Modi Set To Match Nehru’s Record

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For the first time since 1962, a government has returned for the third time after completing its two terms – Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

With the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led National Democratic Alliance being voted by people for a third term in a row with 293 Lok Sabha seats the stage is set for Narendra Modi’s hat-trick in the Prime Minister’s office. This, indeed, is a rare feat though aura surrounding the man’s invincibility has dimmed a little with BJP on its own failing to win a majority in the lower house of the parliament as it did last time.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, while addressing party workers at the BJP headquarters in New Delhi hailed the mandate for the NDA and a successive third term, and said, “For the first time since 1962, a government has returned for the third time after completing its two terms.” It was a neck-and-neck fight between the NDA and the Opposition INDIA bloc for a long time as counting progressed. The alliance managed to secure 232 seats in the elections which was much better than its performance in 2019.

In contrast to exit poll predictions which gave a landslide victory to the ruling alliance, the BJP fell short of a majority on its own. It has, thus, become dependent on alliance partners to form the government for the first time. While BJP and NDA leaders hailed the victory as unprecedented foreign media had its own take on this.

‘Indian election delivers stunning setback to Modi and his party’ said The Washington Post adding that the verdict was an unexpected repudiation of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s leadership.

 

‘Modi loses parliamentary majority in Indian election’ said The Guardian which argued that the landslide for the BJP predicted in polls had not materialised and instead there had been a pushback against the strongman prime minister. The British daily also noted that the BJP sensed a “sign of nervousness” during the election campaign and “turned to more polarising religious rhetoric.”

Underlining that the PM was headed for a reduced majority in the Lok Sabha elections this year, the BBC stated, “the election was seen by many as a referendum on Mr Modi’s decade in office, during which he has transformed many aspects of life in India, so this would be a major upset.”

‘Needing Help to Stay in Power, Modi Loses His Aura of Invincibility’ said The New York Times which started its report by noting, “Suddenly, the aura of invincibility around Narendra Modi has been shattered.”

Terming the results as “unexpectedly sobering,” the NYT noted that they were a “sharp reversal a decade into Mr. Modi’s transformational tenure.”

“For Mr. Modi, a generous reading of the outcome could be that only with his personal push could his party overcome its unpopularity at the local level and scrape by. Or it could be that his carefully cultivated brand has now peaked, and that he can no longer outrun the anti-incumbency sentiment that eventually catches up with almost any politician,” the paper felt.

But none of this can change the fact that under Modi the BJP has emerged as India’s largest party at the hustings yet again. Even though he now seems dependent on the allies to form a government, which could be a restricting factor for him, he emerges from the results as the country’s most powerful leader.

By becoming Prime Minister of the country for the third time in a row Narendra Modi would be matching the electoral record of the first prime minister of India, Jawaharlal Nehru. All said and done, Modi keeps winning because he has succeeded in generating a pro-BJP sentiment among the people. He wins because he makes people feel proud of their country. This has happened for the first time.

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