Indian Election 2024 Live Updates: Modi’s Lead Narrower Than Expected

Sameer Yasir

Congress party supporters celebrate at the party headquarters during the counting of votes in New Delhi on Tuesday.Credit…Atul Loke for the New York Times

In India’s last general election, in 2019, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s party won 303 out of 543 parliamentary seats – nearly six times more than the main opposition Indian National Congress. It’s a stinging electoral blow for the Congress, a once-dominant party that appears to have declined significantly in recent years, and the opinion polls in this year’s election. didn’t suggest it would get much better.

But Tuesday’s early election results showed a much stronger result than Congress expected. The party and its allies are leading in nearly 230 races, a dramatic shift that has caused jubilation at Congress headquarters in New Delhi, where supporters erupt in cheers every time a The TV channel announced a new leading candidate.

“Whatever the final result, one thing is clear – it is a moral victory for the Congress and our leader Rahul Gandhi,” said Robin Michael, a political worker. and defeat for the BJP.”

While there is no sign that the Congress and the opposition alliance it leads will muster a majority to oust Modi, party members say they have dented the aura of invincibility. by Mr. Modi. They praised Mr. Gandhi, who The most prominent figure of the National Congress party and the great-grandson of Jawaharlal Nehru, India’s first post-independence prime minister.

Last year, when Mr. Gandhi sought to boost his standing by leading long marches across India, the BJP trapped him in a court case that led to his defeat. expelled from Congress. He was later given his seat back by India’s highest court. On Tuesday, Mr. Gandhi was on track to win a parliamentary seat in the southern state of Kerala.

The Congress, long positioned as India’s political center, has struggled to find direction and offer an ideological alternative to the religious nationalist BJP. Hindu. attached to its dynastic leadership.

This year, defying expectations, Mr. Gandhi has set a target of doubling the party’s 2019 tally of 52 seats. By late Tuesday afternoon, it had a lead of nearly 100 seats.

“We will stop Modi from ridiculing this country and turning people against each other,” said Sandeep Mishra, a Congress worker at the party headquarters. He added: “Indians are fed up with Modi.”


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