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Narendra Modi set to form govt despite losing majority

05 June, 2024 08:49

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party is set to retain power but lost its outright majority for the first time in a decade in the Lok Sabha.

The party won 240 seats so far which is 32 short of a simple majority. The Congress nearly doubled its 2019 seats tally as it won 99 seats, Indian media reported Tuesday.

This, analysts say, could introduce some uncertainty into policymaking in the world’s most populous democracy.

In his speech, Modi said people had placed their faith in the BJP-led coalition for a third time and it was historic, in his first comments since counting of votes began.

“The blessings of the people for the third time after 10 years boosts our morale, gives new strength,” Modi told cheering BJP members at party headquarters in New Delhi.

“Our opponents, despite being united, could not even win as many seats as BJP won.”

At 1615 GMT, Indian media showed the NDA was ahead in about 290 of the 543 elective seats in the lower house of parliament, where 272 is an overall majority, with counting nearing its end.

It came to surprise for many, as the opposition INDIA alliance led by Rahul Gandhi’s centrist Congress party was leading in over 230 seats, more than forecast.

Congress alone was leading in nearly 100 seats, almost double the 52 it won in 2019 – a surprise jump that is expected to boost Gandhi’s standing.

“The country has unanimously and clearly stated, we do not want Narendra Modi and Amit Shah to be involved in the running of this country, we do not like the way they have run this country,” Gandhi told reporters, referring to Modi’s powerful number two, Home Minister Shah. “That is a huge message.”

Gandhi said Congress would hold talks with its allies on Wednesday and decide on a future course of action, when asked if the opposition would try to form a government.

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