June 4, 2024 - Modi declares victory in India election as BJP party faces shock setbacks | CNN (2024)

Table of Contents
What we covered here Photos: Scenes from India's general election Analysis: Modi, Ambani and Adani — the men shaping India’s economy Analysis: Is India's free press not so free after a decade of Modi? Meet the winners of India's economic boom Analysis: Under Modi, India's military has grown stronger Analysis: India has grown closer to US under Modi What's changed since India's first election? In an India divided by prosperity and poverty, whose dreams come true? Modi's party loses India's most populous state Modi enjoys bipartisan support among majority of Indian diaspora in the US, expert says Indian election authorities confirm victory for Prime Minister Modi’s alliance What has a decade of Modi done for India's economy? Modi's inability to win a supermajority is a "wake-up call" to a leader who is still popular, analyst says Who is Narendra Modi? What is Modi promising voters? Analysis: Modi spotlights coalition alliance, sidestepping election upsets Modi has declared victory in the 2024 election, but results are still coming in. Here's where things stand Who are the ruling party's likely coalition partners? India's Modi declares victory in nationwide election Shock defeat for BJP in town where Modi inaugurated controversial temple Modi's failure to define a single election issue may have lost him support among voters, analyst says How will LGBTQ people be impacted by India's election? Surprise results put Modi off track from his expected landslide victory. Here's what to know India's Modi claims "historical" victory in post on X Opposition leader says they're in fight to "save constitution" In pictures: India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi Modi's BJP wins a seat in Kerala — the first time the party has done so in the southern state After a decade dominating Indian politics, Modi may be forced to navigate a new coalition Modi headed for 2 days of island meditation as election neared end Smaller parties to increase leverage if current trends hold Early election results show the BJP was "tripped up by its own over-confidence," analyst says Early results show Modi might fall short of outright majority and need coalition partners to form government India’s economy just grewby more than 8% "God has sent me," Modi told supporters on campaign trail Rising Hindu nationalism leaves Muslims fearful in Varanasi, India's holy city India's Modi wins his seat in Varanasi Opposition candidate says results show Indians have voted against "hatred and dictatorship" What is a supermajority and why is it so important to Modi's BJP? Indian stocks have worst day in 4 years as Modi's supermajority hopes fade What is the Indian National Congress and where are they now? More results are trickling in. Here's where things stand India's main opposition to meet the press in an hour Record 100% turnout of transgender voters in Himachal Pradesh state Despite extreme heat over the election, climate change takes a back seat for voters Early results suggest Indian voters are putting Modi on notice, journalist says Analysis: BJP still likely to win, but dreams of a supermajority are at risk It's 3:30 p.m. local time. Here's where the results stand Ruling party's supporters call for more mosque demolitions after controversial Ram Mandir temple inauguration How strong is the opposition contending in India’s election? Analysis: China is watching India's election very closely India's next prime minister must create more factories BJP supporters feel less hopeful about winning a supermajority – but still believe in a Modi victory Congress supporters say "India will be a broken country" if BJP is re-elected Who is Rahul Gandhi? Despite BJP's early lead, the mood is festive in Congress party's headquarters How India's infrastructure has transformed in a decade Saffron flags, giant Modi posters and a mixed mood at BJP headquarters as early results roll in Modi supporters on results day: "He has come to us as an instrument of God" India's stock market plunges on early preliminary results What are the issues at stake in India's election? Religious tensions and "bread and butter" issues: What Indians are voting on, analyst says The ruling BJP is leading — but the opposition Congress is making strides too In the world's biggest election, millions of migrants were unable to vote In pictures: The indelible ink behind India's election Analysis: Modi and ruling BJP embraced Islamophobic rhetoric on campaign trail BJP wins first seat unopposed in Modi's home state How is India counting its 642 million votes? Who are the contenders in India's election? Vote counting begins in world's biggest election What to watch for as India counts its votes Indians voted as extreme, deadly heat engulfed parts of the country Indian stocks hit record highs as exit polls suggest big Modi win Record haul of election bribes seized by Indian authorities The world's largest election, in numbers Modi confident of victory after polls close in India election 642 million people voted in India's election, official says Wealth gap worries voters in India's richest city What makes India's elections unique? FAQs References

By Rhea Mogul, Jessie Yeung, Diksha Madhok, Antoinette Radford and Tori B. Powell, CNN

Updated 5:22 PM EDT, Tue June 4, 2024

June 4, 2024 - Modi declares victory in India election as BJP party faces shock setbacks | CNN (1)

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Pollster brought to tears on air over error in election results

00:58 - Source: CNN

What we covered here

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi will serve a third term in office after India’s election authority confirmed the National Democratic Alliance coalition headed by his ruling Bharatiya Janata Party won the required 272 seats for a majority.
  • However, the result was a stunning blow to Modi, who had triumphantly vowed to win a 400-seat supermajority in this year’s election – and romped to victory in the last two contests with a simple majority for the BJP, turning his Hindu nationalist right-wing party into an electoral juggernaut.
  • India’s opposition, which had largely been written off in the polls and by many analysts, portrayed the result as a rejection of Modi’s divisive style.
  • All 642 million votes cast during six weeks of the world’s biggest election, which ended on June 1, are being counted today.Votes are being tallied under an extreme heat wave that has killed dozens of people.

79 Posts

Photos: Scenes from India's general election

The votes were counted Tuesday after the world’s largest election was held in India.

From April 19 to June 1, more than 640 million people cast their vote at polling stations from the high peaks of the Himalayas to the remote jungles of the west.

Prime Minister Narendra Modideclared victory on Tuesday – but hisgoal of winning an unassailable majority lay in tatters with early results showing voters reduced the extent of his party’s grip on power.

June 4, 2024 - Modi declares victory in India election as BJP party faces shock setbacks | CNN (2)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is greeted by supporters as he arrives at the BJP headquarters in New Delhi on Tuesday.

June 4, 2024 - Modi declares victory in India election as BJP party faces shock setbacks | CNN (3)

Election officials carry sealed electronic voting machines at a counting center in Mumbai on Tuesday.

June 4, 2024 - Modi declares victory in India election as BJP party faces shock setbacks | CNN (4)

A person wears a badge of Shiv Sena (Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray) party symbol as it's smeared with color during celebrations at the party office after election results outside the party office in Mumbai on Tuesday.

June 4, 2024 - Modi declares victory in India election as BJP party faces shock setbacks | CNN (5)

Trinamool Congress party members celebrate in Kolkata on Tuesday.

June 4, 2024 - Modi declares victory in India election as BJP party faces shock setbacks | CNN (6)

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi gestures at the BJP headquarters in New Delhi.

Analysis: Modi, Ambani and Adani — the men shaping India’s economy

Analysis from CNN’s Diksha Madhok
June 4, 2024 - Modi declares victory in India election as BJP party faces shock setbacks | CNN (7)

Gautam Adani (left), Narendra Modi (center) and Mukesh Ambani (right) are building modern India.

In less than a decade, Asia’s richest man Mukesh Ambani has upended India’s telecom sector and become a top player in sectors ranging from media to retail as chairman of India’s most valuable private company: Reliance Industries.

His ambition and breathless pace of expansion is matched by Gautam Adani, founder of the Adani group, who helms businesses ranging from ports and power to defense and aerospace.

Reliance Industries and the Adani Group are sprawling conglomerates worth over $200 billion each, with businesses in sectors ranging from fossil fuels and clean energy to media and technology.

Investors have been cheering the duo’s ability to adroitly bet on sectors prioritized for development by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

As a result, these three men — Modi, Ambani and Adani — are playing a fundamental role in shaping the economic superpower India will become in the coming decades.

The South Asian country is poised to become a 21st-century economic powerhouse, offering a real alternative to China for investors hunting for growth and manufacturers looking to reduce risks in their supply chains.

Worth $3.7 trillion in 2023, India is the world’s fifth largest economy, jumping four spots in the rankings during Modi’s decade in office and leapfrogging the United Kingdom.

Sustained expansion will push India higher up the ranks of the world’s biggest economies, with some observers forecasting the South Asian nation to become number three behind only the US and China by 2027.

Despite these successes, soaring youth unemployment and inequality remain stubbornly persistent problems. In 2022, the country ranked a lowly 147 on gross domestic product (GDP) per person, a measure of living standards, according to the World Bank.

To spur growth, the Modi government has begun a massive infrastructure transformation and heavily promoting digital connectivity — with Adani and Ambani becoming key allies.

Both tycoons are considered vocal champions of Modi, and prominent politicians from opposition parties in India have often questioned Modi’s ties with India’s super-rich.

Read the full analysis.

CNN’s Jessie Yeung contributed to this report from Mumbai.

Analysis: Is India's free press not so free after a decade of Modi?

Analysis from CNN’s Aishwarya S. Iyer
June 4, 2024 - Modi declares victory in India election as BJP party faces shock setbacks | CNN (8)

A vendor reads a newspaper next to his stall on a roadside in New Delhi on February 1.

India is one of the largest media markets in the world, according to Reporters Without Borders (RSF), with more than 20,000 daily newspapers across the country and about 450 privately owned channels dedicated to news, which broadcast in dozens of languages.

Yet despite its size and diversity, critics say the media industry is growing increasingly subservient to Modi’s government.

India fell 25 places on the Press Freedom Index between 2015 and 2023, to 161st place — below neighboring Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Nepal. In the latest index for this year it rose slightly to 159th place but remains below all neighbors except Bangladesh (165th).

“There has been a sharp deterioration in the status of media over the last 10 years,” Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) India representative Kunal Majumder told CNN, adding that this included imprisonment and invoking terror laws to criminalize journalists.

There has also been an uptick, it said, in the use of anti-terror laws — which allow for detention without trial or charge for up to 180 days — against reporters.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has not taken a single solo press conference in his decade-long rule.

The government of the popular but divisive leader stands accused by opponents of suppressing media pluralism.

Modi critics fear further erosion of the protections afforded to India’s free press if he is elected.

Meet the winners of India's economic boom

From CNN's Jessie Yeung, Priti Gupta and Esha Mitra
June 4, 2024 - Modi declares victory in India election as BJP party faces shock setbacks | CNN (9)

Slums are seen near commercial high-rise buildings in Mumbai, India, on April 14.

More than 40% of India’s 1.4 billion people are under 25: a tech-savvy and mostly English-speaking labor force. Like millions of migrants, many of them are drawn to the country’s financial capital Mumbai, full of aspiration and ambition. And it’s stories like these that inspire them.

June 4, 2024 - Modi declares victory in India election as BJP party faces shock setbacks | CNN (10)

Javed Khatri poses for a picture during an interview with CNN in Mumbai on April 16.

The tech developer: Growing up in the slums of Mumbai, Javed Khatri never used a smartphone or computer.

But unlike many children in the slums, he completed 10th grade – the first person in four generations of his family to do so – then studied computer science at an engineering college.

He is now building an online platform to connect tech firms with engineers. He moved his family out of the slum, and supports his parents. Both his siblings went to college and pursued their own careers.

None of this would have been possible a generation ago, he says.

June 4, 2024 - Modi declares victory in India election as BJP party faces shock setbacks | CNN (11)

Apoorva Mukhija poses for a picture at her apartment in Mumbai on April 13.

The influencer: Apoorva Mukhija hadn’t planned to be a content creator, so after graduation she took a job with a tech firm in Bangalore, the southern city known as “India’s Silicon Valley.”

“Then one day I just woke up, realized … (my job) just didn’t pay as well as content did, and I hated living in that city,” Mukhija, 22, tells CNN from a pastel-pink couch at her new apartment in Mumbai, which she says is her “dream city.”

Her career has thrived, winning her recognition from local media and amassing 1.3 million Instagram followers.

The internet holds a wealth of opportunities for young Indians.The country’s influencer marketing industry is expected to be worth more than $281 million in 2024, according to consultancy EY India. Smartphones and social media are fueling this growth.

June 4, 2024 - Modi declares victory in India election as BJP party faces shock setbacks | CNN (12)

Jameel Shah poses for a photo in Mumbai on April 14.

The shoemaker: At age 13, Jameel Shah ran away from his village in Bihar, India’s poorest state, where his father wasn’t earning enough from farming to send the kids to school.

In Mumbai, he saw an opportunity in the expensive imported dance shoes required for dance classes.

He took two samples back to the narrow alleys of Dharavi, a hub for leather and textile manufacturers. With their expertise, and his own experience working in bag and wallet factories, Shah began experimenting.

The business grew, attracting stylists and choreographers who redistributed the shoes to dance studios. And they even made it onto the big screen.

Almost two decades later, Shah Shoes has helped support his family. He’s bought a house for his parents and started an education center in his home village teaching literacy to those who can’t afford school.

A key tool was the rise of social media, particularly Facebook, helping him find customers – which Shah credited to Prime Minister Modi’s push for a “digital India.”

Read the full story.

Analysis: Under Modi, India's military has grown stronger

Analysis from CNN’s Brad Lendon
June 4, 2024 - Modi declares victory in India election as BJP party faces shock setbacks | CNN (13)

The National Cadet Corps personnel march during a rehearsal ahead of the Republic Day parade in New Delhi on January 17.

India’s armed forces, the world’s second-largest in terms of personnel, have made big improvements in their abilities under Prime Minister Narendra Modi — but face challenges no matter who wins the election, an analyst said.

Viraj Solanki, a research fellow at the International Institute for Strategic Studies, said the armed forces have centralized control under Modi while making improvements to joint operations based on the theater where forces are deployed, rather than what each service would like to do.

