Modi’s Third Term: Narrow Victory, Alliances and Reform Challenges

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Narendra Modi’s Coalition Triumphs for a Third Term, Despite Slimmer Majority

In an unexpected twist to India’s political landscape, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s National Democratic Alliance (NDA) has secured a third consecutive term in power, albeit with a notably narrower margin.

A Surge of Surprises

Modi, a political titan who has dominated Indian politics for close to a decade, will now lead a government reliant on the support of regional allies whose allegiances have fluctuated over time. This unprecedented scenario poses potential challenges for the new cabinet’s plans for reform.

The BJP-led NDA emerged victorious with 293 seats in the 543-member Lok Sabha (lower house of parliament), barely exceeding the simple majority threshold of 272. The opposition INDIA alliance, led by Rahul Gandhi’s Congress party, performed surprisingly well, capturing 230 seats.

Despite the NDA’s triumph, Modi’s personal vote share in his constituency of Varanasi declined significantly, suggesting that his once-unassailable popularity has waned somewhat.

The Challenge of Coalition Politics

Modi’s narrower majority means that his government will have to strike delicate compromises with its allies. For instance, the BJP’s push for a uniform civil code that would apply the same set of personal laws to all citizens, regardless of religion, may face resistance from his partners, who are more amenable towards minority rights.

Opposition’s Resurgence

The Congress party’s impressive showing under Gandhi’s leadership has reinvigorated the opposition. With nearly double the seats it won in the previous election, the Congress is expected to play a more assertive role in holding Modi’s government accountable.

Economic Outlook

Despite the uncertainty surrounding the new cabinet’s policy direction, analysts generally believe that the ruling government will maintain a focus on fiscal consolidation and infrastructure development. However, the reduced majority may make it more difficult to introduce bold economic reforms.

Modi’s Legacy

The third term will be a critical chapter in Modi’s political legacy. While his critics point to growing religious polarization and a widening economic gap, his supporters credit him with strengthening national security and improving infrastructure.

As Modi’s government embarks on this new era, India’s political and economic trajectory will be closely watched by the world. The country faces a complex balancing act between maintaining stability and addressing the various challenges presented by its diverse population and rapidly evolving economy.

Data sourced from: cnbc.com