Why Modi’s BJP lost its majority in India?

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Why Modi's BJP lost its majority in India?

How Modi’s BJP lost its majority in India? 

(Monitoring Desk)

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will remain in office but with a substantially reduced mandate, confounding expectations of a resounding victory forecast by analysts and exit polls.

Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) failed to secure an outright majority for the first time since the Hindu nationalist leader swept to power a decade ago, and will instead rely on coalition allies to govern.

Here’s a look at the reasons behind Modi and his party’s failure to achieve a third successive landslide win:

Divisive Campaign Falls Flat

Critics and rights groups accused Modi of ramping up rhetoric against Muslims to unprecedented levels during his campaign in a bid to mobilize the Hindu majority. At rallies, he referred to Muslims as “infiltrators” and claimed the main opposition Congress party would redistribute the nation’s wealth to Muslims if it won. However, this strategy did not galvanize Hindu voters as expected, while also solidifying minority communities’ support for the opposition.

The BJP’s vote share dropped nearly one point to 36.6 percent from the last election five years ago, resulting in a reduction from 303 to 240 seats in the 543-member parliament. Many voters expressed greater concern over India’s chronic unemployment problem and economic issues than the government’s ideological agenda.

“People were concerned about livelihood, unemployment, price rises,” said Nilanjan Mukhopadhyay, the author of a Modi biography. “They did not relate to what Modi and the BJP were saying.”

Biggest State Flips

For the first time in 15 years, Modi’s party failed to win the most seats in Uttar Pradesh, India’s most populous state and a bellwether for national elections. An alliance of opposition parties presented stronger rivals to BJP candidates, who ultimately won more than half of the state’s seats.

Modi won his seat in Uttar Pradesh, representing the Hindu holy city of Varanasi, by just 152,000 votes — compared to a victory margin of nearly half a million votes in 2019. In a significant blow, the BJP’s candidate lost in Ayodhya, despite Modi inaugurating a controversial Hindu temple there in January.

“The opposition managed to put a sword back to him and Uttar Pradesh has shown resistance to his brand of politics,” said political scientist Ramu Manivannan of the University of Denver.

Southern Strategy Fails

The BJP’s strategy to increase its parliamentary majority by gaining ground in India’s wealthier and better-educated southern states did not succeed. Modi made numerous visits to the south, affirming his “topmost respect” for local culture and even undertaking a 48-hour meditation ritual in Kanyakumari. However, this did not translate into significant gains.

The party failed to win a single seat in Tamil Nadu and won just one constituency in Kerala. “Ideological resistance in the south” played a part in the BJP’s lackluster result, according to Manivannan. Southern voters have typically supported regional parties focused on social justice policies and have been resistant to the BJP’s Hindu-first ideology.

This election result marks a significant shift in India’s political landscape, indicating a need for the BJP to reassess its strategies and address the pressing economic and social issues that concern the electorate.

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