Modi announces victory as the alliance led by the BJP gains majority

Though the Indian PM's Bharatiya Janata Party didn't win by a wide margin as expected, its alliance is likely to hold onto power.

Modi announces victory as the alliance led by the BJP gains majority
India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi flashes victory sign as he arrives at the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) headquarters to celebrate the results of India's general election, in New Delhi on June 4, 2024 © Arun SANKAR / AFP

After more than 640 million Indians cast ballots in the parliamentary election, which took place on Tuesday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India pronounced his party's alliance the winner.

With 545 seats in the Lok Sabha, India's lower house of parliament, a party or coalition needs to hold 272 of those seats to form a government.

Despite winning fewer seats than anticipated, Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its allies in the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) now have over 290 seats combined. In 2019, the NDA surpassed the 350-seat mark and Modi's party garnered 303 seats on its own. But the alliance failed miserably to secure the 400 seats it had set for itself this year.

The ruling party faced a stronger challenge from the opposition INDIA bloc, which includes dozens of parties, which could together win over 230 seats, as some constituencies have yet to declare a winner. The Indian National Congress party, which leads the bloc, is expecting to win 100 seats, up from the 52 it won in 2019.

Addressing his party workers in Delhi on Tuesday night, Modi declared that the NDA’s election win was a “victory of the people.” He noted that before him, only the country’s first prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, had managed to achieve a third term in office, in 1962.

He also vowed to push forward his development agenda and advance India’s defense production, providing jobs for young people, increasing the volume of exports and helping farmers, among other things. “This country will see a new chapter of big decisions. This is Modi’s guarantee,” he said, repeating the BJP’s election tagline.

Both rival blocs have announced that they will meet on Wednesday, as they will attempt to form the federal government. According to experts, talks are underway between national and regional parties, and there is a chance that the current alliances could change.

Meanwhile, both Modi and his key rival, Rahul Gandhi of the Indian National Congress party, secured comfortable victories in their respective parliamentary constituencies.  While Modi retained his seat in Varanasi, an ancient city in Uttar Pradesh state considered holy by the Hindu community, the Gandhi family scion won in Rae Bareli, which was previously represented by his mother Sonia.

“The result is a victory for democracy”, Indian National Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge said amid the counting at a press conference, noting that the public has not given a “complete majority” to any party. Kharge hailed the turn of events as a “political defeat” for Modi, who is seeking a third consecutive term. 

Former Congress President Rahul Gandhi, who also addressed the media after securing his seat in parliament, claimed that the country has “unanimously and clearly stated” that “[they] do not want [Narendra Modi] and [Home Minister] Amit Shah to be involved in the running of the country.”