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Indian election results a blow to Modi

For a decade, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has exercised decisive influence over his country’s politics.

But as election results came in on Tuesday, it appeared that Modi’s grip may be crumbling.

Modi, who leads India’s Bharatiya Janata Party, claims victory for a historic third term as the country’s prime minister. But even though Modi will keep his job, his party has not done as well as he predicted.

India has finished counting votes in its general election and Modi’s party has lost its majority in Parliament. It’s a blow to Modi, whose party had long hoped to win a majority.

He will now have to gather enough allies to form a government.

The BJP’s main opposition party, the Indian National Congress, performed better than expected.

The Indian National Congress had set a goal of doubling its 52 seats in Parliament, and as of Tuesday evening Eastern Time, it had won 99 seats.

In an election that saw record turnout – with 642 million people voting, according to Al Jazeera, during the seven-phase process that began in April and ended on Saturday – the surprise results indicate that voter confidence in the BJP is declining.

The BJP’s Hindutva ideology promotes Hindu nationalism, which its critics accuse of fueling anti-Muslim hatred and right-wing extremism.

Modi even accused the Congress party of plotting to redistribute India’s wealth to the Muslim minority, Business Insider previously reported. Modi has denied targeting the Muslim minority to curry favor with the Hindu majority, Reuters reported.

Although Modi is still popular in India, some view him as an authoritarian leader, and his opponents on Tuesday called the signs of his fading power a victory for democracy.

Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge called the election a “moral and political loss” for Modi, PBS NewsHour reported. “It’s a victory for the public and a victory for democracy,” he added.

Raghuram Rajan, former governor of the Reserve Bank of India, echoed Kharge’s sentiment in a LinkedIn post.

“The Indian voter has spoken,” Rajan wrote. “And what a wise decision! It is a victory for Indian democracy and a victory for the Indian economy. Whatever happens in the coming days, we will have a strong opposition that will force the government to change course.”

Updated: June 4, 2024, 6:27 p.m. ET: This story has been updated to reflect the latest election results.

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