress 233

Modi’s Dream Shattered: BJP 292 Seats, Congress 233

Modi announces government formation with allies; Congress also enters the fray to form a government. Now, the contest for horse-trading in Delhi will be intense. Smaller parties not aligned with either major political coalition stand to benefit significantly. According to Indian political analysts, major figures in occupied Kashmir, including Mehbooba Mufti and Omar Abdullah, have been toppled.


New Delhi (UrduPoint International Press Agency - June 04, 2024):

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has announced the formation of a government at the center with the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) led by the BJP. During his speech at the BJP headquarters in New Delhi, Modi stated that today’s victory is the greatest in the world and a triumph for Indian citizens. He described Indian democracy as exemplary, making every Indian proud. Claiming a “clean sweep” in New Delhi, Modi mentioned that the number of votes for his party in some areas has doubled.

It is noteworthy that the vote counting process for the seven-week-long elections in India is ongoing. According to the latest information, the BJP and its allies have secured 292 seats, while the Congress and its allies have won 233 seats. The general elections have proven to be a significant setback for the 18-party National Democratic Alliance, as Modi had been rallying with the slogan “Ab ki Baar 400 Paar” (This time, over 400 seats), but the NDA only managed to secure 292 seats, just 20 seats over the simple majority of 272.

On the other hand, the Congress-led political alliance “India” has dashed Modi’s hopes of a two-thirds majority by winning 233 seats. According to Indian political analysts, Rahul Gandhi could become the Prime Minister if smaller political parties ally with “India.” The importance of these smaller parties, which are strong regional entities, has increased, and maneuvering has begun in New Delhi for government formation.

Indian political analysts suggest that horse trading for government formation is not new. Since the BJP has a lot at stake and many billionaire business personalities’ interests are tied to the Modi government, the horse trading is expected to be intense. The Congress also has significant support from industrialists and major capitalists. In this situation, smaller parties that are not part of either major political alliance stand to benefit greatly. Narendra Modi has consistently assured a large majority for the BJP in every rally, even undertaking a two-day meditation, but it did not help. The BJP now depends on allies even to form a simple majority government.

Regarding the Delhi seats, analysts state that the Modi government took every authoritarian step to block the Aam Aadmi Party’s path, including imprisoning its leader and Delhi’s Chief Minister to prevent him from campaigning. Therefore, Modi should not boast about Delhi seats but feel ashamed.

Analysts attribute the BJP’s poor performance in the elections to rising inflation, unemployment, controversial military recruitment reforms, Modi’s aggressive policies, and the BJP’s open support for extremist Hindu groups like the RSS, which fueled divisive campaigns. Modi’s electoral slogan “Ab ki Baar 400 Paar” implied securing 400 seats nationwide with allies, but this dream did not materialize. Conversely, the Congress’s unexpected gain of double the seats compared to the 2019 election indicates a shift.

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi did not rule out the possibility of forming a government with the “India” alliance during a press conference. When asked about this, he mentioned that his party would meet with allies to discuss the matter. This statement has made the electoral results and the government formation debate even more interesting.

A press conference from Modi’s BJP is also expected today, providing further clarification on forming the central government. In occupied Kashmir, Omar Abdullah’s National Conference won seats in Anantnag and Srinagar, while Mehbooba Mufti not only lost in Anantnag but her party’s young leader, Waheed Rehman, also lost in Srinagar. Mufti lost the Anantnag seat to National Conference’s Mian Altaf by nearly 300,000 votes. The contest in Baramulla became interesting when former MLA Engineer Rashid, imprisoned in Delhi’s Tihar Jail on terror funding charges, announced his candidacy from jail. His campaign, run by his sons, echoed with the slogan “Release through Vote,” and he won over Omar Abdullah by more than 200,000 votes with over 450,000 votes.

It’s noteworthy that Omar Abdullah’s National Conference and Mehbooba Mufti’s People’s Democratic Party have alternately governed Jammu and Kashmir for the past 25 years. This is the first time both have faced simultaneous defeat in parliamentary elections. According to Indian Home Minister Amit Shah, voting for 90 seats in the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly will be held in September, as the Indian Supreme Court directed the Modi government to conduct assembly elections before then.

After Engineer Rashid’s success, it is speculated that the influence of familial politics will diminish in Kashmir during the assembly elections. Political and economic expert Ijaz Ayub told the BBC that whatever happens in Delhi will happen, but in Kashmir, people voted out of a sense of revenge. The defeat of big names indicates that the youth now want new leadership.

In the 2019 elections, Narendra Modi’s party won 303 seats and secured 353 seats nationwide with allies. A majority government requires 272 seats. In the current situation, Modi will have to change his decision-making style at the central level and take allies into confidence, something he is not used to, as he has always formed majority governments both centrally and at the state level.

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