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India PM Narendra Modi returns to power after world’s biggest election

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India's prime minister, Narendra Modi, will return to power after the country's elections, despite a major swing against his party.
Narendra Modi has returned to power after the India election.

India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi is set to return for a third term after his party, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), and its allies won a majority in the country’s election.

Nearly one billion people voted in the national poll over six weeks, making it one of the biggest voting exercises in history.

While Modi’s Government will stay in power, there has been a notable swing away from the party.

India

India’s Parliament consists of the Lok Sabha (like the House of Representatives) and Rajya Sabha (Senate equivalent). Every five years, the composition of the 543-seat Lok Sabha is determined by a general election.

The party that secures a majority of seats will decide their nominee for PM, who is then appointed by the country’s president.

Narendra Modi

Modi became Prime Minister in 2014. He’s the country’s first leader to be born after India achieved independence from Britain in 1947.

Modi’s Government is credited with driving economic growth and improving foreign relationships.

However, it’s also been accused of trying to silence opposition, media, and minority groups. In the lead-up to the election, a group of UN human rights experts called on the government to address violence, disappearances, and intimidation of its opponents.

Human Rights Watch has accused the BJP of enforcing “Hindu majoritarianism” — policies which prioritise the views of the majority of the population.

The BJP is a Hindu Nationalist party. Roughly 80% of the country’s 1.4 billion people identify as Hindu.

In 2022, a U.S. Government report showed evidence that non-Hindu groups – such as Muslim and Christian peoples – faced killings, assaults, and intimidation in India.

The BJP has previously responded to the allegations of religious persecution by saying it “respects all religions”.

Results

In 2019, the BJP won more than 300 seats out of 543, allowing it to govern on its own.

While the pre-polls for this election suggested the BJP would increase its majority, results show its voting share has decreased, with 240 seats.

The BJP leads a coalition known as the ‘National Democratic Alliance’ (NDA).

Altogether, NDA parties have won about 290 seats, meaning it can form the next government.

A group of opposition parties known as INDIA (Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance) has won roughly 222 seats. That has cut into the BJP’s majority from 2019.

The most populous state in India, Uttar Pradesh, has swung against the government.

The Samajwadi Party, a non-religious socialist political party part of the INDIA coalition, won the most seats in Uttar Pradesh.

Reaction

Narendra Modi celebrated the election result as a “historical feat in India’s history”.

The 73-year-old claimed victory during a speech at the BJP’s headquarters in the capital city of New Delhi, where he praised it as a “victory of the world’s largest democracy”.

Afterwards, leaders across South Asia, including Sri Lanka, Bhutan, and Nepal, have congratulated Modi on his victory.

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