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Modi’s party has ‘tough times ahead’ – opposition politician to RT

As India’s ruling partly seeks to form a governing coalition, opponents warn it won’t be easy

A senior figure in the opposition Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance (INDIA) bloc, which outperformed expectations in the general election, has warned that Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) faces “tough times” ahead as it aims to form a government for a third straight term. 

Unlike in the elections of 2014 and 2019, when the BJP secured a parliamentary majority (at least 272 seats out of 543) on its own, this time it has fallen short by more than 30 seats in Lok Sabha (the lower house).

However, the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), fronted by the BJP, secured 295 seats, and Modi’s party now has to bank on the support of its allies to form the next government. The talks have been ongoing in New Delhi since Wednesday. Modi was unanimously elected as leader of the NDA, paving the way for him to return to office as prime minister. 

“They (the BJP) have a tough time ahead,” Salman Khurshid, a senior member of the Indian National Congress, which spearhead the INDIA bloc, and a former foreign minister of the country (2012-2014), said in an interview with RT. “They have two very difficult alliance partners who are with them now, but will they remain with them?” 

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Khurshid was referring to veteran politicians Nitish Kumar and Chandrababu Naidu, leaders of the powerful regional movements Janata Dal United (JDU) and the Telegu Desam Party (TDP), seen as ‘kingmakers’ in this Indian election.

These two parties hold 28 Lok Sabha seats between them. In the past, both leaders have been known for switching political alliances. Khurshid has also warned that the BJP’s allies in the NDA coalition government, once it is formed, may be “be pulling in different directions.”

Meanwhile, the Congress – which won only 52 seats in the previous election of 2019 – has scripted a turnaround, by increasing its tally to 99.

The INDIA coalition of over 20 parties won 234 seats. Notably, it clinched decisive victories over the BJP in major states such as West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh.

Khurshid said the result brought a “sense of relief” for the Congress party and a reaffirmation of its belief. 

Exit polls, released moments after voting in the seventh and final phase in the weeks-long election, had predicted a landslide victory for Modi’s party. However, Congress’s own analysis was different, and it saw some “very very good signs” before the results were declared, Khurshid said.

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A veteran politician and senior advocate of the Supreme Court of India, Khurshid also praised the Congress party’s decision to contest the polls as part of an alliance, leaving several key seats to regional allies such as the Samajwadi Party in Uttar Pradesh.

“Every ally made a contribution,” Khurshid noted. However, he stressed that a “critical turning point” was witnessed in Uttar Pradesh, which had been a BJP stronghold in recent elections. The BJP, which won 62 of 80 seats in India’s most populous state in the last election, won only 33 this time. The Congress and its key ally, the Samajwadi Party, jointly won 43 seats in the key state. 

In this election, the Congress was able to resonate with the Indian masses on the issue of rising inflation and unemployment, Khurshid told RT. The Congress, in its election manifesto, vowed to fill 3 million job vacancies in the government sector and create another 15 million in the mining sector. 

Moments after the election results were announced, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi declared that the BJP’s smaller mandate means that Indians do not want Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah to “run the country.” Mallikarjun Kharge, the president of the party, described the result as a major political defeat for the prime minister.

June 06, 2024 at 11:47AM

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