Those include setting up integrated battle groups along the country’s borders with China and Pakistan, Solanki said.

China, whose People’s Liberation Army is the world’s biggest military force, represents India’s biggest worry going forward, he said.

“India’s ‘military clout’ remains clearly below China’s” and can be expected to remain so, especially since Beijing’s defense budget is three times as large as New Delhi’s, Solanki added.

The Modi government has stepped up defense ties with the United States, Japan and Australia — members of the Quad partnership along with India — as a way to offset China’s advantages.

But Solanki said improvements to the Indian military are hamstrung by two key factors.More than half of its defense budget is spent on personnel and pensions, and much of its hardware is of Russian or Soviet origin, meaning spare parts and upgrades may be in short supply as Moscow’s war in Ukraine soaks up those resources.

Analysis: India has grown closer to US under Modi

From CNN’s Rhea Mogul
June 4, 2024 - Modi declares victory in India election as BJP party faces shock setbacks | CNN (14)

US President Joe Biden and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi walk to a meeting at the White House in Washington, DC, during Modi's state visit to the US in June 2023.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi was once shunned by the United States.

Denied a visa for “severe violations of religious freedom,” he was effectively banned from entering the country for nearly a decade.

But in the years since that ban was lifted, Modi has been progressively embraced by the White House.

While the US has positioned itself as a democratic protector in an increasingly populist and polarized era, it has seemingly turned a blind eye to New Delhi’s alleged human rights abuses at home — where the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party has come under scrutiny from rights groups and opposition lawmakers for its increasingly strident brand of Hindu nationalist politics and an ongoing crackdown on dissent.

Modi and India, the world’s largest democracy, are necessarily a lynchpin in Biden’s strategy in Asia. As the world’s most populous country, no major global challenge, from climate change to advances in technology, can be addressed without India’s buy-in, in Biden’s view.

Both New Delhi and Washington are becoming increasingly uneasy about Beijing’s growing military might, aggressive territorial claims on land and at sea, and growing economic influence over its smaller neighbors.

In an era of growing tensions between the US and China, there are few partners that Biden is more eager to cultivate.

What's changed since India's first election?

From Esha Mitra in New Delhi

India’s first general elections began in October 1951, four years after it gained independence from British rule, and soon after it became a republic in 1950.

The election lasted about four months and the Indian National Congress emerged victorious in February 1952.

Population boom: India then had a population of about 361 million people with 173 million registered electors.

Since then, the population has increased nearly four-fold to 1.429 billion, with more than five times the number of eligible voters, according to the Election Commission of India.

From paper to voting machines: In the first elections, Indians used paper ballots to cast their votes.

Electronic voting machines were first used in the state of Kerala in 1982. But because there was no law prescribing their use, the Supreme Court struck down that election. In 1989 laws were amended to allow the use of voting machines after consensus was reached.

In recent years, the validity of voting machines has again been questioned — this time by opposition parties that say they are being misused to favor the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) — an allegation the BJP denies.

In an India divided by prosperity and poverty, whose dreams come true?

From CNN's Jessie Yeung, Priti Gupta and Esha Mitra
June 4, 2024 - Modi declares victory in India election as BJP party faces shock setbacks | CNN (15)

From left, Rupali Rao Kilare and Shreya Verma pose for a picture.

At 7 a.m., Rupali Rao Kilare starts getting ready for the day in the cramped home she shares with five family members.

Though the sun has long risen, some alleys remain pitch dark as she weaves through the slum where she lives in Mumbai’s Goregaon West neighborhood, its narrow walls wedged between tightly packed buildings that block the light.

Kilare, 22, must hurry to beat the crowds at the slum’s communal toilets, before taking a three-wheeled auto-rickshaw to her boss’ home for her cleaning shift.

June 4, 2024 - Modi declares victory in India election as BJP party faces shock setbacks | CNN (16)

Kilare walks along a crowded alley as she goes back home after her daytime cleaning shift — with more shifts later in the evening.

Just 3 miles (about 5 kilometers) away in Goregaon East, Shreya Verma, 26, stirs awake in her air-conditioned bedroom, pulls back the curtains and takes in the view of greenery and high-rise buildings.

Throwing on a blazer and heels, she hops in an Uber to her marble-floored office at an international tech firm.

June 4, 2024 - Modi declares victory in India election as BJP party faces shock setbacks | CNN (17)

Verma plays the ukulele inside her bedroom.

Though the two women are separated by only a few years in age and a 20-minute drive, their starkly different lives illustrate India’s deepening wealth divide – and the inequality that has empowered some to reach new heights alongside the country’s fast-growing economy, while others are left behind.

That inequality has come under particular scrutiny during India’s election.

Though Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been credited with advancing India’s $3.7 trillion economy and bringing the country closer to becoming a global superpower, India remains a largely impoverished nation and its wealth gap is more unequal than it was during British rule.

Read the full story.

Modi's party loses India's most populous state

From Manveena Suri

India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has lost one of its most strategic strongholds, the northern state of Uttar Pradesh, dealing a massive blow to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his allies.

The opposition INDIA alliance won 43 out of 80 seats, results from the election commission show — a huge shock for a state that is known as a bastion for the BJP.

The bellwether state, also the country’s most populous, is home to about 200 million people, and is currently governed by a firebrand monk-turned-politician, Yogi Adityanath, whose controversial Hindu-first policies have polarized its people along religious lines.

Modi contested from the state, winning his seat in the constituency of Varanasi for the third time. Also known as India’s spiritual capital, it’s a city where tens of thousands of devotees come to pray and gain enlightenment.

But that the BJP has lost majority seats in the states will come as a big surprise for Modi and his right-wing party.

Located in the heart of the nation’s “Hindi belt” — the predominantly Hindi-speaking Indian states where support for Modi and the devotion of his followers is especially strong — it is a state that is often referred to as a litmus test for voter sentiment in India.

Modi enjoys bipartisan support among majority of Indian diaspora in the US, expert says

From CNN’s Aditi Sangal in New York
June 4, 2024 - Modi declares victory in India election as BJP party faces shock setbacks | CNN (18)

US President Joe Biden is officially welcomed to the G20 Summit by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi, on September 9, 2023.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi enjoys bipartisan support among the majority of Indian Americans, according to Milan Vaishnav, director of the South Asia Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

The diaspora has long pushed for stronger ties between Washington and New Delhi and yearned to see India as a key global player, Vaishnav said. “They see their hopes for India bearing fruit under Modi,” he said.

As international firms look to diversify operations away from China, and the risk of tensions between Beijing and Washington, Modi is “going around the world, talking about how India is open for business again,” Vaishnav said.

While there are many policies that business and trade stakeholders are unhappy with, Vaishnav said, “the feeling is that the needle is pointed in the right direction. Business looks at the opposition and they feel it would be much worse for the bottom line.”

Despite this majority view, there is a “significant minority” — comprising non-Hindus and younger generations of Indian Americans born in the US — that is concerned about the decline in democracy and secularism in India, Vaishnav noted.

But two issues matter most to the Indian diaspora: economics, where they feel corruption is down and growth rates are good, and hard power foreign policy.

“We are in a dangerous, complicated world with an emerging conflict between US and China, and they want India to be more aligned with US, and more visible in all of our global fora: G20, UNSC, etc.,” Vaishnav said.

Read more about Modi and his opposition.

Indian election authorities confirm victory for Prime Minister Modi’s alliance

From CNN's Kunal Sehgal, Rhea Mogul and Manveena Suri

India’s election authority confirmed a victory for the coalition headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Modi gave a victory speech earlier at his Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) headquarters.

The BJP-led National Democratic Alliance secured the majority needed with 272 seats. The final votes are still being tallied as the mammoth vote-counting operation draws to a close.

What has a decade of Modi done for India's economy?

From CNN’s Diksha Madhok in New Delhi and Rachel Wilson
June 4, 2024 - Modi declares victory in India election as BJP party faces shock setbacks | CNN (19)

A pedestrian passes the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) building in Mumbai in February.

India is poised to become a 21st-century economic powerhouse, offering an alternative to China for investors and consumer brands hunting for growth and manufacturers looking to reduce supply chain risks.

Ties between China and the West are increasingly frayed, but India enjoys healthy relations with most major economies.

So, is the hype around India’s economy, which remains a largely impoverished country, justified?

Still very poor: India’s economy was worth $3.7 trillion in 2023, making it the world’s fifth largest, having jumped four spots in the rankings during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s decade in office.

India’s economy grewby more than 8% in the fiscal year that ended in March, according to data published Friday.

But India could do much more to raise its gross domestic product (GDP) per person, a measure of living standards according to which it ranked a lowly 147 in 2022.

Building modern India: India is spending billions on building roads, ports, airports and railways. It added nearly 55,000 kilometers (around 35,000 miles) to its highway network, an increase of 60% in the overall length, between 2014 and 2023. And in recent years, the country has also built a range of tech infrastructure platforms.

Stock market superpower: The excitement around India’s growth potential is reflected in its stock market, which has been hitting record highs. The National Stock Exchange of India has overtaken both the Shenzhen Stock Exchange and the Hong Kong Exchange to become the world’s sixth-largest bourse.

Humming factories: As international firms look to diversify their operations away from China, India has launched a program worth $26 billion to attract companies to set up manufacturing in 14 sectors.

Where are the jobs? If re-elected, Modi has to tackle the enormous challenge of creating hundreds of millions of jobs for a population that remains largely impoverished.

With an average age of 29 years, India has one of the youngest populations globally, but the country is not yet able to reap the potential economic benefits from its large, youthful population.

Modi's inability to win a supermajority is a "wake-up call" to a leader who is still popular, analyst says

From CNN's Antoinette Radford
June 4, 2024 - Modi declares victory in India election as BJP party faces shock setbacks | CNN (20)

Narendra Modi is seen at the BJP party headquarters during election results night in New Delhi on Tuesday.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will need a coalition partner to form a government, but this may be challenging since Modi has centralized power both in the country – and in his own party, Neelanjan Sircar, a senior fellow at the Center for Policy Research told CNN from Singapore.

Sircar noted that many “red lines were crossed” by Modi, using state institutions against opposition leaders and the media.

He said that voters on the ground felt that “certain lines have been crossed,” even if they didn’t say so explicitly.

Who is Narendra Modi?

From CNN’s Rhea Mogul
June 4, 2024 - Modi declares victory in India election as BJP party faces shock setbacks | CNN (21)

India'sPrimeMinisterNarendraModiwavestowardshissupportersduringaroadshowinVaranasi,on April25,2019.

Born into poverty three years after India’s independence, Narendra Modi has ascended to the pinnacle of the nation’s political landscape.

Modi’s father Damordas was a “chaiwallah”, or tea seller, at the family’s local train station in the western state of Gujarat. Modi said he helped his father sell tea as the family struggled to make ends meet – which he said helped him understand the problems plaguing Indian society at the grassroots level.

Modi entered Indian politics at just 8 years old when he enrolled in classes at the local branch of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, a right-wing organization that advocates for the supremacy of Hinduism in India. He joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) as a young man and worked his way up the ranks, becoming chief minister of the wealthy state of Gujarat.

He was first elected prime minister in 2014 with a roaring majority on a ticket of nationalism and development. While he is credited with implementing economic and social reforms, the BJP’s majoritarian policies have polarized the nation, dividing it across religious lines.

His reelection in 2019 signaled to many analysts that India was shifting away from its founding secular roots to a Hindu-first state, something that accelerated during Modi’s second term.

This year’s election is a pivotal moment in the nation’s post-independence era, with the outcome capable of shaping the country’s trajectory with Modi at its helm.

What is Modi promising voters?

From CNN’s Helen Regan, Rhea Mogul and Kunal Sehgal
June 4, 2024 - Modi declares victory in India election as BJP party faces shock setbacks | CNN (22)

Women wait to enter a polling station to cast their votes during the fifth phase of India’s general election in Howrah district of the eastern state of West Bengal, India, on May 20.

The Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) campaign manifesto centers on job creation and anti-poverty and development programs, with a particular focus on women, the poor, young people and farmers.

Modi wants to turn India into a global manufacturing hub, continue its massive infrastructure transformation, and achieve energy independence by 2047.

Worth $3.7 trillion in 2023, India is the world’s fifth-largest economy, having jumped four spots in the rankings during his decade in office. Modi has pledged that India will have the world’s third-largest economy during a possible third term.

However, economic successes have been slow to trickle down to the country’s poorest and India’s gross domestic product (GDP) per person is ranked a lowly 147 in 2022, according to the World Bank.

Modi wants India to become a permanent member of the UN Security Council, will push to bid for the 2036 Summer Olympics and aims to land an astronaut on the moon, and has pledged to transform the country into a developed nation by 2047.

Analysis: Modi spotlights coalition alliance, sidestepping election upsets

From CNN's Rhea Mogul

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s victory speech chimed with the image that he has projected throughout his decade in power: confident and with no admission of any defeats.

Despite facing shock upsets in the election, Modi did not admit this as he spoke.

His Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is on track to fall short of an outright majority and is set to form a coalition government with his allied parties to remain in power.

Still, Modi triumphantly declared that he would govern India for the next five years, promising an era of development and prosperity.

And he strategically spotlighted the coalition he now needs to form a government.

Preliminary figures from the Election Commission indicate the BJP is short of securing the 272 seats needed to win an outright majority in parliament, a stunning upset that leaves them reliant onlongstanding allies to form a government.

Modi is set to form a government with the help of the NDA – securing him a third consecutive term — a landmark that makes him one of the most successful politicians in post-independence India.

