BJP-led NDA on course to form third successive govt

at 2:36 am
POK and Kashmir News
PM Modi at the BJP party headquarters after the poll victory

New Delhi, June 4:  The BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) on Tuesday seemed on course to form the Union government for the third consecutive time, but with a reduced majority compared to the earlier two terms.

The BJP, which was aiming for 370 seats, and set the NDA a target of 400-plus, appeared to be running way behind, let down by Uttar Pradesh, which sends 80 lawmakers to the Lok Sabha. As of 11 pm, the BJP was ahead on 241 seats, and the NDA on 294. The opposition INDIA bloc was ahead on 231 seats, and the Congress on 100.

In his address at the BJP’s headquarters in Delhi after it became apparent the party will form the new government, though with much-needed support from NDA partners, Prime Minister Narendra Modi thanked voters and said, “Today’s victory is a victory of the world’s biggest democracy.”

The 2023 election results showed a slowing down of the BJP juggernaut, as the party led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi fell way short of the magical half-way mark of 272 seats in the lower house of Parliament.

“People have placed their faith in NDA, for a third consecutive time! This is a historical feat in India’s history. I bow to the Janata Janardan for this affection and assure them that we will continue the good work done in the last decade to keep fulfilling the aspirations of people,” PM Modi posted on X.

The saffron party had bagged 282 Lok Sabha seats in the 2014 elections and 303 in the 2019 polls by cashing on the ‘Modi charisma’.

On the other hand, the INDIA bloc, led by the Congress, has so far won 202 seats and was ahead in another 29 constituencies.

This included 88 seats won by the Congress, which was also occupying the pole position in another 11 seats, and could finish with close to 100 seats. The grand old party displayed a tremendous comeback by nearly doubling its tally against last time’s 52 seats.

The BJP applecart appears to have been upset by the heartland state of Uttar Pradesh, which has pushed the INDIA bloc — Samajwadi Party and the Congress — ahead in 43 of 80 seats. The BJP had swept Uttar Pradesh in 2014 and held its ground in 2019. This time most exit polls had predicted an edge for the party.

While SP has already won 36 seats, it was ahead of its rivals in one more. The Congress has bagged six seats in Uttar Pradesh.

In the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, BJP got 62 seats in India’s most populous state.

The biggest upset was witnessed in the Gandhi family bastion of Amethi where top BJP leader and Union Minister Smriti Irani was defeated by an ordinary Congress worker Kishori Lal Sharma and that too by a huge margin of 1,67,196 votes.

Former Congress chief Rahul Gandhi won handsomely from both Amethi’s neighbouring constituency Rae Bareli and Kerala’s Wayanad by whopping margins of over 3,90,000 and 3,64,000 respectively.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi though he retained his Varanasi seat, it was with a much reduced margin of around 1.52 lakh votes. In 2019 he won by more than 4.79 lakh votes.

Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Punjab and Haryana were among other states which played a key role in preventing the BJP from reaching the half-way mark of 272 seats.

In a further setback, the BJP failed to open its account in Punjab, where the Congress finished as the dominant party with seven seats, followed by the state’s ruling Aam Aadmi Party with three seats, while one seat went to the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD)and two independents won.

In Rajasthan, where the BJP-led NDA had made a clean sweep of all the 25 seats in the previous LS polls, it faced a strong resistance this time. While the BJP picked up 14 seats, the INDIA bloc took ten (Congress 8, CPI-M 1 and Rashtriya Lok Tantrik Party 1). The remaining seat went to a regional outfit Bharat Adivasi Party.

West Bengal was a big disappointment for the BJP, which had high expectations from the eastern state after most of the exit polls put the party ahead of the ruling Trinamool Congress. In the end Trinamool held on to its fort grabbing 29 seats, leaving the BJP far behind (11 wins, one lead). The Congress got one seat, but its leader in the outgoing Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury lost to political greenhorn and retired India cricketer Yusuf Pathan.

However, good news for the BJP came from Madhya Pradesh, where it cruised to victory on all the 29 seats. Gujarat too gave a bounty of 25 of the 26 seats to the saffron outfit. The Congress could get only one seat.

Union Home Minister Amit Shah, considered the second most powerful man in the government and the BJP, won from Gandhinagar with an astounding margin of over 7.44 lakh votes.