PM Modi set for second term with bigger mandate, sweeps Hindi heartland
Lok Sabha Election Results 2019: Amit Shah said the BJP has secured over 50 per cent of the popular vote in 17 states and union territories and reduced the Congress to a “big zero” in 17 states.
Narendra Modi will be Prime Minister again, sweeping back to power today with a majority bigger than in 2014. The BJP alone is set to win 303 seats and along with its allies is leading in or has won 348 seats, far beyond the 272 they needed for a majority in the Lok Sabha.
Chants of “Modi, Modi, Modi,” filed the air at the jam-packed BJP headquarters in Delhi, where the Prime Minister delivered his victory speech on Thursday evening. “We have to move ahead with humility...taking along even our rivals,” the Prime Minister said, also adding that “a country is run by consensus.”
BJP chief Amit Shah pointed out that the party had secured over 50 per cent of the popular vote in 17 states and union territories, reduced the Congress to a “big zero” in 17 states and expanded its footprint in states such as Bengal and Odisha.
Votes are still being counted and results had only been declared for 274 seats at 10.30 pm. The United Progressive Alliance (UPA) led by the Congress will not touch three figures for a second time running. The Congress is set to win 52 seats, only 7 more than the 44 it had won in 2014, when it posted its lowest tally ever. By current trends, the party will be the second largest in the Lok Sabha, but will again fall short of qualifying for the Leader of Opposition post (a party needs to win at least 10 per cent of the total 543 seats in parliament).
In the most brutal blow, party chief Rahul Gandhi trailed the BJP’s Smriti Irani through the day in Amethi, his constituency of 15 years and a family bastion. Conceding defeat, Rahul Gandhi congratulated Smriti Irani on her victory and asked her to “take care of Amethi with love”.
On the BJP’s big win, Rahul Gandhi congratulated PM Narendra Modi and declared “I will take responsibility” for the party’s debacle. But he declined to elaborate what it would imply, pointing that this was something between him and the Congress Working Committee, the party’s highest decision-making body. Later, the Congress said the panel would meet on Saturday.
Hours before, as it became clear that the BJP was set to register another humungous win, PM Modi tweeted, “India wins yet again.” Messages poured in from world leaders including Chinese President Xi Jinping, who was among the first to send a formal congratulatory note.
Votes are also being counted for four state elections today. Andhra Pradesh chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu has lost power in Andhra Pradesh to the 46-year-old Jagan Mohan Reddy of the YSR Congress, which will not only form government in the state with an emphatic win, but is also set to be the fourth largest party in Parliament along with the Trinamool, leading in 22 seats from the state.
Naveen Patnaik’s Biju Janata Dal is winning Odisha and is set to form government for a fifth straight term.
A major contribution to the BJP’s mega performance today has come from the Hindi heartland states of Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan, which the party had swept in 2014 but lost to the Congress in assembly elections recently. The party has also made serious inroads in Mamata Banerjee’s West Bengal and has managed to minimise losses in Uttar Pradesh despite a formidable challenge from an alliance between regional heavyweights, Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party and the Samajwadi Party.
Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress is leading in 22 seats and the BJP in 18 in West Bengal. In the 2014 elections, the BJP had won just two seats in the state, Mamata’s party had won 34.
Counting of votes had started at 8 am amid tight security after the Home Ministry in Delhi sounded a nationwide alert over fears of violence. The process has been a little slow.
The battle also assumed distinct forms in distinct states where the BJP was taking on a range of regional formations, from the Samajwadi Party -Bahujan Samaj Party -Rashtriya Lok Dal alliance in Uttar Pradesh to the Trinamool Congress in West Bengal or the Biju Janata Dal in Odisha. In some other states, particularly in the south, the battle was between distinct regional formations.
The elections, held over seven phases, in 542 constituencies, witnessed the highest ever turnout in Indian history at 67.1% beating the previous record of 66.4% in the 2014 polls.