Full results are expected in the coming hours, but current trends show they are nonetheless something of a personal blow to Modi, who had triumphantly vowed to win a 400-seat supermajority in this year’s election.

Modi has declared victory in the 2024 election, but results are still coming in. Here's where things stand

June 4, 2024 - Modi declares victory in India election as BJP party faces shock setbacks | CNN (23)

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi gestures at the Bharatiya Janata Party headquarters in New Delhi, India, on Tuesday.

India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi has declared victory in the country’s mammoth general election, but the vote count is ongoing.

As of 9.30 p.m. local time (12 p.m. ET), Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has secured at least 190 seats according to the Election Commission of India — well below the 400 seat supermajority it was hoping for.

Meanwhile, the National Congress Party has the second-largest majority, having so far won 73 seats.

Two seats had shocking results, with the BJP winning a seat in Kerala for the first time.BJP candidate Suresh Gopi won the seat of Thrissur with 412,338 votes. It had previously been run by the Left Democratic Front since 2016.

But the BJP also suffered a shock loss, conceding the seat of Faizabad where Modi inaugurated the controversial Ram Mandir temple in January.

Awadhesh Prasad from the opposition Samajwadi Party won there instead,in a massive shock for the ruling government whose building of the grand Hindu temple was a key campaign tool.

Who are the ruling party's likely coalition partners?

With early results indicating that Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) may not win an outright majority, it will be reliant on its coalition partners to form a government.

Those partners include dozens of right-wing parties from the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), a BJP-led group that has been in power since his first election in 2014.

Formed in 1998, the NDA was created as an antithesis to India’s main opposition, the Indian National Congress. It includes several regional parties, including the Hindu nationalist Shiv Sena, which governs the western state of Maharashtra, and the Janata Dal (United), which has a presence in the country’s northeast.

Generally the parties skew right-wing, but not all are as openly Hindu nationalist, with a variety of policies and platforms. Some are very focused on local areas where they draw support.

The alliance’s chairmen included former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, and co-founder of the BJP L. K. Advani.

India's Modi declares victory in nationwide election

From CNN's Rhea Mogul and Esha Mitra
June 4, 2024 - Modi declares victory in India election as BJP party faces shock setbacks | CNN (24)

India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi flashes victory sign at the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) headquarters to celebrate the party's win in country's general election, in New Delhi, India, on June 4.

India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi has declared victory in the country’s mammoth general election, as votes continue to get counted.

Modi made the remarks in a speech at the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) headquarters in New Delhi.

Supporters threw rose petals at the Indian leader as he made his way to the stage. Chants of “Modi! Modi! Modi!” reverberated through the crowd as Modi spoke.

Early results suggest that Modi’s BJP may have to rely on coalition partners to form a government. Those partners include dozens of parties from theNDA, a BJP-led group that has been in power since his first election in 2014.

Although final results are still outstanding, Modi’s alliance is on track to gain 272 seats, according to the Election Commission’s website, the minimum number required to form a government.

Full results are expected in the coming hours.

June 4, 2024 - Modi declares victory in India election as BJP party faces shock setbacks | CNN (25)

Indian Prime Minister NarendraModigestures as he arrives at Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) headquarters in New Delhi, India, on June 4.

Shock defeat for BJP in town where Modi inaugurated controversial temple

From CNN's Rhea Mogul
June 4, 2024 - Modi declares victory in India election as BJP party faces shock setbacks | CNN (26)

Indian Hindu holy men who voted in the fifth round of multi-phase national elections pose for photographs in front of the temple of Hindu god Ram in Ayodhya, India, on May 20.

We have a big upset for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in a hugely symbolic part of India.

India’s ruling party has just conceded in the constituency of Faizabad, where Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the controversial Ram Mandir in January, unofficially kickstarting his campaign for this year’s general election.

Awadhesh Prasad from the opposition Samajwadi Party won there instead,in a massive shock for the ruling government whose building of the grand Hindu temple was a key campaign tool.

The Ram Mandir was built on the site of the Babri Masjid, a 16th-century mosque that was desecrated by Hindu right-wing groups in 1992, setting off a wave of deadly religious violence not seen in decades.

Building the temple has long been a dream for the BJP, whose roots lie in the Hindu-nationalist political organization, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh.

In January, Modi consecrated the lavish temple, taking on the role of head priest and leader of the nation, in a move analysts said pulled India further away from its secular foundation, to that of a Hindu-first state.

Hours earlier, the controversy became a rallying cry for the BJP, with supporters at the Delhi headquarters calling for the demolition of more mosques.

Modi's failure to define a single election issue may have lost him support among voters, analyst says

From CNN's Antoinette Radford

Survey data taken ahead of the election showed that support for Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was not as strong as it had been ahead of previous elections, Milan Vaishnav from the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace think tank and host of the Grand Tamasha podcast told CNN.

Vaishnav noted that India’s opposition leaders faced ongoing persecution by having their bank accounts frozen and leaders jailed, prompting spectators to think the opposition was fighting a “popular incumbentwith one hand tied behind theirback.”

But, he said, Modi did not define a single overarching issue or narrative for the election so voters focussed more on local matters.

“In theabsence of that, what we’vegot in a federal countrylike India is a series of stateby state, local contests inwhich more mundane, parochialissues really matter,” he said.

“Jobs,inflation, local leaders,incumbency, caste, ethnicity,religion and those seem to haveworked against the prime minister and his party,” Vaishnav added.

How will LGBTQ people be impacted by India's election?

From Esha Mitra in New Delhi
June 4, 2024 - Modi declares victory in India election as BJP party faces shock setbacks | CNN (27)

Rainbow flags are placed against a wall before a pride parade of Indian members and supporters of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community in New Delhi on November 25, 2018.

India’s LGBTQ population saw few of its concerns addressed ahead of the country’s general elections.

In 2018 the Supreme Court decriminalized hom*osexuality, scrapping a colonial-era law in a move the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) takes credit for.

But last year, the Supreme Court of India ruled against a petition to legalize same-sex marriage, and activists say LGBTQ people in India continue to face discrimination and abuse.

What the ruling party says: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), expected to secure another five years in power, has failed to adequately address this community on the campaign trail.

In its manifesto, it promised to expand India’s network of shelters for transgender people and promised to give them national ID cards. But transgender activists say the BJP government claims to provide rights for transgender people, but it has made it hard for them to live as equals in India.

In parliament, 151 members have been vocal on LGBTQ issues, and fewer than 20 of these were from the BJP, according to PinkList, a national archive of politicians supporting LGBTQ rights.

What the opposition says: the Indian National Congress has said in its manifesto that it would legalize civil unions between LGBTQ couples if elected.

Surprise results put Modi off track from his expected landslide victory. Here's what to know

From CNN Staff

It’s been a busy evening in India as early results in the nation’s general election indicated that incumbent Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) may fall short of an outright majority and be reliant on longstanding coalition allies to form a government.

Before votes were counted, Modi and the BJP were hoping for a supermajority of 400 seats in the 543-seat lower house of parliament.

Once the vote count got underway, it became clear that an alliance of opposition parties had performedbetter than some analysts expected.

Modi has claimed a “historical” victory in a short post on X, but election authorities are still counting votes and full results are expected in the coming hours.

If you’re just joining our coverage, let’s bring you up to speed:

  • Possible coalition: Early results suggest that Modi’s BJP may have to rely on coalition partners to form a government. Those partners include dozens of right-wing parties from theNational Democratic Alliance (NDA), a BJP-led group that has been in power since his first election in 2014.
  • Other unexpected results: The BJP made surprise inroads in the southern state of Kerala. The victory for BJP candidate Suresh Gopi marks the first time the party has won a seat in the state.
  • Supermajority fears: Any hopes for a supermajority are fading. A supermajority for the BJP would have enabled it to change the constitution – something that opposition leader Rahul Gandhi said voters had decided against. The BJP has repeatedly denied it has plans to change the constitution. Critics had feared the supermajority would give Modi an unstoppable mandate to further enshrine his Hindu-nationalist agenda,deepening India’s move away from its secular foundations.
  • Modi rhetoric: Modiincreasingly resorted to overtly Islamophobic language during his election campaign, critics and observers said, as he sought a third straight term governing the world’s most populous nation. The shift in tone is making many Indian Muslims nervous.
  • Stocks fall: Indian stocks plunged Tuesday asvote countingin the country’s election suggested Modi’s dream of a landslide victory was at risk. It marked the worst daily drop for Indian stocks since 2020.

India's Modi claims "historical" victory in post on X

From CNN's Rhea Mogul

India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi has claimed a “historical” victory in a short post on X.

Election authorities are still counting votes and full results are expected in the coming hours.Modi is expected to make a speech shortly.

Some background: Formed in 1998, the NDA was created as an antithesis to India’s main opposition, the Indian National Congress. It includes several regional parties. Current early results indicate Modi’s party alone won’t win enough votes to govern alone and will rely on NDA allies to form a government.

Opposition leader says they're in fight to "save constitution"

From CNN's Antoinette Radford and Esha Mitra
June 4, 2024 - Modi declares victory in India election as BJP party faces shock setbacks | CNN (28)

Rahul Gandhi, India's opposition leader, speaks during a news conference at the IndianNationalCongress headquarters during election results night in New Delhi, India, on June 4.

This election has been a fight not only against Prime Minister Narendra Modi but “to save India’s constitution,” the leader of India’s main opposition, Rahul Gandhi said after early shock results began to emerge.

He added that early election results showed that the “country has unanimously and clearly” stated that it does not want Prime Minister Narendra Modi and India’s Home Minister Amit Shah to be involved in running the country.

Gandhi has won his constituency of Wayanad with 647,445 votes according to the Election Commission of India.

Commenting on gains made by opposition candidates in the bellwether state of Uttar Pradesh, Gandhi said the public “has done a miracle… looking at the attack on the constitution and democracy. They protected the constitution.”

In pictures: India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi

From CNN staff
June 4, 2024 - Modi declares victory in India election as BJP party faces shock setbacks | CNN (29)

India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi speaking during a rally in Sydney, Australia, on May 23, 2023.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s political rise in many ways mirrors India’s own path from a newly independent nation freed from the shackles of colonialism to a confident, secure country inching ever closer to superpower status — albeit one wracked by deep and abiding fault lines.

June 4, 2024 - Modi declares victory in India election as BJP party faces shock setbacks | CNN (30)

Narendra Modi was born in 1950, three years after India's independence, to mother Hiraben and father Damodardas, a tea seller, in the western state of Gujarat. His entry into politics began at just 8 years old when he enrolled in classes at the local branch of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), a right-wing organization that advocates for the supremacy of Hinduism in India.

Modi’s official party biography tells the story of a poor boy, the third of six children, whose father was a “chaiwallah” or tea seller, who’d serve customers at the local train station to support his young family.

Promoted by the BJP, analysts say this tale of humble beginnings makes him relatable to hundreds of millions across the country. And it stands in stark contrast to the generations of India’s elite, urban politicians who have historically risen to the top job.

June 4, 2024 - Modi declares victory in India election as BJP party faces shock setbacks | CNN (31)

As a teen, Modi traveled across India with the RSS and joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in 1987, a then fringe political party which started gaining traction fueled by the rise of Hindu nationalism in India.

Modi was still a child when he was exposed to the idea of Hindu nationalism through classes at the local branch of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), a right-wing paramilitary organization that advocates for the establishment of Hindu hegemony within India.

At 17, Modi abandoned his family and his wife, left his village and traversed India with the group in search of a spiritual awakening, according to his biography.He devoted himself to the RSS, never remarried and learned to “leave all the pleasures in life,” according to an interview he gave in 2019.

June 4, 2024 - Modi declares victory in India election as BJP party faces shock setbacks | CNN (32)

Modi worked his way through the ranks of the BJP, establishing himself as a respected politician. Here he is pictured with the party's former general secretary in 1991.

By 1972, he had become a “pracharak” for the RSS, according to his biography, someone appointed to spread their cause through meetings and public lectures.

Modi joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in 1987, when the fringe political party started gaining traction fueled by the rise of Hindu nationalism in India.

One of the BJP’s founders Lal Krishna Advani saw a leader in Modi, giving him immense responsibilities within the party.

June 4, 2024 - Modi declares victory in India election as BJP party faces shock setbacks | CNN (33)

Narendra Modi pictured in India on January 23, 1998.

Modi thrived under Advani’s guidance, working his way through the ranks of the BJP. In 2001, he was appointed chief minister of the wealthy state of Gujarat.

Under Modi’s governance, the state introduced a wave of infrastructure, industry, and innovation to its arid landscape — making the “Gujarat model” synonymous with development and government efficiency.

June 4, 2024 - Modi declares victory in India election as BJP party faces shock setbacks | CNN (34)

Modi governed the state of Gujarat for nearly 13 years, becoming among the BJP's most powerful politicians before setting his eyes on India's top seat. Pictured inside his residence in June 2013.

Modi’s “Gujarat model” had become a blueprint for India and in 2014, the BJP won by a landslide, crushing the Congress — the party’s worst defeat in more than 100 years of its existence.

In 2019, he roared through polls yet again — this time on a more clearly defined ticket of Hindu supremacy.

June 4, 2024 - Modi declares victory in India election as BJP party faces shock setbacks | CNN (35)

With former US President Barack Obama in Washington on September 30, 2014.

Modi was once shunned by the United States.Denied a visa for“severe violations of religious freedom,” he was effectively banned from entering the country for nearly a decade.

But in the nine years since that ban was lifted, Modi has been progressively embraced by the White House — now more than ever.

