THE recent general elections in India have given the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), led by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), a weak mandate to govern the country. Narendra Modi received a massive setback, but he and his party were brought down by their own hubris. The repeatedly expressed desire of absolute majority in parliament stands completely thrashed. More than that, however, Modi and BJP have suffered a reputational damage as they have failed to get even a simple majority. This will surely weaken the man politically inside the party. As prime minister, Modi will struggle to showcase his ill-famed decision-making powers.

BJP’s defeat in some of its core areas means Modi will be facing new realities to keep good humour. Besides, major legislative changes cannot be enforced without consensus within the ruling coalition, and the will of the opposition.

Now that Modi knows that his tough-handedness and arrogance did not serve his cause in the elections, he might revisit his strategy, and opt for the soft touch.

All said and done, the general elections have again shown that India remains a competitive electoral democracy. Elections in India have always worked as a corrective mechanism, and this time was no different.

Shafi Ahmed Khowaja & Dr Pooja Merchant
Hyderabad

Published in Dawn, June 14th, 2024

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