July 20, 2024, 12:13 am


Int'l Correspondent

Published:
2024-06-04 23:41:21 BdST

Modi declares victory in India election


India's Hindu nationalist Prime Minister Narendra Modi claimed election victory on Tuesday but the opposition said voters had sent a clear message after his party lost its parliamentary majority for the first time in a decade.

Commentators and exit polls had projected an overwhelming victory for Modi, whose campaign wooed the Hindu majority to the worry of the country's 200-million-plus Muslim community, deepening concerns over minority rights.

But Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) failed to secure an overall majority of its own, figures from the election commission showed, meaning it would need to rely on its alliance partners.

"We will continue the good work done in the last decade to keep fulfilling the aspirations of people."

The main opposition Congress party was set to nearly double its parliamentary seats, in a remarkable turnaround largely driven by deals to field single candidates against the BJP's electoral juggernaut.

"The country has said to Narendra Modi 'We don't want you'," Gandhi told reporters. "I was confident that the people of this country would give the right response."

With nearly 99% of votes counted, the BJP's vote share at 36.7% was marginally lower than it was in the last polls in 2019.

Modi was re-elected to his constituency representing the Hindu holy city of Varanasi by a margin of 152,300 votes -- compared to nearly half a million votes five years ago.

The election commission figures showed the BJP and its allies on track to win at least 291 seats out of a total of 543, enough for a parliamentary majority.

But the BJP itself had won or was leading in only 239, well down from the 303 it took five years ago, while Congress had won or was ahead in 99, up from 52.

Among the independent lawmakers elected were two serving time in jail -- firebrand Sikh separatist preacher Amritpal Singh, and Sheikh Abdul Rashid from Indian-administered Kashmir, who was arrested on charges of "terror funding" and money laundering in 2019.

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