June 4, 2024 - Modi declares victory in India election as BJP party faces shock setbacks | CNN (36)

With former German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin, on May 30, 2017. The European Union is India's third largest trading partner.

Modi's BJP wins a seat in Kerala — the first time the party has done so in the southern state

From CNN's Manveena Suri in New Delhi
June 4, 2024 - Modi declares victory in India election as BJP party faces shock setbacks | CNN (37)

People wait in lines to cast their votes at a polling station during the second phase of general election in Ezhupunna village in the southern state ofKerala, India, on April 26.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has made surprise inroads in the southern state of Kerala.

The victory for BJP candidate Suresh Gopi marks the first time the party has won a seat in the state.

The actor-turned-politician won the seat of Thrissur with 412,338 votes. In second was V.S. Sunil Kumar of the Communist Party of India with 337,652 votes. He beat incumbent T. N. Prathapan of the Congress party.

The state has been run by the Left Democratic Front, an alliance of left-wing parties, since 2016.

The BJP’s heartlands are traditionally in India’s heavily populated north and it has historically struggled to make inroads into the south.

After a decade dominating Indian politics, Modi may be forced to navigate a new coalition

From CNN's Antoinette Radford

Preliminary results suggest that incumbent Prime Minister Narendra Modi will win the election, but he will not enjoy the landslide he has in previous elections, CNN’s International correspondent Ivan Watson reported from New Delhi.

Watson said Modi being forced to form a new coalition would be unchartered territory in Indian politics, after a decade where he dominated politics.

He also noted that in India, Modi has cult-like status and today’s early results show people are not supporting him as much as they may have been before.

Modi headed for 2 days of island meditation as election neared end

From CNN'sKathleen Magramoand Esha Mitra
June 4, 2024 - Modi declares victory in India election as BJP party faces shock setbacks | CNN (38)

Narendra Modi meditates at the Vivekananda Rock Memorial, in Kanniyakumari on May 31.

India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi meditated inside an island shrine for two days to cap weeks of election campaigning — his latest public display of religiosity days after proclaiming he wassent by god.

Modi visited the Vivekananda Rock Memorial in Kanyakumari, a pilgrimage site off India’s southernmost tip, from May 30 to June 1.

The site is where popular Hindu monk and philosopher Swami Vivekananda attained enlightenment.

Modi has twice ended an election campaign with meditation. But he has recently been making increasingly grand displays of piety, to capitalize on Hindu-nationalist sentiment as he eyes a third consecutive five-year term in power.

Smaller parties to increase leverage if current trends hold

From CNN's Rhea Mogul
June 4, 2024 - Modi declares victory in India election as BJP party faces shock setbacks | CNN (39)

Narendra Modi, Prime Minister for India attends the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup India 2023 Final between India and Australia at Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad, India, on November 19.

India’s most powerful leader in decades now faces the prospect of governing without an outright majority, in a potentially stunning upset overturning forecasts that had predicted his Hindu-nationalist party would come back with a supermajority.

If current trends hold, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be reliant on coalition partners, tempering the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party’s right-wing agenda and giving those smaller parties increased leverage.

The election had been cast as a referendum on Modi’s decade in power, but this result, if it holds, would suggest that voters have at least partially rejected the more radical and divisive elements of Modi’s agenda.

Early election results show the BJP was "tripped up by its own over-confidence," analyst says

From CNN's Antoinette Radford

Ashok Malik, a partner at the Asia Group says this election shows democracy is “alive and kicking” in India and voters “have a mind of their own, and they’re willing to speak their minds.”

It was widely expected that the incumbent Prime Minister Narendra Modi would win a majority in the election, but as vote counting gets underway, the opposition Congress party has performed much better than anticipated.

Speaking to CNN from New Delhi, Malik says the likely key takeaway was that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) likely overestimated itself.

But, Malik added that it shows voters are willing to send a message to politicians to listen to them about their biggest grievances, which in his opinion relate to job creation.

“Some sharp people are impatientand want to see things happenfaster. They have sent thatmessage to the primeminister and to their government and well,that’s democracy,” Malik said.

“You, youhave to accept the answer andimprove.”

Early results show Modi might fall short of outright majority and need coalition partners to form government

From CNN's Rhea Mogul
June 4, 2024 - Modi declares victory in India election as BJP party faces shock setbacks | CNN (40)

People watchelectionresultsoutside a vote counting center in Mumbai,India, on June 4.

Early results from the Indian Election Commission show Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s party is struggling to secure an outright majority, and may be reliant on longstanding coalition allies to form a government.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has won 62 seats so far and is leading in 178, the election commission data showed at 6 p.m. local (8.30 a.m. ET).

The BJP needs at least 272 seats to form a government.

If current trends hold, the results would indicate the BJP’s once unassailable majority has been eroded, leaving Modi reliant on coalition partners for the first time since coming to power a decade ago.

That would constitute a stunning upset.

The BJP won outright majorities in 2014 and 2019 but used allied parties to expand the size of those majorities in parliament.

India’s economy just grewby more than 8%

From CNN's Diksha Madhok
June 4, 2024 - Modi declares victory in India election as BJP party faces shock setbacks | CNN (41)

Employees work on a mobile phone assembly line at a subsidiary of Dixon Technologies in Noida, India.

India’s economy grewby more than 8% in the fiscal year that ended in March, according to data published Friday that gave a boost to Prime Minister Narendra Modi just hours before the country concluded its mammoth, weeks-long national election.

Gross domestic product (GDP) increased by 8.2%, according to the Statistics Ministry, cementing India’s status as the world’s fastest-growing major economy.

The rate of growthwas higher than the Modi government’sforecastof 7.6%.

For the final quarter ofthe fiscal year, GDP expanded at a faster-than-expected rate of 7.8%, compared with the same period in 2023. GDPhad risen by 8.6% in the October-December period.

Modi is running on his economic record over the past 10 years, a period of robust growth for India. The country went from the ninth-largest economy in the world to the fifth-largest during that time. It also experienced the largest percentage growth in GDP over the decade compared to other major economies.

If Modi wins a third term, “any deceleration (in the economy) will be mild,” added Amajuri.

"God has sent me," Modi told supporters on campaign trail

From CNN'sRhea Mogul
June 4, 2024 - Modi declares victory in India election as BJP party faces shock setbacks | CNN (42)

Narendra Modi waves to supporters during his roadshow in Varanasi, on May 13.

India’s Prime MinisterNarendra Modiin late May sent a new message to supporters on the campaign trail: God has chosen him.

Modi continued: “God doesn’t reveal his cards. He just keeps making me do things.”

Since assuming power in 2014, Modi and his Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) have promoted a strident brand of Hindu nationalism in a country where about 80% of the population are followers of the polytheistic faith.

And while he has usedsuch languagein the past, his message of being a leader chosen by God has become much more apparent as attempts to win a third consecutive five-year term in power.

Read the full story.

Rising Hindu nationalism leaves Muslims fearful in Varanasi, India's holy city

From CNN’s Rhea Mogul, Aishwarya S. Iyer, Kunal Sehgal and Will Ripley
June 4, 2024 - Modi declares victory in India election as BJP party faces shock setbacks | CNN (43)

The Gyanvapi mosque, left, and Kashiviswanath Temple on the banks of the river Ganges in Varanasi, India, December 12, 2021.

Varanasi, an ancient city of temples and gods, is India’s spiritual capital. It’s also Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s political stronghold, and where tensions between the two faiths are escalating.

When Modi chose this holy city as his constituency a decade ago, it was the perfect setting for him to meld his party’s political and religious ambitions. Having risen to power on a promise of development and anti-corruption, his Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) now stands accused of turning India — a nation constitutionally bound to secularism — into a Hindu rashtra, or homeland.

Vying for a rare third term in power, he is defending his seat in the traffic-clogged, diverse city of some 1.7 million people.Yet, 10 years after his ascension, many of Varanasi’s Muslims feel neglected, even betrayed.

June 4, 2024 - Modi declares victory in India election as BJP party faces shock setbacks | CNN (44)

Muslims in Varanasi pray during Eid, which marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan.

Local Muslim leader Syed Mohammad Yaseen, 78, feels the government is failing to protect his community, which he says is feeling increasingly vulnerable and fearful of hate crimes in today’s India.

Modi’s BJP has its roots in the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, a right-wing paramilitary organization that advocates Hindu supremacy within India — though the party has repeatedly said it does not discriminate against minorities.

In Modi’s decade in power, religious polarization has increased.

Hindu nationalists have been appointed to top positions in key government institutions, giving them the power to make sweeping changes to legislation that rights groups say unfairly target Muslims. Textbooks have been rewritten to downplay the history of India’s ancient Islamic rulers, cities and streets with Mughal-era names renamed and Muslim properties have been demolished.

In 2019, Modi’s administration passed a controversial citizenship law that excludes Muslim migrants, giving rise to deadly riots.

Multiple human rights organizations, including Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and the International Federation for Human Rights have warned of continued discrimination against religious minorities, particularly Muslims, over the past decade, and have repeatedly called on authorities to end it.

Watch what Indians in Varanasi said about Modi during his campaign:

June 4, 2024 - Modi declares victory in India election as BJP party faces shock setbacks | CNN (45)

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04:31 - Source: cnn

India's Modi wins his seat in Varanasi

From CNN's Rhea Mogul and Manveena Suri
June 4, 2024 - Modi declares victory in India election as BJP party faces shock setbacks | CNN (46)

Supporters of Narendra Modi, India's Prime Minister and leader of Bharatiya Janata Party, carry his cut-out as they celebrate vote counting results for India's general election in Varanasi, India, on June 4.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has won his seat from the constituency of Varanasi, the election commission announced.

Also known as the country’s spiritual capital, this is the third consecutive victory for Modi from the diverse city that sits on the banks of the holy Ganges river, in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh.

He won with 612,970 votes, and a comfortable margin of 152,513.

And while he remains incredibly popular in his constituency, 10 years after his ascension, many of Varanasi’s Muslims feel neglected, even betrayed,especially now as a centuries old-mosque becomes the latest flashpoint in a case thattestsIndia’s secular fabric.

India’s main opposition, the Indian National Congress has also won a seat in Uttar Pradesh.

Opposition candidate says results show Indians have voted against "hatred and dictatorship"

From CNN's Antoinette Radford

Sanjay Singh of the Aam Aadmi Party said that the results of the election thus far showed the people had voted against “hatred and dictatorship.”

Speaking at a news conference on Tuesday, Singh said the picture was becoming clearer as more results came in.

Remember: It had been widely anticipated that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) would win the election in a landslide victory, but early polling is showing that the opposition Congress party is performingbetter than some analysts expected.

What is a supermajority and why is it so important to Modi's BJP?

From CNN staff
June 4, 2024 - Modi declares victory in India election as BJP party faces shock setbacks | CNN (47)

India's Prime Minister NarendraModigestures to his supporters during an election campaignrally, in New Delhi,India, on May 22.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi came into this election with a goal for his party and its allies to win a 400-seat supermajority in the 543-seat lower house of parliament – or Lok Sabha.

A supermajority would give the BJP the power to change India’s constitution, which is rooted in the democratic principles of justice, liberty, equality and – crucially – secularism.

Critics fear the supermajority would give Modi an unstoppable mandate to further enshrine his Hindu-nationalist agenda,deepening India’s move away from its secular foundations.

“If the BJP wins these fixed elections and changes the constitution, the country will be on fire. Remember this,” opposition candidate Rahul Gandhi told a crowd in Delhi in March.

Both Modi and key BJP leaders have repeatedly denied that they have any plans to change the constitution, although many lower ranking members have spoken glowingly of the prospect.

And the fact that a supermajority was a stated goal left many in India wondering why the party would seek it in the first place, especially given the BJP have long held comfortable majorities in parliament.

Indian stocks have worst day in 4 years as Modi's supermajority hopes fade

From CNN's Diksha Madhok
June 4, 2024 - Modi declares victory in India election as BJP party faces shock setbacks | CNN (48)

Pedestrians watch share prices on a digital broadcast outside the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) on the day of India's general election result in Mumbai, India, on June 4.

Indian stocks plunged Tuesday asvote countingin the country’s election suggested Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s dream of a landslide victory is at risk, raising doubts about his ability to push through more aggressive economic reforms.

India’s benchmark Sensex index, which tracks 30 large companies, and the broader Nifty 50 index each closed down by nearly 6%.

The worst daily drop for Indian stocks since 2020 came just 24 hours after both indexeshit record highsas weekend exit polls prompted experts to predict a resounding victory for Modi. The world’s biggest election concluded on Saturday.

The 73-year-old ran on hiseconomic recordover the past 10 years, a period of robust growth for India. His Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was aiming to win a 400-seatsupermajorityin the 543-seat lower house of parliament, but preliminary results show the opposition Congress party is performingbetter than some analysts expected.

A party or a coalition needs 272 seats to form a government. In India’s last election in 2019, the BJP won 303 seats.

If the final results confirm that Modi has underperformed in the polls, key economic reforms may be put on the back burner.

Read more about India’s stock market as the country continues vote counting for its 2024 general election.

What is the Indian National Congress and where are they now?

From Esha Mitra in New Delhi
June 4, 2024 - Modi declares victory in India election as BJP party faces shock setbacks | CNN (49)

Indian statesmen Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru chat at the All-India Congress committee meeting in Mumbai on July 6, 1946.

