As predicted by pollsters, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) swept the Lok Sabha elections. As of 10:08am today, the Election Commission data said the BJP has won 299 seats and is leading in four more while the Congress bagged 52 seats. Once all the results are declared, the NDA’s tally is likely to touch 351 while the United Progressive Alliance may be restricted at 92.
"This is not Modi’s victory," the prime minister said in his victory speech on Thursday at the BJP headquarters in New Delhi. "This is victory of honest people’s hope, this is a victory of youths who have walked on the path of 21st century with dreams."
But other BJP leaders like Rajnath Singh, Amit Shah, Sushma Swaraj, Suresh Prabhu and Ram Vilas Paswan credited Modi for the electoral triumph.
The Hindustan Times called the landslide victory "NaMoment". The daily listed three ways the saffron party achieved this feat — it said the BJP consolidated its strongholds, was flexible when it came to allying with regional parties, and cashed in on anti-incumbency sentiments in states like West Bengal and Odisha. The front page of the daily also included reactions from top opposition leaders like Rahul Gandhi, Mamata Banerjee and Mayawati.
"Chowkidar’s Chamatkar" read the headline on the front page of The Times of India. The daily said nationalism, Hindutva and welfare powered the BJP to this resounding victory. The "Modi factor" and the surgical strikes did wonders for the saffron party, according to the newspaper. The daily also said the Congress’ slogan "chowkidar chor hai" backfired and that the comments of Sam Pitroda and Mani Shankar Aiyar were ill-timed. The daily highlighted how BJP minister Smriti Irani seized Congress bastion Amethi from Rahul Gandhi.
The Telegraph kept it simple. The front page of the daily had just three words: "He is back". The newspaper called the victory "thunder of majority". "The gigantic Modi wave 2.0 rendered individual BJP candidates redundant just as it papered over economic distress, social division and quotidian concerns that normally haunt incumbent government," it said.
The Indian Express headline, "Modi 2.024", played with the year 2024 when the next Lok Sabha elections are scheduled. It said the vote surge from 0.17 billion to 0.22 billion scripted BJP’s "historic victory". The daily also highlighted the BJP’s major gains in West Bengal and Rahul Gandhi’s defeat in Amethi. It also reported the prime minister’s victory speech and how the NDA’s welfare schemes paid dividends to the saffron party.
Hindi newspaper Dainik Bhaskar’s headline read "Phir ek bar Modi sarkaar". The newspaper called Modi a magician. "A magician in whose presence even the impossible is possible," it said. "A magician who knows how to strike a chord with the people. A magician who drenches the people in his message like a sea/ocean." It said the results proved that those who try to oppose Modi collapses and only those who are with his waves are able to swim. The daily said Modi has made it clear that future politics will not be on hollow slogans.
Another Hindi daily, Amar Ujala, featured a half-page photo of Modi and the tally of different parties on its front page.
"Invincible Modi," read the headline on NavBharat Times. It said the slogan "Modi hai to mumkin hai" has been proved true after the results. The newspaper said Modi is the one and only reason for the victory. "Modi’s name created such faith in voters that no wall of religion and caste could stand in front of him and there was no meaning of any opposition alliance," it reported.
The headline of Tamil newspaper Dina Thanthi was straight. "Modi becomes Prime Minister again," it read. The daily highlighted the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam’s resounding victory in the state. The daily summed up the BJP’s victory to be a historic one. The newspaper reported that the results for 17th Lok Sabha election in one of the largest democracy was keenly watched by people from across the world.
The newspaper carried another story on the front page with the headline "No Threat to AIADMK Rule". The article explained that the AIADMK will continue to rule Tamil Nadu as it had gained enough seats in the bye-elections to 22 seats to retain its power.
Another leading Tamil daily, Dinakaran, had two lead articles on its front page. One was about the Tamil Nadu Assembly bye-elections and how Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam party and its allies won 38 seats out of 39 in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry. In the second lead article, the newspaper reported about the BJP’s victory in the Lok Sabha elections with the headline "Narendra Modi is Prime Minister again — BJP gets a resounding victory in Lok Sabha polls". The report explained how that the BJP managed to win a majority of seats in the election, becoming the single majority party in the country.
The front page of Dinakaran also carried an article with the headline "Will Edappadi’s regime topple in Tamil Nadu? — DMK wins more seats in Assembly bye-election". The newspaper reported that political observers claim the AIADMK regime might topple any moment since the DMK had won 13 of the 22 seats where bye-polls were held and the AIADMK managed to win only nine seats.
In Gujarat, leading daily Divya Bhaskar’s headline read, "National hero gets a national welcome", and a photo caption proclaimed, in Hindi, "Mitron! Modi hai toh mumkin hai (Friends, with Modi, it is possible)".
In the lead report, the paper highlighted the BJP’s clean sweeps in eight states, including Gujarat, the complete wipe out of Congress in 14 states, and the fact that Amit Shah broke LK Advani’s record by winning the Gandhinagar seat by a margin of 5.5 lakh votes. The paper also emphasised that Modi is now in the league of Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi by becoming the first prime minister in 48 years to lead his party to a complete majority win.
The newspaper Sandesh led with a headline "Sabka saath + sabka vikas + sabka vishwaas = Vijayi Bharat (together with all + development for all + faith from all = victorious India)". Various sub-headlines said that the country had been saffronised by the Modi tsunami, and that Modi now holds India’s steering wheel. The lead report described the BJP’s single-handed win over 302 seats as "Modi magic", "Modi miracle" and a "Modi tsunami".
Leading Marathi daily Lokmat went with a magazine-style full-page photo of Modi with folded hands and the words "Namo namah", a reference to Modi’s Hindutva background and campaign. Its headline read: "Beyond 300 this time". The newspaper said "Modi’s surgical strike" destroyed his opponents.
Maharashtra Times had a cartoon of Modi making the victory sign with the headline "Namotsav!". It reported that despite Rahul Gandhi’s "chowkidar chor hai" slogan, Mamata Banerjee’s jibes and two dozen opposition politicians coming together, voters rejected them all once again. "As the entire country is swept up in admiration for the BJP, everyone is celebrating the festival of NaMo," it said.
Assamese daily Amabo Assam led with the headline, "Modi back with decisive mandate". It said the public has put its faith in Modi yet again. "Although the opposition and a section of the media said the Modi wave of 2014 was a thing of the past, it is evident that this time it was a tsunami," the daily reported.
This article was originally published in Scroll.In and has been reproduced with permission.