India election results 2024: Modi’s BJP ahead but opposition makes inroads

New Delhi (AFP) – Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist party showed a comfortable lead on Tuesday, according to preliminary figures announced by the Indian Election Commission, but it faces a stronger challenge from the opposition than expected.

count More than 640 million votes The past six weeks were expected to take the world’s largest democratic exercise all day, and Modi is widely expected to be elected to a third five-year term when The final result Announce.

More than 50 countries will go to the polls in 2024

If the 73-year-old Modi wins, it will be only the second time an Indian leader has retained power for a third term after Jawaharlal Nehru, the country’s first prime minister.

After about four hours of vote counting, preliminary results announced by the Election Commission showed that Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party had a comfortable lead over the main opposition Congress party.

Preliminary figures showed that the Bharatiya Janata Party is leading in 240 of the 542 constituencies and winning one race unopposed. Congress was ahead in 94 constituencies.

The National Democratic Alliance group led by Modi was leading in 287 constituencies, while the opposition was India AllianceLed by the Congress party and its main campaign leader Rahul Gandhi, it was leading in 225.

The Election Commission does not publish data on the percentage of votes counted, but counting is scheduled to continue throughout the day and preliminary numbers are expected to change.

Opinion polls conducted over the weekend predicted that the NDA would win more than 350 seats. Indian markets, which hit all-time highs on Monday, fell sharply in midday trade on Tuesday, with the two benchmark equity indices – NIFTY 50 and BSE Sensex – falling more than 7%.

About 642 million People’s voice In the elections, the average participation rate in the seven stages reached 66%, according to official data.

Extreme temperatures hit India as voters headed to the polls, with temperatures exceeding 45 degrees Celsius (113 Fahrenheit) in some parts of the country. Chief Election Commissioner Rajeev Kumar said officials had learned a valuable lesson. “We should have finished the elections at least one month ago,” he said. “We shouldn’t have let it get this hot.”

Temperatures were somewhat lower on Tuesday during the counting process, but election officials and political parties were still taking precautions, transporting large amounts of water and installing evaporative coolers for people outside the buildings where votes were being counted and party headquarters.

Congress Party supporters cheer as they watch vote counting procedures at their party's headquarters in New Delhi, India, Tuesday, June 4, 2024. India began counting more than 640 million votes on Tuesday in the world's largest democratic exercise, which was widely expected to return President Prime Minister Narendra Modi for a third term after ten years in power.  (AP Photo/Altaf Qadri)

Congress Party supporters chant as they watch vote counting procedures at their party headquarters in New Delhi, India, Tuesday, June 4, 2024. (AP Photo/Altaf Qadri)

On Tuesday, BJP workers outside the party’s office in New Delhi performed a Hindu ritual shortly after vote counting began. Meanwhile, Congress supporters appeared upbeat at the party headquarters and chanted slogans praising Gandhi, the face of the party’s election campaign.

In his ten years in power, Modi has changed Political scene in India. His popularity exceeded that of his party, and he also succeeded in turning the parliamentary elections into an election that resembled a presidential-style election campaign. The result is that the BJP is increasingly relying on Modi’s perpetual approach to stay in power, with local politicians receding into the background even in state elections.

“Modi was not just the main campaigner, he was the only campaigner in this election,” said Yamini Aiyar, a public policy researcher.

His supporters consider him a strong, self-made leader who succeeded in improving India’s position in the world, and credit his pro-business policies with making its economy the fifth largest in the world.

But a decade of his leadership left the country deeply divided. Modi’s critics and opponents say he does Hindu politics first It has generated intolerance, hate speech and brazen attacks against minorities in the country, especially Muslims, who make up 14% of the population.

The Indian economy, one of the fastest growing economies, has become more unequal under Modi. While stock markets reach record highs and the number of millionaires multiplies, unemployment rates among youth have soared Only a small portion of Indians Benefiting from the economic boom.

Modi’s critics say the country’s democracy is faltering under his government, which has increasingly used strong-arm tactics to subjugate political opponents, pressure independent media and suppress dissent. The government rejects such accusations and says democracy is thriving.

As polls opened in mid-April, the BJP was initially confident She focused her campaign On ‘Modi guarantees’, highlighting the economic and social achievements that his party says have led to poverty reduction. With him at the helm, “India will become a developed country by 2047,” Modi repeated at one election rally after another.

But the campaign has turned increasingly tumultuous, as Modi intensified his targeted, polarizing rhetoric Muslim minorityIt is a tactic that is seen to energize his Hindu majority voters.

His opposition, the Congress-led All India Alliance, attacked Modi over his Hindu nationalist policies. Hoping to capitalize on rising economic discontent, she has rallied her campaign around the issues of unemployment, inflation and inequality.

But the broad coalition, which includes more than a dozen political parties, is plagued by disagreements and ideological rifts, raising questions about its effectiveness. At the same time, the coalition also claimed that they were Unfairly targetedPointing to a series of raids, arrests and corruption investigations against their leaders by federal agencies that they say are politically motivated. The government denied this.

Another win would cement Modi as one of the country’s most popular and important leaders. This will come after a landslide victory in 2019, when the BJP won 303 out of 543 parliamentary seats.


AP reporter David Rising contributed to this story.

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