The Indian National Congress is India’s main opposition party, and its newly formed INDIA alliance of parties is the only real challenge to the re-election of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

But the once-formidable force in Indian politics has been languishing in the polls since Prime Minister Narendra Modi rose to power a decade ago, driven in part by numerous corruption scandals and mismanagement within the party.

  • History-making: Congress first convened in 1855, leading the movement for independence from the British. India’s first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru, from Congress, was at the forefront of setting up the democratic framework in post-independence India. TheGandhi family, India’s most influential political dynasty, has consistently held senior leadership positions within Congress. In this election, Rahul Gandhi is contesting.
  • Progressive: Congress’ 2024 election manifesto has been dubbed one of India’s most progressive, promising “freedom from fear” and vowing to protect the democratic tenets of freedom of speech, expression, and religious belief espoused in the constitution.The manifesto also emphasizes equity and welfare, promising recognition of civil unions between LGBTQ+ couples, protection of religious minorities, and safety and empowerment of women among other promises that speak directly to the critique that the BJP has received from humanitarian groups for eroding democratic values.

Read more about India’s weakened opposition.

More results are trickling in. Here's where things stand

More results are trickling in from India’s election authorities, as votes are still getting counted in the world’s largest democracy.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its coalition allies have secured at least 15 seats and are leading in around 280 seats, Election Commission data shows, giving it a comfortable lead according to preliminary results.

Still, the BJP and its allies remain far below the 400-seat supermajority that Modi aimed to win in the 543-seat lower house of parliament.

India's main opposition to meet the press in an hour

India’s main opposition, the Indian National Congress, will address the press at its headquarters in New Delhi in an hour.

Party President Mallikarjun Kharge and leader Rahul Gandhi will speak to reporters at 5.30 p.m. local time (8 a.m. ET).

Early results suggest Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party is on track to win a third term in power. But the Congress and its allies are performing better than some analysts had predicted.

Record 100% turnout of transgender voters in Himachal Pradesh state

From CNN's Manveena Suri in New Delhi

A record 100% turnout of transgender voters was recorded across 17 constituencies in the northern state of Himachal Pradesh, according to the state’s Chief Electoral Officer.

The Chief Electoral Officer said this was a sign of “strengthening (Election Commission of India’s) motto of Inclusive Participation.”

Over 48,000 transgender people registered to vote in the elections, according to the ECI.

This compares to 39,075 transgender voters who registered to cast their ballots in the 2019 polls.

Some background: In 2014, India’s Supreme Court granted transsexual and transgender people the right to self-identify their gender.

That ruling came five years after Indian election authorities granted what they called an independent identity to intersex and transsexuals in the country’s voter lists.

Before, members of these groups were referred to as male or female in the voter rolls.

Despite extreme heat over the election, climate change takes a back seat for voters

From CNN's Antoinette Radford
June 4, 2024 - Modi declares victory in India election as BJP party faces shock setbacks | CNN (50)

A man uses a newspaper as others use umbrellas to protect themselves from theheatas they wait to vote outside a polling station in the Howrah district of West Bengal,India, on May 20.

Throughout India’s six-week nationwide election, climate change and the impact it’s having on Indians was brought into sharp focus.

In the last ten days alone, at least77 people were killedby extreme temperatures, including dozens of poll workers, as voting wrapped up.

At a press briefing on Monday, Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar admitted that the election should have taken place at least a month sooner when temperatures were cooler.

“We should not have conducted it in such heat,” Kumar said.

Research published last month by the United Nations paints a bleak image of the impact extreme heat will have on the country, with a UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) report finding the country is “expected to lose about 5.8% of daily working hours due to heat stress in 2030” in April.

“The problem is most severe for outdoor workers, particularly those employed in agriculture and construction, but also relevant for indoor factory workers,” it added.

June 4, 2024 - Modi declares victory in India election as BJP party faces shock setbacks | CNN (51)

People seen filling water from a Delhi Jal Board Tanker amid water crises near Munirka, on June 1, in New Delhi, India.

In parts of Delhi during last week’s extreme heat, water deliveries had to be rationed – with India’s poor who cannot afford to not work the worst affected.

But despite the severe temperatures, and the heat wave being a massive challenge in conducting the election, climate change and the environment received little attention from the main political parties throughout the campaign. Voter attention instead focused on unemployment and economic challenges.

Early results suggest Indian voters are putting Modi on notice, journalist says

From CNN's Antoinette Radford
June 4, 2024 - Modi declares victory in India election as BJP party faces shock setbacks | CNN (52)

Officials at a vote-counting center for the national elections in New Delhi, India, on June 4.

Incumbent Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s anticipated “slam dunk” win in this election looks like it will no longer be a reality, based on preliminary results, journalist Sreenivasan Jain told CNN from New Delhi.

Modi was aiming to win a 400-seat supermajority in the 543-seat lower house of parliament, and Jain said the start of the election looked “like it was going to be a slam dunk for Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his ruling party, the BJP.”

Speaking to CNN’s Max Foster, Jain said that while counting was ongoing, it appeared that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had dropped close to 60 seats to what it won at the last election.

He said the change in trends indicated that the Indian people were willing to give Modi a third term, but that issues like unemployment and economic distress were becoming more of a priority.

Analysis: BJP still likely to win, but dreams of a supermajority are at risk

From CNN's Jerome Taylor
June 4, 2024 - Modi declares victory in India election as BJP party faces shock setbacks | CNN (53)

People watch latest vote counting results live on a large screen for India's general election at the Bharatiya Janata Party office in Bengaluru, India, on June 4.

Good morning to those of you reading in from the United States. It’s 3.30 p.m. in India and vote counting in the world’s largest election has been underway for the last 7.5 hours.

It’s still too early to call: official results are in for only four seats in India’s 543-seat lower house. But some clear trends are emerging.

Current projections suggest Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is set to win a third term in power. But the big question is: by how much?

India’s opposition is putting up a bigger fight than initially projected and things are getting interesting. That could spell trouble for the BJP.

The threshold for winning India’s election is 272 seats. Back in 2019, the BJP won 303, a very comfortable majority.

But Modi and his right-wing Hindu nationalist party entered this year’s election confidently declaring they were aiming for a 400-seat supermajority. That would give them an unstoppable mandate to enact potentially radical change and further enshrine their Hindu-nationalist agenda – deepening India’s move away from its secular foundations.

To do that, the BJP would need a sweeping victory, holding all the seats it currently has and making in-roads into regions it has struggled to win even after two terms of leadership.

But India’s opposition – an alliance of parties led by the Indian National Congress – is doing better than many analysts and polls envisaged.

India’s Election Commission has begun sharing preliminary results online as votes are counted across the nation that show the BJP leading in 239 seats, by far the largest party.

But the Congress is leading in 98 seats — that’s nearly double the 52 seats it won in 2019 when they received a drubbing.

While it’s still early, it looks like the BJP’s hopes for a supermajority are at risk and India’s opposition is far from a spent force, even if mostly likely Modi will secure a third term with a healthy majority.

It's 3:30 p.m. local time. Here's where the results stand

It’s mid-afternoon in India, and election officials have been counting votes across the country since 8 a.m. local time.

272 to win: Parties are competing to secure seats in the 543-seat lower house of parliament. A party or coalition needs 272 seats to win, and the leader of that party will then become prime minister.

Incumbent Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) are aiming for an ambitious 400-seat supermajority.

And the BJP is comfortably in the lead so far, according to preliminary results from the Election Commission of India. But the supermajority could be at risk, with the opposition Indian National Congress performingbetter than some analysts expected.

As of 3:30 p.m. local time, the BJP is leading in 239 constituencies and has won in three:

  • Surat, in Gujarat state
  • Chitradurga, in Karnataka state
  • Jaipur, in Rajasthan state

The Congress party is leading in 98 constituencies and has won one seat:

  • Jalandhar, in Punjab state

Ruling party's supporters call for more mosque demolitions after controversial Ram Mandir temple inauguration

From CNN's Esha Mitra and Aishwarya S Iyer in New Delhi, India
June 4, 2024 - Modi declares victory in India election as BJP party faces shock setbacks | CNN (54)

A general view of the Ram Mandir on the day of its consecration ceremony January 22, in Ayodhya, India.

One of India’s biggest recent religious controversies became a rallying cry for the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Tuesday, with supporters at the Delhi headquarters calling for the demolition of mosques.

Men inside the building raised signs and slogans popular among the BJP’s far-right Hindu nationalist base, reading:

The slogan refers to thecontroversial Ram Mandir in northern India’s Ayodhya, a Hindu temple built on the foundations of a centuries-old mosque that was torn down by hardline Hindu crowds in the early 1990s — spurred on by the BJP and other right-wing groups.

The incident triggered widespread communal violence, some of the worst seen in India in decades.

The rest of the slogan refers to mosques in the holy city Varanasi, also known by its ancient name Kashi, and in the city of Mathura in Uttar Pradesh state.

Seismic shift: In January, Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the temple as millions tuned in acrossIndiato watch the ceremony. The opening was considered to bethe crowning moment for Modi’sHindu nationalist ambitions andmarked a seismic shiftaway from modern India’s secular founding principles.

The opposition’s perspective: Meanwhile, at the Indian National Congress headquarters, the mood remains upbeat as the preliminary results roll in, suggesting a better showing than expected.

Some supporters are playing the drums, waving flags, and chanting: “Unite India.”

Some Muslim supporters are offering their daily prayers, with voters having expressed concern to CNN that a BJP victory would further marginalize the country’s minority Muslim population.

How strong is the opposition contending in India’s election?

From CNN’s Helen Regan and Rhea Mogul
June 4, 2024 - Modi declares victory in India election as BJP party faces shock setbacks | CNN (55)

Indian National Congress (INC) Party leader Rahul Gandhi (2R) and Samajwadi Party President Akhilesh Yadav (C) attend an election rally of Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance (INDIA) on the outskirts of Varanasi on May 28.

The main challenger to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is the Indian National Congress, which has governed the country for much of the 77 years since independence but now finds itself in the doldrums.

In an effort to prevent another Modi win, the Congress formed an alliance with other opposition leaders, including major regional parties. The Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance, or INDIA, launched its campaign late last month on a platform of “saving democracy.”

The INDIA bloc had earlier been beset by infighting. Analysts say it is struggling to match the kind of star quality and appeal projected by Modi.

The opposition is also under pressure from what it says is a campaign by the BJP to weaken Modi’s opponents.

Several prominent members of the opposition, including Delhi Chief Minister Kejriwal, have been arrested or investigated by state agencies in moves decried as political by their parties. The Congress had its bank accounts frozen by federal tax authorities and said it was asked to pay a further $218 million in taxes.

Kejriwal was released on temporary bail last month and the BJP has denied political interference.

Another victory for Modi would cement his place as one of India’s most important and longest-serving leaders and condemn Congress to another five years in the wilderness of opposition.

Read more about India’s weakened opposition.

Analysis: China is watching India's election very closely

From CNN’s Nectar Gan in Hong Kong
June 4, 2024 - Modi declares victory in India election as BJP party faces shock setbacks | CNN (56)

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi shakes hands with Chinese President Xi Jinping during a meeting in New Delhi on September 18, 2014.

The world’s largest authoritarian country will be watching closely as the neighboring world’s largest democracy announces its election results.

Months after Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi won his first general election in 2014, he hosted Chinese leader Xi Jinping for a state visit with a warm welcome and won $20 billion in investment and trade deals from China.

But relations between the neighbors have since plummeted.

The two nuclear-armed powers have seen deadly clashes over a long-running dispute over their contested 2,100-mile border and an intensifying showdown in areas from the economy to geopolitics.

In recent years, India has banned hundreds of Chinese apps on national security grounds and forged closer ties to Washington due to concerns about Beijing’s growing assertiveness.

The Asian giants are also vying for leadership in the Global South and courting developing nations for support in a new international order.

June 4, 2024 - Modi declares victory in India election as BJP party faces shock setbacks | CNN (57)

Crowd of people are seen shopping at Dadar market in Mumbai on November 10, 2023.

Economic competition ratcheting up: Last year, India overtook China as the world’s most populous country. And Modi has vowed to make India the third-largest global economy, up from its current fifth place. Soon, he said, India will become the “growth engine” for the world — a title long held by China as it transformed from an impoverished nation to the world’s second-largest economy.

Beijing will also be closely watching Modi’s economic plans to turn India into a go-to for investors seeking an alternative to China, which is grappling with a myriad of economic challenges, including accelerated capital flight.

India's next prime minister must create more factories

From CNN's Diksha Madhok
June 4, 2024 - Modi declares victory in India election as BJP party faces shock setbacks | CNN (58)

Workers on the production line at the Renault Nissan Automotive India Pvt. manufacturing plant in Chennai, India, on Wednesday, March 27.

One of the biggest challenges for India’s new government will be to grow the manufacturing sector.

Factories constitute less than 15% of India’s GDP, according to theWorld Bank, but their growth is essential if India wants to become a global economic powerhouse.

The Modi administration has made some progress in its last term, as it tries to capitalize on the massive rethink underway among companies on supply chains.

International firms want to diversify their operations away from China, where they faced obstacles during the pandemic and are threatened by rising tension between Beijing and Washington.

Asia’s third-largest economy has launched a production-linked incentive program worth$26 billionto attract companies to set up manufacturing in 14 sectors, ranging from electronics and automobiles to pharmaceuticals and medical devices.

As a result, some of the world’s biggest firms, including Apple (AAPL) supplier Foxconn, are expanding their operations significantly in India.

Until two years ago, Apple would typically start assembling models in the country onlyseven to eight monthsafter launch. That changed inSeptember 2022, when Apple started making new iPhone 14 devices in India weeks after they went on sale.

