Modi claims victory in Indian elections despite drop in support

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi declared victory for his alliance in general elections, but it wasn’t the landslide he had been predicting. The transformative yet divisive leader fell short of his party’s goal of winning an unassailable majority after voters reduced his party’s grip on power.

“Today is a glorious day… National Democratic Alliance (NDA) is going to form the government for the third time, we are grateful to the people,” Modi told cheering supporters at his party headquarters in New Delhi, referring to the initials of his political alliance. “This is a victory for the world’s largest democracy.”

Modi is set to form a government with the help of his NDA allies, a third consecutive term and a landmark that makes him one of the most successful politicians in post-independence India. His Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party, or BJP, and allied parties appeared to have secured almost 300 of 543 seats in Parliament, early election results showed, which would give them a simple majority. But for the first time since the BJP swept to power in 2014, it did not secure a majority on its own. It won 240 seats with the opposition performing better than expected after exit polls suggested Modi’s alliance was cruising toward an overwhelming victory.

This is not how the election was supposed to go for Modi, who has a vast base of supporters both at home and among the large Indian diaspora who see him as responsible for India’s rocketing economy and rising confidence on the world stage. According to Morning Consult, Modi is by far the world’s most popular leader, with an approval rating of 74%.

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