Why Modi and His Party Failed to Achieve a Third Successive Landslide Win

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will remain in office but with a substantially reduced mandate, confounding expectations of a resounding victory forecast by analysts and exit polls.

AFP report in Dawn: Critics and rights groups accused Modi of ramping up rhetoric against Muslims to unprecedented levels during his campaign in a bid to mobilise the Hindu majority.

At his rallies, he referred to Muslims as “infiltrators”, and claimed the main opposition Congress party would redistribute the nation’s wealth to Muslims if it won.

But the strategy failed to galvanise Hindu voters behind the BJP, while also solidifying minority communities’ support for the opposition.

The BJP’s vote share dropped nearly one point to 36.6 per cent from the last election five years ago, translating in India’s electoral system into a drop from 303 to 240 seats in the 543-member parliament.

Numerous voters over the course of the election told AFP that they were more concerned with India’s chronic unemployment problem than with the government’s ideological agenda.

“People were concerned about livelihood, unemployment, price rises,” Nilanjan Mukhopadhyay, the author of a Modi biography, told AFP.

“They did not relate to what Modi and the BJP were saying.”

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