Analysts have called the strategy change a big win for Prime Minister Narendra Modi, as growing manufacturing ties with a US giant like Apple will attract other global players in the electronics manufacturing ecosystem to India.

According to market research firm Canalys, up to 23% of iPhones will be made in India by the end of 2025, up from 6% in 2022.

BJP supporters feel less hopeful about winning a supermajority – but still believe in a Modi victory

From CNN's Aishwarya S Iyer in New Delhi
June 4, 2024 - Modi declares victory in India election as BJP party faces shock setbacks | CNN (59)

Supporters of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) celebrate vote counting results for India's general election outside the BJP headquarter in New Delhi on June 4.

At the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) headquarters in New Delhi, supporters say the mood is less celebratory than in previous years.

Despite the BJP’s overall lead, the opposition is doing better than expected.

“But (Prime Minister Narendra Modi) will come back. Then we will work harder next time,” she said.

June 4, 2024 - Modi declares victory in India election as BJP party faces shock setbacks | CNN (60)

Alka Goel (C) and Pooja Shambhani (2L) at the BJP headquarters in New Delhi, on June 4.

Pooja Shambhani, another supporter at the headquarters, agreed that the mood was less hopeful this year — but emphasized that India needed Modi for the country’s development.

Vidya Iyer, 48, said she had traveled from the southern state of Kerala to Delhi just to watch the “spectacle of Modi winning again” — and expressed her hope for another decade of Modi rule.

“You see he will be here not only for another five years. A lot is destined to happen with India,” she said.

Congress supporters say "India will be a broken country" if BJP is re-elected

From CNN's Esha Mitra in New Delhi
June 4, 2024 - Modi declares victory in India election as BJP party faces shock setbacks | CNN (61)

Kavita Singh (2L) and Sunita Gautam (R) during an interview with CNN, at the India National Congress headquarters in New Delhi on June 4.

Chants of “Unite India” ring out at the opposition Congress party’s headquarters, with women supporters voicing support for party leader Rahul Gandhi and criticisms for incumbent Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

“India will be a broken country if (the Bharatiya Janata Party) is re-elected,” said Sunita Gautam, a party worker.

She said Modi “promised employment for youth, but look at the number of people unemployed. He does not respect women so he should take his bag and leave the government.”

The biggest election issues: In the six-week polling period, voters raised concerns about

  • safety for women, who face high rates of sexual violence and assault;
  • rising Islamophobia and Hindu nationalism, driven by the right-wing BJP;
  • the outlawed caste hierarchy system that still lingers in parts of the country;
  • and high unemployment rates, especially among the ballooning youth population.

Kavita Singh, another Congress worker at the headquarters, expressed confidence in Gandhi.

Gandhi completed a 6,713-kilometer (4,200-mile) walk across the country in March, starting in the violence-hit northeastern state of Manipur, to raise issues of poverty, unemployment, diversity and democracy with voters.

Who is Rahul Gandhi?

From CNN’s Helen Regan and Rhea Mogul
June 4, 2024 - Modi declares victory in India election as BJP party faces shock setbacks | CNN (62)

Indian National Congress (INC) Party leader Rahul Gandhi waves to supporters during an election campaign meeting on the outskirts of Hyderabad on May 9.

Among those leading the charge for an alliance of opposition parties seeking to unseat Prime Minister Narendra Modi is Rahul Gandhi, the longtime face of the Indian National Congress and the latest member of his family to bid for power.

He is the son of former Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. His grandmother Indira was India’s first female leader, and his great-grandfather Jawaharlal Nehru was the country’s founding prime minister.

Congress leader Gandhi is one of the few opposition figures considered to have the kind of star power and name recognition to stand against Modi.

But though he may have the name, Gandhi lacks leadership skills, some analysts say.

Rasheed Kidwai, journalist and author of “24 Akbar Road,” a history of the Congress party, said it’s a winner-takes-all election and there is “no silver medal in politics.”

Gandhi completed a 6,713-kilometer (4,200-mile) walk across the country in March, starting in the violence-hit northeastern state of Manipur, to raise issues of poverty, unemployment, diversity and democracy with voters.

Despite these efforts, the BJP has largely dominated the campaign narrative.

Read more about India’s weakened opposition.

Despite BJP's early lead, the mood is festive in Congress party's headquarters

From CNN's Esha Mitra in New Delhi
June 4, 2024 - Modi declares victory in India election as BJP party faces shock setbacks | CNN (63)

Lakshman Valhekar at the Congress party headquarters in Delhi, India, on June 4.

At the opposition Indian National Congress party’s headquarters in Delhi, the mood is buoyant several hours into the nationwide vote count.

Though early preliminary results show the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) well in the lead, Congress is also leading in several constituencies — a stronger performance than exit polls suggested, experts told CNN.

June 4, 2024 - Modi declares victory in India election as BJP party faces shock setbacks | CNN (64)

A supporter of Indian National Congress (INC) partywaves a national flag at the INC headquarter in New Delhi on June 4.

The mood is festive with children and supporters gathered under a white tent to watch the preliminary results announced live. Each time the opposition bloc gains another lead, trumpets sound out. Party workers are wearing shirts that read: “Until we get the right of justice.”

One Congress supporter, Lakshman Valhekar, traveled to the headquarters in Delhi all the way from Maharashtra state on India’s west coast.

Valhekar also walked more than 3,000 kilometers during the Bharat Jodo Yatra(Unite India March), a marathon trek on foot across the length of India — in support of Gandhi, a fellow walker who has become the face of the yatra, attracting intense interest andmuchmediacoverage.

How India's infrastructure has transformed in a decade

From CNN's Diksha Madhok
June 4, 2024 - Modi declares victory in India election as BJP party faces shock setbacks | CNN (65)

Laborers work on a portion of the Coastal Road expressway along Mumbai's coastline.

The Modi administration has spent billions connecting India, the world’s fastest-growing major economy.

During Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s tenure, the South Asian giant underwent a significant infrastructure transformation, building roads, ports, airports and railways across the country.

India added nearly 55,000 kilometers (about 35,000 miles) to the national highway network, an increase of 60% in overall length, between 2014 and 2023.

Infrastructure development has many benefits for the economy, including creating jobs and improving the ease of doing business.

Digital push: In recent years, the country has also built a range of tech platforms — known as digital public infrastructurethat have transformedlives and businesses.

For example, theAadhaar program, launched in 2009, has provided millions of Indians with proof of identity for the first time. The world’s largest biometric database has also helped the government save millions by reducing corruption in welfare initiatives.

Another platform, the Unified Payments Interface, allows users to make payments instantly by scanning a QR code. It has been embraced by Indians from all walks of life, from coffee shop owners tobeggars, and allowed millions of dollars to flow into the formal economy.

Saffron flags, giant Modi posters and a mixed mood at BJP headquarters as early results roll in

From CNN's Aishwarya S Iyer in New Delhi
June 4, 2024 - Modi declares victory in India election as BJP party faces shock setbacks | CNN (66)

A supporter of Narendra Modi, performs rituals outside the BJP headquarters in New Delhi on June 4.

More than two hours after vote counting began, the mood at the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) headquarters in New Delhi is mixed as preliminary results are delivered across television news channels.

Party workers are putting up speakers and saffron party flags — the color associated with Hinduism, which reflects the BJP’s Hindu nationalist base.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s face is plastered across posters that crop up every few meters.

So far, the BJP is leading in early results on the Election Commission’s website – but the opposition Congress party is performing better than some analysts expected, experts told CNN.

Party workers at the headquarters seemed hesitant to say the BJP would definitively win a 400-seat supermajority in parliament — a claim repeated by the BJP’s top leaders.

Anxious workers are debating amongst themselves what number of seats the party would ultimately reach — frequently checking their phones for any updates on the preliminary results.

A media tent is set up for journalists to get some respite, with extreme heat killing dozens of people in the past few days, including many poll workers. A part of the capital of Delhi recorded the country’s highest-ever temperature of 49.9 degrees Celsius (121.8 degrees Fahrenheit) last week.

“We should have concluded the elections at least a month sooner. We should not have conducted it in such heat,” the Chief Election Commissioner said in a press briefing on Monday.

Near the headquarters, mats full of food are laid out for party workers and visitors — including puri, a type of flatbread.

Modi supporters on results day: "He has come to us as an instrument of God"

From CNN's Esha Mitra and Aishwarya S Iyer in New Delhi, India
June 4, 2024 - Modi declares victory in India election as BJP party faces shock setbacks | CNN (67)

Surjeet Singh, a cab driver in Delhi, who is confident the BJP will win in the elections on June 4.

Surjeet Singh, 50, has seen various governments come and go in his 25 years as a cab driver in Delhi — but none with a stronghold like the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), he said on Tuesday as officials count votes across India.

“Everyone I’ve spoken to today says BJP is coming back,” he said. “For us middle-class people, (Prime Minister Narendra Modi) is the only one who has done anything, who has shined India’s name abroad.”

Modi has twice ended an election campaign with meditation. But he has recently been making increasingly grand displays of piety, to capitalize on Hindu-nationalist sentiment as he eyes a third consecutive five-year term in power.

Singh said he had been monitoring the polls all morning as early results roll in, and though the BJP hasn’t been doing as well as he anticipated, he was confident the party would reach its goal of a parliamentary supermajority.

Early results: As of noon local time, the BJP has secured one seat and is leading in more than 230 constituencies, while the main opposition Congress party is leading in 96.

Doubt trickling in: Even within the BJP, there’s now a seed of doubt about the party’s ability to win a supermajority, which requires controlling 400 of the 543 available seats.

June 4, 2024 - Modi declares victory in India election as BJP party faces shock setbacks | CNN (68)

Rajgopal Kashyap, 28, Uttar Pradesh’s Baghpat, party worker who traveled to Delhi specifically to witness the election results.

“The counting is still on so we can’t say anything definitively… Maybe not 400 seats, but we will get 360 seats,” said Rajgopal Kashyap, a 28-year-old BJP party worker who traveled to Delhi from Uttar Pradesh state to witness the election results.

Speaking to CNN from the BJP headquarters on Tuesday, he said that they still had hope.

“Even if we don’t get 400 seats, we will try harder. But we know we will form the government in any way,” he said.

India's stock market plunges on early preliminary results

From CNN's Diksha Madhok
June 4, 2024 - Modi declares victory in India election as BJP party faces shock setbacks | CNN (69)

AmanwatchesresultsforIndia'sgeneralelectionson ascreenoutsidetheBombayStockExchange(BSE) in Mumbai, India, on June 4.

Indian stock markets plunged on Tuesday after early counting showed that the race for the country’s next prime minister is more competitive than exit polls had predicted over the weekend.

Analysts fear that if incumbent Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party underperforms in the polls, key economic reforms may be put on the back burner.

India’s benchmark Sensex index, which tracks 30 large companies, and the broader Nifty 50 index each fell by nearly 5%.

The drop comes just a day after Indian stocks hit record highs, with experts predicting a resounding victory for Modi.

The 73-year-old ran on his economic record over the past 10 years, a period of robust growth for India, and aims to make the country a $5 trillion economy before the end of the current decade.

What are the issues at stake in India's election?

From CNN’s Rhea Mogul
June 4, 2024 - Modi declares victory in India election as BJP party faces shock setbacks | CNN (70)

A worker watches his mobile phone while taking a break, in Mumbai on April 17.

Indians voted with several significant concerns in mind.

  • Unemployment: Much has been said about India’s rising economy, youth bulge and path to economic stardom. But beneath the hype lies a years-long unemployment problem. By the end of 2023, the unemployment rate among youth ages 20-24 was 44.9%, while the overall unemployment rate stood at 8.7%. In the world’s most populous country — and the nation with the largest number of young people — there is a vast gap between the supply and demand for jobs, experts say.
  • Farmer protests: Agriculture is the primary source of livelihood for about 55% of India’s 1.4 billion citizens, but farming households made an average income of just 10,218 rupees ($137) per month in 2018-19, according to the latest government statistics — 316 rupees below the nation’s average salary that year. Protesting farmers have repeatedly taken to the streets to demand stronger guarantees for their economic welfare, emerging as the strongest threat to the ruling party in recent years, some analysts say.
June 4, 2024 - Modi declares victory in India election as BJP party faces shock setbacks | CNN (71)

Farmers from all over India gather at Ramlila Maidan during a protest on March 14, in New Delhi.

  • Democracy in decline: India’s opposition parties say they are campaigning with the intention of “saving” India’s democracy. And analysts have sounded alarm over the alleged weaponization of federal agencies to imprison critics of Modi and his government. The recent detention of Delhi’s Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal sent a jolt through the country, and indexes of press freedom and democracy show India sliding down in rankings.
  • Rising religious tensions: Critics say Modi and his Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) have resorted to divisive tactics to win support during their decade in power, marginalizing millions of minorities as they push their Hindu nationalist credentials in the constitutionally secular country, while giving rise to pockets of deadly violence. The BJP says it doesn’t discriminate based on religion, but many minorities — especially Muslims — have raised fears of another five years of Modi.

Religious tensions and "bread and butter" issues: What Indians are voting on, analyst says

June 4, 2024 - Modi declares victory in India election as BJP party faces shock setbacks | CNN (72)

India's Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, greets his supporters during a roadshow on May 13, in Varanasi.

Throughout the six-week marathon election, several key issues have dominated the campaign trail — particularly India’s deep religious divisions and fears of Islamophobia.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has leaned into his Hindu nationalist platform, portraying himself as a leader chosen by God.

