The Conversation - Modi wins, though loses majority

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi claimed victory after his political alliance scored a slim majority in India’s recently concluded parliamentary elections. The Bharatiya Janata Party, led by Modi, got a total of 240 seats but needs its coalition partners to form the government in the 543-seat Parliament.

For many observers, the results came as a surprise. Exit polls had widely predicted a supermajority, and Modi too had often used the slogan “Abki Baar, 400 Paar,” or “this time, above 400,” referring to the parliamentary seats he hoped to win. Not only did the BJP fall short of that threshold, it also lost seats in several of its strongholds in northern and central India.

Many factors may have played a role in this setback for Modi, as Indiana University political scientist Sumit Ganguly explains. For one, the benefits of India’s economic growth have not reached the wider masses, many of whom are struggling with unemployment, housing and lack of food. In addition, Modi’s divisive use of historic Hindu-Muslim tensions to enhance his political power has seemingly run its course with people more concerned about their daily necessities.

“Hindu pride cannot be eaten – ultimately, it’s the price of potatoes and other essentials that matter,” Ganguly writes.

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Kalpana Jain

Senior Religion + Ethics Editor/ Director of the Global Religion Journalism Initiative

Supporters of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party dance at a party office in Guwahati, India, during counting of India’s national election on June 4, 2024. AP Photo/Anupam Nath

Modi’s narrow win suggests Indian voters saw through religious rhetoric, opting instead to curtail his political power

Sumit Ganguly, Indiana University

The ruling BJP failed to see that those who had not benefited from the country’s rapid economic growth were deeply unhappy.

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