India elections 2024: BJP and Congress vie for government after Modi fails to win majority

Both national parties will need support of smaller regional partners

India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrives at the BJP headquarters in New Delhi on Tuesday. AFP
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Leaders from India’s ruling National Democratic Alliance and the rival INDIA bloc are expected to meet on Wednesday to discuss their numbers after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party fell short of a simple majority.

Final results were published early on Wednesday, with Mr Modi’s Hindu nationalist party winning 240 seats – 32 off the number needed to begin to form a government.

The main opposition Indian National Congress won 99 seats in the 543-member parliament.

Both national parties will require support from smaller regional parties if they are to form a government.

Mr Modi’s BJP will be relying on NDA partners to form the next government, with the bloc winning 294 seats.

The Telugu Desam Party from southern Andhra Pradesh, part of the NDA coalition, won 16 seats, while another alliance partner from Bihar, Janata Dal (United), has 12 seats in the 543-seat parliament.

NDA allies Shiv Sena won seven seats in Maharashtra and the Lok Janshakti Party won five seats in Bihar.

The parties are likely to lend their support to the BJP, with the rival INDIA bloc also seeking assistance to form a government after it took 232 seats.

JDU chief and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and TDP head N Chandrababu Naidu, who are central to forming a government, were scheduled to arrive in Delhi and meet BJP leaders on Wednesday.

The NDA leaders will discuss their path to power, ministerial positions and set an agenda for the next government, before choosing the leader of the house.

The NDA alliance will present their claim and numbers to President Droupadi Murmu, who will invite them to form the government, with the opposition INDIA bloc also racing to lure smaller parties to stake a claim on power.

The election results have come as a jolt for the Hindu nationalist party that has won the previous two elections by a large majority, prompting Mr Modi to raise the slogan of “this time 400 seats” for BJP.

National daily news media commented that the shock results for the BJP were a “message” to the leader, who is accused of playing divisive politics and pushing the agenda of Hindu hegemony in the officially secular state.

The Indian Express ran a headline “India gives NDA third term, Modi a message” whereas, Hindustan Times, a popular daily, wrote, “Politwist: It’s a game on”.

The Times of India, one of the most-read dailies, said: “Hat-tricky: NDA 272 paar, INDIA [bloc] raises bar”.

“India cuts down Modi,” the Telegraph newspaper, known for its succinct headlines, said on its front page.

The Deccan Herald said: “Modi 3.0 diminished”.

Updated: June 05, 2024, 9:41 AM