Subir Sinha, director of the SOAS South Asia Institute, called Modi’s comments “disappointing.”

“That removesall sorts of aspects ofaccountability which are key toany kind of a democratic polity.”

Economic voting issues: Sinha said that “bread and butterissues, issues concerningemployment, rising prices” have also played a big role in the election.

Modi is running on his economic record over the past 10 years, a period of robust growth for India.

But despite the euphoria surrounding the growth figures, economists say the Indian economy will face enormous challenges in the next decade.

The new government will have to create hundreds of millions of jobs for a population that remains largely impoverished. Youth unemployment rates in India are now higher than global levels, according to a recent report by theInternational Labour Organization.

The ruling BJP is leading — but the opposition Congress is making strides too

June 4, 2024 - Modi declares victory in India election as BJP party faces shock setbacks | CNN (73)

People watch latest vote counting results live on a large screen for India's general election at the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) office in Bengaluru, on June 4.

Though it’s only midmorning in India, the Election Commission has begun sharing preliminary results online as votes are counted across the nation — with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leading the count so far.

These early results “suggest that yes, the BJP is favored to win, butit’s a much more competitiverace than many of thepollsters and even theexit polls had predicted,” said CNN Senior International Correspondent Ivan Watson, reporting from the capital New Delhi.

Experts caution that vote counting only began a few hours ago, and the balance could keep shifting as the day goes on.

On Monday, exit polls helped drive record gains in Indian stock markets, Watson noted.

Subir Sinha, director of the SOAS South Asia Institute, said Congress’ strides were “a surprise formany people who had taken theexit polls more seriously thanthey perhaps should have.”

Victory target:A party or a coalition needs 272 parliamentary seats out of 543 to win. The leader of the party that wins a majority will become prime minister and form the government.Modi is aiming for a 400-seat supermajority, with 370 seats directly controlled by the BJP and the others from its National Democratic Alliance.

In the world's biggest election, millions of migrants were unable to vote

From CNN’s Jessie Yeung, Priti Gupta and Dhruv Tikekar
June 4, 2024 - Modi declares victory in India election as BJP party faces shock setbacks | CNN (74)

Chanu Gupta, a shaved ice vendor in Mumbai, poses for a picture during an interview with CNN on April 16.

Chanu Gupta has lived in India’s financial capital Mumbai nearly his whole life, since arriving as a child from the northern state of Uttar Pradesh.

But when polls opened in the city, the 59-year-old street vendor wasn’t able to vote in the nationwide election – along with millions of internal migrant workers who are a major backbone of the country’s economy.

Under India’s election rules, eligible voters can only cast ballots in their constituencies — meaning those working outside of their state have to return home to vote.

That’s all but impossible for many out-of-state workers, especially underprivileged daily-wage workers in the unorganized sector. And it’s a huge group — one study estimates there were about 600 million internal migrants in 2020, making up 43% of the country’s nearly 1.4 billion population at the time.

June 4, 2024 - Modi declares victory in India election as BJP party faces shock setbacks | CNN (75)

Workers push a cart with packages along a road in front of Victoria Terminus, in Mumbai on April 18.

These workers are often from poorer rural parts of India, in search of work in bigger cities. Even then, they earn low wages that are usually sent home to support family members.

Perhaps nowhere is this starker than Mumbai — India’s richest city and the birthplace of the Bollywood movie industry. Often referred to as the “city of dreams,” Mumbai draws migrants from across the country hoping to find wealth and success.

More than 43% of Mumbai’s population were classed as migrants in 2011 during the last national census, according to migration think tank Knomad.

Read the full story.

In pictures: The indelible ink behind India's election

From CNN's Dhruv Tikekar

India’s twice-a-decade exercise in democracy has once again left its mark on the country’s people, in the form of purple-streaked index fingers.

June 4, 2024 - Modi declares victory in India election as BJP party faces shock setbacks | CNN (76)

A voter shows her inked finger after casting her vote during the sixth phase of the election at a polling station in New Delhi on May 25.

The Election Commission uses indelible ink to prevent fraud or duplicate votes. Once a voter arrives at the booth to cast their ballot and has their ID verified, the ink is painted across the top of their left index finger, leaving a stain that can take up to two weeks to wash off.

June 4, 2024 - Modi declares victory in India election as BJP party faces shock setbacks | CNN (77)

A man shows his inked finger after casting his ballot at a polling station during the second phase of voting in India's general elections, in Ajmer on April 26.

It may be rudimentary, but the method has been so effective that it’s been in place for more than seven decades.

“Right from the prime minister to the most common person, everybody flashes their (marked) finger,” said K Mohammed Irfan, managing director of Mysore Varnish and Paints Limited (MVPL), the state-owned company that exclusively makes and distributes the liquid to polling booths across the nation.

“From celebrities to film stars… (it has become) a mark of democracy that I think is synonymous with elections,” he told CNN in a video interview.

June 4, 2024 - Modi declares victory in India election as BJP party faces shock setbacks | CNN (78)

A taxi driver shows his inked finger after casting his ballot to vote during the seventh and final phase of voting in India's general elections, along a street in Kolkata on June 1.

More than 960 million people were eligible to vote inIndia’s election, the world’s biggest. And workers at the company’s factory in Mysuru, a city in southwestern Karnataka state, have spent months preparing nearly 2.7 million inkvials, its largest order to date.

June 4, 2024 - Modi declares victory in India election as BJP party faces shock setbacks | CNN (79)

A woman shows her inked finger after casting her vote at a polling station in Tigaon village on the outskirts of Faridabad on May 25, during the sixth phase of voting in India's general elections.

The orange containers were filled and carefully packed for distribution ahead of this year’s elections, which are underway and endJune 1. Each vial contains enough liquid to mark approximately 700 voters.

June 4, 2024 - Modi declares victory in India election as BJP party faces shock setbacks | CNN (80)

Elderly voters are showing their fingers marked with indelible ink after casting their votes in the first phase of the Lok Sabha elections at Rundal Village in Jaipur, Rajasthan, on April 19.

The key to the ink’s literal staying power? A tightly guarded formula which has remained unchanged since 1951. “Indelible ink serves no other purpose,” said Irfan. “We only manufacture the required quantity.”

June 4, 2024 - Modi declares victory in India election as BJP party faces shock setbacks | CNN (81)

A woman is showing her inked finger after casting her vote in the second phase of India's general election at a polling station in Morigaon, Assam, India, on April 26.

While Irfan says the company is “bound to secrecy” when it comes to the ink’s exact composition, it does contain the chemical compound silver nitrate, which causes a purplish stain when it comes into contact with skin and is exposed to sunlight.

Read more about India’s indelible ink.

Analysis: Modi and ruling BJP embraced Islamophobic rhetoric on campaign trail

Analysis from CNN'sRhea Mogul
June 4, 2024 - Modi declares victory in India election as BJP party faces shock setbacks | CNN (82)

Narendra Modi addresses his supporters during a public meeting in Hyderabad on May 10.

IndianPrime MinisterNarendra Modi increasingly resorted to overtly Islamophobic language during his election campaign, critics and observers said, as he sought a third straight term governing the world’s most populous nation.

The popular leader — and overwhelming favorite — embraced negative campaigning, they said, and received little pushback from civil society or election authorities.

Followers of Modi’s Hindu-nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) — and some of its top figures — have long been accused of using inflammatory language to describe the country’s 200 million Muslims, but rarely Modi himself. But this election has brought a clear shift, critics say.

The shift in tone is making many Indian Muslims nervous.

Modi and his BJP have repeatedly said they do not discriminate against minority groups. But analysts and observers noted that multiple speeches he made during his campaign specifically refer to Muslims and paint them in a negative light.

Read the full analysis.

BJP wins first seat unopposed in Modi's home state

From CNN staff

The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has secured its first parliamentary seat of the 2024 election, according to the Election Commission of India, as officials across the country tally up 642 million votes.

The win is in the city of Surat, in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s home state of Gujarat, where the BJP candidate stood uncontested.

BJP in early lead: As of 9:20 a.m. local time, Modi’s BJP is leading in more than 140 constituencies, according to the Election Commission’s website. However, it’s still very early in the count and it’s unclear how many votes remain to be counted in those constituencies.

Waiting for results:It’s unclear what time the full results will be known, but in the last election the general trend became clear by early afternoon. The Election Commission won’t certify numbers until every seat has been counted, a process that could take a day or longer, especially if there is a hung parliament.

Victory target:A party or a coalition needs 272 seats out of 543 to win. The leader of the party that wins a majority will become prime minister and form the government.Modi is aiming for a 400-seat supermajority, with 370 seats directly controlled by the BJP and the others from its National Democratic Alliance.

How is India counting its 642 million votes?

From CNN’s Helen Regan and Rhea Mogul
June 4, 2024 - Modi declares victory in India election as BJP party faces shock setbacks | CNN (83)

Voters queue up to cast their ballots at a polling station during the seventh and final phase of voting in India's general election in Chandigarh on June 1.

India’s national elections were a giant exercise in democracy and logistics that took six weeks to complete.

About 968 million people were eligible to vote — more than the populations of the United States, the European Union and Russia combined.And about 642 million people cast their votes in the election, according to Rajiv Kumar, the chief election commissioner of India.

Given the size of the electorate, there wasn’t a single date when everyone could vote. Instead, polling unfolded over seven phases around the country, beginning on April 19 and ending on June 1.

Under a multi-party, first-past-the-post system, Indians voted to fill 543 seats in the lower house of parliament, called the Lok Sabha.

The party with the majority will form a government and appoint one of its winning candidates as prime minister.

How votes are counted: All the votes from the country’s 28 states and eight union territories will be counted and the results released today.

Counting is done simultaneously at counting stations in each of the 543 constituencies nationwide. Officials begin by counting postal ballots, only available to select groups such as government officials or those with disabilities — before moving on to votes recorded in electronic machines.

Each vote in the machine has both an electronic and paper record, with the paper slips stored in sealed boxes.

Who are the contenders in India's election?

From CNN’s Helen Regan and Rhea Mogul
June 4, 2024 - Modi declares victory in India election as BJP party faces shock setbacks | CNN (84)

NarendraModiaddresses a public meeting at Mathurapur, in West Bengal on May 29.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) remain hugely popular — and he is widely expected to secure another five years in power.

The 73-year-old was first elected prime minister in 2014 with a roaring majority on a ticket of development and anti-corruption. He is credited with implementing welfare and social reforms, and easily secured a second term in 2019, this time on a more apparent platform of Hindu nationalism.

In that election more than 67% of Indians cast their ballot — the highest voter turnout in the country’s history.

June 4, 2024 - Modi declares victory in India election as BJP party faces shock setbacks | CNN (85)

Rahul Gandhi speaks during an election rally on the outskirts of Varanasi on May 28.

The main challenger to the BJP is the Indian National Congress, which has governed the country for much of the 77 years since independence but has more recently found itself in the doldrums.

In an effort to prevent another Modi win, the Congress formed an alliance with other opposition leaders, including major regional parties. The Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance, or INDIA, launched its campaign late last month on a platform of “saving democracy.”

Political scion Rahul Gandhi is the face of the Congress party, but other key figures include the popular leader of the Aam Aadmi Party and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.

There are also regional heavyweights such as the West Bengal chief minister and All India Trinamool Congress’ Mamata Banerjee and the south’s Tamil Nadu chief minister Muthuvel Karunanidhi Stalin, who are vying to block a BJP takeover in their respective states where Modi is yet to break through.

Vote counting begins in world's biggest election

From CNN'sRhea Mogul
June 4, 2024 - Modi declares victory in India election as BJP party faces shock setbacks | CNN (86)

Voters seen standing in queues to cast their vote during the sixth phase of Loksabha Elections at a polling station at Jaffrabad on May 25, in New Delhi.

Counting has begun in India after the world’s biggest election — in which 642 million votes were cast over more than six weeks of polling.

The tallying of the results began at 8 a.m, local time (10:30 p.m. ET), according to the Election Commission of India.

Under a first-past-the-post system, Indians voted to fill 543 seats in the lower house of parliament, called the Lok Sabha.

Victory target: A party or a coalition needs 272 seats out of the 543 to win. The leader of the party that wins a majority will become prime minister and form the government.

What to watch for as India counts its votes

From CNN staff
June 4, 2024 - Modi declares victory in India election as BJP party faces shock setbacks | CNN (87)

A voter casts her ballot at a polling station during the fourth phase of voting in India's general election, in Karjat of Maharashtra state on May 13.

After more than six weeks of polling over seven phases, countless campaign rallies spanning the country, and 642 million voters casting ballots at more than 1 million polling stations, India’s marathon election will soon be over.

When results will be announced:

  • Counting starts at about 8 a.m. local time (10:30 p.m. ET), when the Election Commission (EC) will start posting results on its website. It’s unclear what time the full results will be known, but in 2019 the general trend became clear by early afternoon.
  • The EC won’t certify numbers until every seat has been counted, a process that could take a day or longer, especially if there is a hung parliament.
  • Once a clear winner is determined, India’s President Draupadi Murmu will invite the winner to form a government.
  • The swearing in ceremony would take place over the next week or so.

What a party needs to win:

  • Under a first-past-the-post system, Indians voted to fill 543 seats in the lower house of parliament, called the Lok Sabha.
  • All the votes will be counted today.
  • A party or a coalition needs 272 seats out of the 543 to win.
  • The leader of the party that wins a majority will become prime minister and form a ruling government.
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi is aiming for a 400-seat supermajority, with 370 directly controlled by his Bharatiya Janata Party — up from 303 in 2019 — and the others from its National Democratic Alliance.

