Prime Minister Modi’ BJP Secures Third Term but Loses Ground in Indian General Elections

The 2024 Indian general election, held in seven phases from April 19 to June 1, has concluded with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) securing a majority.

However, their seat count has decreased significantly compared to the 2019 elections. This election is particularly notable for its intense competition, strategic alliances, and the critical issues that shaped voter sentiment.

Key Results and Political Dynamics

The BJP, under Prime Minister Narendra Modi, was vying for a third consecutive term. Despite facing significant challenges, the BJP and its allies managed to maintain a majority, although with fewer seats than in 2019.

The Indian National Congress (INC), led by Rahul Gandhi, showed a remarkable resurgence, nearly doubling its seat count compared to the previous election. This improvement can be attributed to the INC’s strategic alliance under the Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance (INDIA), formed last year to present a united opposition front.

Voter Turnout and Election Phases

The 2024 election witnessed a robust voter turnout of 65.79 per cent, with over 640 million votes cast across the country.

The voting process was conducted in seven phases to manage the vast and diverse electorate spread across 36 states and federal territories. This phased approach was crucial in ensuring a smooth and orderly election process.

Major Campaign Issues

Several critical issues dominated the election campaign:

  1. Economic Performance: The BJP highlighted its achievements in infrastructure development, digitalisation, and tax reforms. However, the opposition focused on issues like unemployment, economic disparity, and agrarian distress. The INC promised significant economic reforms and job creation initiatives to address these concerns.
  2. Social Harmony: Social issues, including secularism, minority rights, and freedom of speech, were central to the INC’s campaign. The party accused the BJP of fostering divisive policies and promised to restore social harmony and protect democratic institutions.
  3. National Security: The BJP’s strong stance on national security and assertive foreign policy were major talking points. Modi emphasised the party’s achievements in defence modernisation and handling of regional security challenges, projecting the BJP as the party best equipped to ensure national security.
  4. Welfare Schemes: Both parties promised extensive welfare programmes targeting the poor, farmers, and women. The BJP highlighted its existing schemes like PM-KISAN and Ayushman Bharat, while the INC proposed new initiatives aimed at poverty alleviation and healthcare improvements.
  5. Environmental Issues: Climate change and environmental sustainability gained significant attention, particularly among younger voters. Both parties presented their green agendas, focusing on renewable energy, pollution control, and sustainable development.

Strategic Alliances and Regional Influence

The role of regional parties was pivotal in the 2024 elections. The BJP maintained alliances with key regional players like the Janata Dal (United) in Bihar and the Shiv Sena (Shinde faction) in Maharashtra. However, it faced stiff competition from strong regional parties such as the Trinamool Congress (TMC) in West Bengal and the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) in Tamil Nadu.

The INC’s strategy of forming the INDIA alliance included partnerships with the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) in Maharashtra and the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) in Bihar. This broad coalition aimed to consolidate the anti-BJP vote and present a united opposition​.

Impact of Digital Campaigning

Digital platforms and social media played a crucial role in the election campaigns.

The BJP, known for its sophisticated IT cell and data-driven strategies, continued to leverage these tools effectively.

The INC also ramped up its digital presence, using targeted advertisements, WhatsApp groups, and Twitter campaigns to engage with voters. The extensive use of digital media transformed the election landscape, making it more interactive and immediate.

Election Commission’s Role and Challenges

The Election Commission of India (ECI) faced significant challenges in conducting the election, including ensuring the integrity of the voting process, managing electoral violence, and combating misinformation. Despite these challenges, the ECI successfully oversaw a complex and large-scale electoral process, reinforcing the robustness of India’s democratic framework.

Looking Ahead

The 2024 Indian general election has set the stage for significant political shifts. The BJP’s reduced majority and the resurgence of the INC indicate a more competitive political landscape. The election results will have far-reaching implications for India’s governance, policy direction, and democratic health.

As the new government takes shape, it will face the dual challenge of addressing the electorate’s diverse needs and maintaining the momentum of India’s economic and social development.

The coming years will test the resilience and adaptability of India’s political institutions and its leaders’ ability to navigate the complexities of the nation’s aspirations and challenges.

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