Modi gaining in vote count in India

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New Delhi: 4 June 2024: As vote counting approached its conclusion on Tuesday, the alliance led by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi seemed poised for a narrow majority, falling notably short of the anticipated overwhelming victory. The outcome marked an unexpected setback for the populist leader. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), helmed by Modi himself, appeared to be lacking a majority in the 543-member parliament according to the latest trends.

This potential scenario of relying on allies to form a government introduces a level of uncertainty into policymaking, contrasting with Modi's previous decade of authoritative governance. In 2014, the BJP secured a majority independently, ending India's era of unstable coalition governments, and repeated this achievement in 2019.

Addressing the results, Modi expressed gratitude for the continued faith placed in the BJP-led coalition for a third term, deeming it a historic moment. He spoke of the morale boost and renewed strength derived from the people's blessings, addressing a jubilant gathering of BJP members at the party headquarters in New Delhi. Modi pledged to intensify efforts and make significant decisions in his third term, highlighting areas of focus such as electronics, semiconductors, defence manufacturing, renewables, and the agricultural sector, albeit without providing specific details.

Analysts and exit polls had foreseen a resounding triumph for Modi, whose campaign appealed strongly to the Hindu majority, sparking concerns among the country's Muslim community of over 200 million, further exacerbating worries regarding minority rights. In a notable turnaround, the primary opposition, Congress party, seemed poised to nearly double its parliamentary seats, largely propelled by strategic alliances that fielded single candidates against the BJP's formidable electoral machinery.

With over 99 percent of the votes tallied, the BJP's vote share stood at 36.6 percent, marginally lower than its performance in the previous 2019 elections. Modi secured reelection in his Varanasi constituency, a revered Hindu city, albeit with a reduced margin of 152,300 votes compared to nearly half a million five years prior.

According to figures from the election commission, the BJP and its allies appeared on track to secure at least 291 seats out of the total 543, securing a parliamentary majority. However, the BJP itself had either secured or was leading in only 240 seats, a notable decrease from the 303 seats it clinched five years ago, while Congress had secured or was ahead in 99 seats, a significant rise from its previous 52 seats

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