In Brief

Indian election: Narendra Modi’s BJP tipped for victory

Mammoth vote seen as ‘a contest for the soul of India’

Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is expected to claim another term in office as the counting begins of more than 600 million votes cast in the country’s six-week election.

Most exit polls put Modi on track to form a government in coalition with smaller parties. However, analysts have warned that such polls have often been wrong in the past.

Early results from the count signalled that the BJP was within reach of an outright majority, thanks to strong gains in the southern state of Karnataka and only moderate losses in the Hindi heartland states of north India.

The Guardian describes the election as “a contest for the soul of India”, with the Hindu nationalist BJP facing off against Congress, whose secular vision has defined the country for most of the past 72 years.

The Times says the “cult of Modi” is set to give him another five years in power. It adds: “In the seven decades since independence, few leaders have captivated India so utterly as Mr Modi. He and the BJP, with its aggressive brand of Hindu nationalism, have changed Indian politics.”

The BBC paints Modi as a “polarising figure adored by many but also blamed for increasing divisions in India”, while Congress leader Rahul Gandhi “is trying to win over an India weary of his family's dynastic grip on politics”.

Milan Vaishnav, the director of the south Asia programme at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, says: “We are in an era where you have, once more, a central gravitational force around which Indian politics revolves.”

He concludes: “I think 2019 will confirm that the BJP has replaced the Congress as that.”

Rahul Verma, a fellow at the Delhi-based Centre for Policy Research, said: “There is no match for Modi among the opposition parties.”

The analyst added: “He’s running at nearly an all-time high popularity, he’s charismatic, and people still repose faith in him despite not being very happy with the economic side of the government’s performance.”

There has been growing concern over “the spread of violent Hindu nationalism” since Modi’s BJP came to power in 2014, notes CNN, which says the election has “left the country more divided than ever”.

The Indian election is run through a first-past-the-post system. To win, a party or a coalition needs to secure 272 seats out of 543 in the Lok Sabha, or lower house of parliament, to form a government.

Recommended

Quiz of The Week: 14 - 20 May
Speculation is mounting over the publication date of Sue Gray’s Partygate report
Quizzes and puzzles

Quiz of The Week: 14 - 20 May

Nato’s renaissance: how the world’s most powerful military alliance has taken centre stage
Long table of men at Nato summit
In Depth

Nato’s renaissance: how the world’s most powerful military alliance has taken centre stage

Curtailing abortion rights: will Republicans rue their victory?
Students protest anti-abortion measures
Talking point

Curtailing abortion rights: will Republicans rue their victory?

How the Taliban is rolling back the freedoms of the past 20 years
A burqa-clad woman
In Brief

How the Taliban is rolling back the freedoms of the past 20 years

Popular articles

The mysterious Russian oligarch deaths
Vladimir Putin has previously deployed ‘extreme measures’ to crush opposition
Why we’re talking about . . .

The mysterious Russian oligarch deaths

Depp v. Heard: what the latest battle has revealed
Amber Heard
In Depth

Depp v. Heard: what the latest battle has revealed

Is Vladimir Putin seriously ill?
Vladimir Putin
Why we’re talking about . . .

Is Vladimir Putin seriously ill?

The Week Footer Banner