Narendra Modi, India's prime minister, greets supporters at the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) headquarters during election results night in New Delhi, India, on Tuesday, June 4, 2024. Image Credit: Bloomberg

Dubai: India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi looked set on Tuesday to retain power at the head of a ruling coalition, but his Bharatiya Janata Party lost its outright majority, as results from India’s general elections poured in.

The outcome was a shot in the arm for India’s main opposition Congress after poll results showed the grand old party was close to doubling its seats.

Modi said people had placed their faith in the BJP-led coalition for a third time and it was historic, in his first comments since counting of votes began.

“I bow to the people for this affection and assure them that we will continue the good work done in the last decade to keep fulfilling the aspirations of people,” he posted on X.

He also thanked BJP members, saying “words will never do justice to their exceptional efforts”.

The BJP-led National Democratic Alliance had won or were leading in 292 seats to the Lok Sabha, with the Indian National Developmental Alliance (INDIA) winning 232 seats.

BJP supporters
Supporters of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) cheer while listening to India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the BJP headquarters to celebrate the party’s win in country's general election, in New Delhi on June 4, 2024. Image Credit: AFP

The BJP itself had won or was leading in 240 constituencies, down from 303 it had won in 2019.

The party or alliance that wins 272 seats in the 543-member lower House of Parliament can stake claim to form the government.

Two key regional allies in the NDA endorsed Modi as the next prime minister, rejecting local media speculation that they could be wavering in their support or possibly switch sides.

The Telugu Desam Party (TDP) and Janata Dal (United) said their pre-poll alliance with BJP was intact and they would form the next government.

Uttar Pradesh decides

It is often said that the road to Delhi is through Uttar Pradesh, the state that sends 80 MPs to the Lok Sabha. This time the state voted in favour of the opposition INDIA bloc, electing 35 contestants from the Samajwadi Party and 7 from the Congress. The BJP, which won 62 seats in Uttar Pradesh in 2019, was leading in only 33 this time.

Stock market plunges

India’s stock market plummeted over the poll outcome, erasing $386 billion in market value.

The NSE Nifty 50 Index tumbled 5.9% in Mumbai, its worst day in more than four years. The rupee fell the most in a year and the 10-year yield rose.

Boost for Congress

India’s main opposition Congress got a boost after the poll results and enthusiastic party supporters were beating drums and waving giant flags at the party headquarters in the capital New Delhi.

Figures from the election commission projected Congress to grab 99 seats, significantly higher than the 52 it managed in 2019.

Congress supporters credited its above-par performance to the “astute” leadership of Rahul Gandhi, the most prominent leader of the party.

Kerala bastion breached

The BJP made inroads into Kerala for the first time when filmstar Suresh Gopi won the Thrissur seat.

“What was very impossible became gloriously possible,” said the actor who contested the seat for the second time after losing in the last general elections in 2019.

India’s pollsters get it wrong again

An aggregate of 14 exit polls on June 1 had given 365 Lok Sabha seats to the NDA, up from the 352 it had won in 2019, and just 146 to the INDIA alliance.

Three of the exit polls, had even said that the NDA could win 400 seats.

The results have shown that the pollsters were off the mark by a huge margin.