Modi’s NDA Poised For Landslide Win in the World’s Largest Democracy

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Congress Party supporters cheer at an election rally led by leader Rahul Gandhi in Prayagraj, Uttar Pradesh, India, May 2024. (Photo/Rajesh Kumar Singh/AP)

As a scorching summer heat wave grips India, the world’s largest democracy has concluded its voting process. Exit polls indicate that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s National Democratic Alliance (NDA) is set for a decisive victory, securing Modi a third term in office.

Exit polls suggest a sweeping win, with the BJP-led (Bharatiya Janata Party) alliance expected to secure a significant majority. According to NDTV, the NDA is projected to win at least 350 out of 543 seats in the Lok Sabha, the lower chamber of India’s bicameral parliament. The BJP and its allies are projected to perform well not only in their traditional strongholds in the north but also in the southern states, where they have historically struggled. In the southern state of Andhra Pradesh, the BJP alliance, which includes the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) and actor Pawan Kalyan’s Jana Sena party, is expected to win a majority and the Chief Minister position. This is a major upset for the incumbent Chief Minister Jagan Mohan Reddy’s YSR Congress Party, who are predicted to be voted out of power. The Hindustan Times reports that the BJP-TDP-Jana Sena alliance could secure 111 to 135 out of 175 seats in the state assembly.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Telugu Desam Party (TDP) President Nara Chandrababu Naidu and Jana Sena party president Pawan Kalyan during a rally in Vijayawada, Andhra Pradesh, March 2024. (Photo/PTI)

A continued Modi administration has significant implications for international relations and the global economy. For the United States, Modi’s re-election could mean continuing the strategic partnership that has grown stronger over the past decade. In recent years, immense growth in the southern states (Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka) has increased bilateral trade between the U.S. and India to over $191 billion in 2022. Defense cooperation has expanded with multiple arms deals and joint military initiatives like the Malabar Exercise.

India’s role as a counterbalance to China in the Indo-Pacific region aligns with U.S. interests. Additionally, India’s expanding market presents opportunities for American businesses, particularly in the technology and defense sectors. The continuation of Modi’s policies may enhance bilateral trade and investment, fostering economic growth for both nations.

However, throughout the election campaign, Modi and the BJP have faced criticism for their anti-Muslim rhetoric. One notable instance was Modi’s speech in April 2024, where he accused Indian Muslim communities of being “infiltrators” and called for stricter immigration controls. This extreme Hindu nationalism has exacerbated social tensions and anxiety among religious groups. Reports of communal violence and discrimination against minorities have raised concerns about the erosion of secularism and pluralism in India.

India, despite facing strains on its secularism, maintains a diverse and democratic society, accommodating the second-largest Muslim population globally. While tensions persist, particularly evidenced by the ongoing conflict in Kashmir, India’s historical commitment to religious and ethnic diversity remains resilient. For instance, India is one of the only nations without known anti-Semitic prejudice throughout its history, contrasting sharply with Western experiences of discrimination against Jews as recent as the late 20th century. The enduring absence of anti-Semitism in the nation is a testament to its unique cultural fabric, where religious tolerance is deeply ingrained. This is attributed to a variety of reasons, one of which may be the Hindu religion’s lack of proselytizing and its inherent acceptance of other faiths. New political ideologies have misrepresented the core principles of Hinduism, which has led to increased social tensions.

Election officials are expected to announce the results on June 4, 2024. As India awaits, the projected victory for Modi’s NDA alliance will have cascading global consequences. For the international community, a third term for Modi means a continuation of India’s current foreign policy trajectory and economic strategies. However, the internal challenges of social cohesion will remain critical issues for Modi’s government to address.

Written by Sahasra Yellepeddi

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