Indians voted as extreme, deadly heat engulfed parts of the country

From Esha Mitra in New Delhi
June 4, 2024 - Modi declares victory in India election as BJP party faces shock setbacks | CNN (88)

Women leave after casting their votes at a polling station during the second phase of voting of India's general election in Ajmer on April 26.

Extreme heat in India has killed at least 77 people over the past 10 days, including dozens of poll workers, as voting wrapped up in the world’s largest general election.

India has endured a scorching summer — with a part of the capital of Delhi recording the country’s highest-ever temperature of 49.9 degrees Celsius (121.8 degrees Fahrenheit) last Tuesday — as voters hit the polls over the past six weeks.

Millions voted in April and May as several parts of the country experienced extreme heat.

Before polls commenced, the Election Commission of India issued advisories on how to help those suffering heat stroke and took measures to manage the effects of heat on voters, such as arranging tents, providing transportation for older citizens, and offering water and electrolytes at polling booths.

In Delhi, polling stations were unusually quiet on Saturday, the penultimate day of voting, despite being fitted out with water dispensers, mist machines and shaded areas. For some, casting a ballot was not worth the risk.

Others urged eligible voters to try and tolerate the heat. Standing on the sweltering streets, a Delhi resident called Haseem told CNN that voting is “a fundamental right and the foremost duty for every citizen of any republic or any democracy.”

June 4, 2024 - Modi declares victory in India election as BJP party faces shock setbacks | CNN (89)

A woman is standing beside her family member who is suffering from heatstroke in Varanasi, India, on May 30.

Several phases of the vote saw a lower turnout than the previous election in 2019 and experts say the harsh temperatures could have been a factor.

Despite the severe temperatures, and the heat wave being a massive challenge in conducting the election, climate change and the environment received little attention from political parties in their campaigns.

Some background: According to one study, more than 24,000 people have died due to heat waves in India since 1992. By 2050, India will be among the first places where temperatures will cross survivability limits, according to climate experts.

Read more about how the heat wave impacted elections.

Indian stocks hit record highs as exit polls suggest big Modi win

From CNN's Diksha Madhok in New Delhi
June 4, 2024 - Modi declares victory in India election as BJP party faces shock setbacks | CNN (90)

Laborers work on a portion of the Coastal Road expressway along Mumbai's coastline.

Indian stock markets chalked up new record highs on Monday as experts predicted a resounding victory for incumbent Prime Minister Narendra Modi in national elections.

India’s benchmark Sensex index, which tracks 30 large companies, and the broader Nifty 50 index each ended the day at their all-time closing highs, having gained more than 3%.

The surge comes after India concluded its mammoth, weeks-long election this weekend.

The 73-year-old ranon hiseconomic recordover the past 10 years, a period of robust growth for India.

Results will be declared on Tuesday. In India’s last election in 2019, Modi’s party won 303 seats in parliament. Analysts cited multiple local exit polls that point to a much bigger Modi victory this time as the major reason for the market optimism.

The surge in stocks also comes after the country posted bumper economic growth numbers on Friday. The economy expandedbymore than 8%in the fiscal year that ended in March, cementing India’s status as the world’s fastest growing major economy.

Read more about the surge in Indian markets.

Record haul of election bribes seized by Indian authorities

From CNN’s Dhruv Tikekar
June 4, 2024 - Modi declares victory in India election as BJP party faces shock setbacks | CNN (91)

People walk past theElectionCommissionofIndiaofficebuildingin New Delhi,Indiaon March 11, 2019.

Indian authorities confiscated more than $1 billion worth of election bribes, including cash, alcohol, drugs and precious metals, officials said last month — the highest amount of inducements seized in the country’s 75-year electoral history.

The Election Commission of India (ECI) said onMay 18that drugs made up nearly half the value of inducements, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s home state of Gujarat recording the largest amount in drug seizures.

The state also topped the list for the highest total amount in bribes changing hands, just ahead of neighboring BJP-stronghold Rajasthan, which recorded the highest seizures of freebies — goods and services promised (usually by politicians) gratis to voters in exchange for their support.

Modi previously criticized what he described as a culture of offering freebies for votes during a 2022 speech, urging voters to be careful.

The bribes seized far surpass amounts seen in the country’s last general election in 2019, when the ECI recovered inducements worth more than $400 million.

The world's largest election, in numbers

From CNN’s Rosa de Acosta in Hong Kong and Rhea Mogul
June 4, 2024 - Modi declares victory in India election as BJP party faces shock setbacks | CNN (92)

People from Kattunayakar tribe stand in a queue to cast their ballot at a polling station during the second phase of voting of India's general election in Wayanad district in Kerala on April 26.

India has voted in the world’s largest-ever general election, a mammoth exercise in democracy over about six weeks. Results will finally be announced on Tuesday.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is standing for a rare third term in power, against an alliance of opposition parties that are seeking to unseat him.

A victory for Modi would be the first time that a leader has won three consecutive elections since India’s first prime minister did so in 1962.

Population: Home to more than 1.4 billion people, about 969 million were eligible to vote — more than the populations of North America and the European Union combined.

This means about 12% of the world’s population were eligible to vote.

About 642 million people cast their votes in the election, according to Rajiv Kumar, the chief election commissioner of India.

The number of women registered to vote increased by 40 million since the previous election in 2019, and more than 20 million voters between ages 18-29 were added to the electorate.

How the election worked: Indians voted for 543 seats in the lower house of parliament.

The party that wins a majority will appoint one of its winning candidates as prime minister and form a ruling government.

Voting began on April 19 and ended on June 1.The counting, however, takes place on a single day, June 4.

Some states only had one day to vote, while the country’s most populous state in the north, Uttar Pradesh, and the eastern states of Bihar and West Bengal, with an estimated combined population of 475 million, voted over seven days.

How people voted: From the high peaks of the Himalayas to the remote forests in India’s central states, votes were cast electronically across more than 1 million polling stations in the country — a 1.2% increase in the number of stations from the previous election.

This operation required about 15 million polling officials and security staff during the election, with some of these election workers traveling via road, boat, camel, train, and helicopters to reach India’s citizens.

Modi confident of victory after polls close in India election

From CNN's Mohammed Tawfeeq
June 4, 2024 - Modi declares victory in India election as BJP party faces shock setbacks | CNN (93)

Narendra Modi waves to the crowd during a roadshow in Mumbai on May 15.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he is confident of winning a third consecutive term after polls closed Saturday inIndia’s six-week long general election.

Modi’s powerful right-wing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is seeking a supermajority in the lower house of parliament — or Lok Sabha — a goal which, if successful, would give it an unstoppable mandate to further enshrine its Hindu-nationalist agenda,deepening India’s move away from its secular foundations.

All 642 million votes cast during six weeks of mammoth polls that ended June 1 will be counted Tuesday. Voters had cast their ballots for 543 seats in the Lower House of Parliament, or Lok Sabha.

The BJPleads a bloc of right-leaning political parties known as the National Democratic Alliance (NDA). The NDA obtained an absolute parliamentary majority in the 2019 elections.

Over two dozen opposition parties, including the main opposition party, theIndian National Congress, have formed a coalition to oppose the BJP.

642 million people voted in India's election, official says

From CNN’s Esha Mitra in New Delhi
June 4, 2024 - Modi declares victory in India election as BJP party faces shock setbacks | CNN (94)

Voters stand in queues to cast their vote during the sixth phase of Loksabha Elections at a polling station at Jaffrabad in New Delhi on May 25.

About 642 million people cast their votes in India’s election — the most ever to participate, a senior election official said Monday.

Some 312 million of those who voted were women, marking the highest ever female election participation in the world, according to chief election commissioner Rajiv Kumar.

Although the number of voters was higher than in 2019, turnout this year was marginally lower.

The elections began on April 19 and were conducted in seven phases, ending on June 1. All votes will be counted and the results announced today.

The number of voters in India is about 1.5 times the voters of all G7 countries and 2.5 times the voters of 27 European Union countries, Kumar said.

Wealth gap worries voters in India's richest city

From CNN’s Jessie Yeung and Priti Gupta
June 4, 2024 - Modi declares victory in India election as BJP party faces shock setbacks | CNN (95)

Rajani Bhat voiced her support for Prime Minister Narendra Modi during an interview with CNN in Mumbai, India, on April 16.

From the gleaming home of Asia’s richest man, Mukesh Ambani, towering over “Billionaires’ Row,” to the waterfront mansions of Bollywood stars, Mumbai is the place where ambitions are realized for many Indians.

But as India’s financial capital voted in the country’s election, many residents said they wanted a fairer share of its wealth — with better education the key to opportunity.

Amid Mumbai’s glitz and glam, India’s other half is just as evident. Near tourist hotspots like the Gateway of India, day laborers toil in the stifling heat, carrying heavy loads on their shoulders or selling knickknacks on the side of dusty roads.

The disparity concerns Rajani Bhat, a 42-year-old Mumbai resident with short, spiky hair and an assertive voice.

Many children in the city are not even 10 years old when they start helping their parents earn a living. It’s especially common in Mumbai’s infamous slums.

June 4, 2024 - Modi declares victory in India election as BJP party faces shock setbacks | CNN (96)

Sanjay Sardesai sits on his motorbike outside of the Indian National Congress headquarters during an interview with CNN in Mumbai, India, on April 16.

Several other issues worried the city’s voters — especially religious tensions that have spiraled under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s tenure.

One major point of contention is the attempt by the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to pass a Uniform Civil Code, a set of common laws for personal matters such as marriage, divorce and inheritance — replacing religious laws followed by different groups.

Sanjay Sardesai, a 60-year-old retired airline worker, said the civil code was the most important election issue.

Read the full story.

What makes India's elections unique?

From CNN’s Helen Regan and Rhea Mogul
June 4, 2024 - Modi declares victory in India election as BJP party faces shock setbacks | CNN (97)

Polling officials check Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) and other election equipment at a distribution centre before leaving for their respective polling stations, ahead of the seventh and final phase of Lok Sabha Election 2024 at the Netaji Indoor Stadium on May 31, in Kolkata.

  • World’s most expensive: India’s election is believed to be the world’s most expensive, even outstripping US presidential elections.In 2019, political parties, candidates and regulatory bodies spent up to $8.6 billion, according to the Delhi-based Centre for Media Studies. This year, spending is expected to surge past that.
  • World’s highest polling station: From the high peaks of the Himalayas to the remote forests of India’s central states, votes are cast electronically across more than 1 million polling stations. About 15 million election workers were deployed this year, traveling via road, boat, camel, train and helicopter to reach every Indian voter.At 15,256 feet (4,650 meters), Tashigang, a village in the far northern state of Himachal Pradesh on the border with China, is the world’s highest polling station.
June 4, 2024 - Modi declares victory in India election as BJP party faces shock setbacks | CNN (98)

An electronic voting machine shows party symbols alongside candidates' names, ahead of the seventh and final phase of Lok Sabha Election at the Netaji Indoor Stadium in Kolkata on May 31, 2024 in Kolkata.

  • Party symbols guide voters: More than 2,700 parties are fighting it out for seats in the Lok Sabha, including six national and more than 70 state parties.Each party has a symbol allotted to them by the Election Commission that appears on the ballots — helping the dozens of parties to differentiate themselves, while making it easier for voters to make their choice in a country where around a quarter of the population is illiterate.They are everyday objects like a ceiling fan, a comb and a mango.The ruling BJP’s symbol is a lotus, while the Congress party is a raised, open-palmed hand.

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June 4, 2024 - Modi declares victory in India election as BJP party faces shock setbacks | CNN (2024)

FAQs

How many times has the BJP won in India? ›

Lok Sabha
YearLegislatureSeats won
199913th Lok Sabha182 / 545
200414th Lok Sabha138 / 543
200915th Lok Sabha116 / 543
201416th Lok Sabha282 / 543
7 more rows

How many years did the BJP rule in India? ›

'Indian People's Party'; BJP) is a political party in India and one of the two major Indian political parties alongside the Indian National Congress. Since 2014, it has been the ruling political party in India under the incumbent Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Which party is strong in India? ›

Parties with over 50 million members
RankNameAbbreviation
1Bharatiya Janata PartyBJP
2Chinese Communist PartyCCP CPC
3Indian National CongressINC

Who is the longest serving BJP chief minister in India? ›

As of December 2023, Chouhan is the longest-serving chief minister from the Bharatiya Janata Party.

Who is the most time elected PM in India? ›

List of prime ministers by length of term
No.NameLength of term
Longest continuous term
1Jawaharlal Nehru16 years, 286 days
2Indira Gandhi11 years, 59 days
3Narendra Modi10 years, 40 days
9 more rows

How many parliament seats were won by the BJP in India? ›

2019 Indian general election
First partySecond party
PartyBJPINC
AllianceNDAUPA
Last election31.00%, 282 seats19.31%, 44 seats
Seats won30352
9 more rows

How many times has Congress won in India? ›

After Nehru's death and the short tenure of Lal Bahadur Shastri, Indira Gandhi became the leader of the party. In the 17 general elections since independence, it has won an outright majority on seven occasions and has led the ruling coalition a further three times, heading the central government for more than 54 years.

Who won in India politics? ›

The governing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of Prime Minister Narendra Modi won 240 seats, falling short of the 272-mark that signifies a majority in the Lok Sabha, the lower house of India's Parliament, which has 543 seats in all. With its allies, the BJP has still secured a majority, winning 293 seats.

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