Supporters of Narendra Modi, India’s Prime Minister and leader of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) celebrate vote counting results for India’s general election, at BJP headquarters in New Delhi on June 4, 2024. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was in first place on 38.1 percent with three quarters of votes counted in India’s election, national election commission data showed on June 4. — AFP

How foreign media covered Indian elections 2024, Modi’s 3rd win

As the mammoth electoral process concluded with some unexpected results, international media had interesting insights into the winners and not-so-losers.
Published June 5, 2024

In the past two days, international media has had its pages hued in orange as it reported the results of the Indian general elections, which saw their incumbent Prime Minister Narendra Modi secure a third term while the opposition also made rather surprising gains.

As the six-week electoral exercise went through seven phases and saw heated rhetoric, media reports extensively covered Modi’s anti-Muslim rhetoric and a “dangerous mixing of politics, mythology and communalism”, as noted by a Dawn editorial.

The elections saw Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) lose its outright majority in the parliament as it was held back to 240 seats on its own — 32 short of the halfway mark in the 543-member decision-making lower house.

However, the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) won 293 seats in total, more than the 272 needed to form a government, helping Modi retain his role as the premier.

Meanwhile, the opposition INDIA alliance led by Rahul Gandhi’s centrist Congress party won 230 seats — more than forecast. Congress alone won 99, almost double the 52 it won in 2019. takes a detailed look at the reporting and opinions carried by publications around the world about the Indian elections.

US media

CNN’s live coverage banner read “Modi declares victory in India election as BJP party faces shock setbacks”.

In an analysis piece, it noted that “voters in the world’s largest democracy partially rejected Modi’s populist vision for a Hindu-first nation”.

 A headline of a piece published by <em>CNN</em>.
A headline of a piece published by CNN.

While a CNN report highlighted the wealth gap in Mumbai, another quoted critics as noting a “clear shift” in this year’s elections with Modi himself using inflammatory language.

A notable defeat was Modi losing the Ayodhya seat, which had seen a flamboyant inauguration of the Ram Temple. Newsweek termed it a “stunning defeat in [Modi’s] backyard”.

 A headline of a piece published by <em>Newsweek</em>.
A headline of a piece published by Newsweek.

The New York Times illustrated the Indian premier’s win: “Modi struggles to stay on top”.

“Modi’s air of invincibility was punctured,” it stated, along with a prediction of a “game of musical chairs” as coalition politics marked their return.

“Indian voters have finally woken up,” an opinion piece on the NYT highlighted.

 A headline of a piece published by the <em>NYT</em>.
A headline of a piece published by the NYT.

In a profile piece published on Tuesday, Associated Press described the Indian premier as a “popular but polarising leader”.

 A headline of a piece published by <em>Associated Press</em>.
A headline of a piece published by Associated Press.

The Washington Post called the elections a “stunning setback” for Modi and his party.

 A headline of a piece published by the <em>The Washington Post</em>.
A headline of a piece published by the The Washington Post.

British media

As the elections were under way, BBC detailed Modi’s “brand” and his party’s “divisive politics” in the piece ‘Narendra Modi’s India: A decade of popularity and polarisation’.

The Independent described the poll results as an “unexpected neck-and-neck fight” as it explained what “Modi’s underperformance means for a resurgent opposition alliance”.

A day prior to the vote counting, it reported on “why a third term for Modi could be ‘catastrophic’ for India’s 200 million Muslims”.

 A headline of a piece published by the <em>The Independent</em>.
A headline of a piece published by the The Independent.

Indian media

Media based in the electoral battleground also shed light on the results that defied expectations.

An opinion piece in The Quint termed it a “difficult win for Modi and BJP [and] an honourable defeat for Congress and INDIA”.

 A headline of a piece published by the <em>The Quint</em>.
A headline of a piece published by the The Quint.

Another opinion highlighted that Dalits and employed youth contributed to the BJP’s “humiliation” in Uttar Pradesh.

Times of India detailed how a small drop in the BJP vote share led to a “big dent” in the seats’ tally.

One opinion in Hindustan Times declared: “There is only one message from the 2024 general elections — the mirror has cracked.”

On the flip side, another viewpoint published in Hindustan Times stressed “tables have turned for Naveen Patnaik and the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) in Odisha” where the BJP won.